This column is written by Sally Hassan, the creator of Ghetto Nerd Girl. I talk about how to get through the vital steps of making a web series as smoothly and painlessly as possible.
One of the most important decisions you’ll make on your web series journey will be who you hire to compile your team. It’s not always easy to choose, but I will assure you that a lot of your cast/crew can be filled with your circle of friends. They already know you and that’s half the battle. It won’t be hard to get them excited about your project! I find this post to be very helpful from Bri. It turns out your friends can help with your web series even if they never worked on a film in their life!
GNG Crew is workin' it!
The first 6 positions below are what I call my Skeleton Crew. If you can fill these positions first, great! I also suggest taking on as many roles as you can since it will be a great learning experience and one less person you have to worry about.
1.) Director of Photography
3.) Sound Recordist/Boom Operator
4.) Assistant Camera and/or Gaffer
5.) Production Assistant
If you have a more ambitious project, consider filling the following roles:
7.) Script Supervisor
8.) Hair & Makeup Artist
9.) Art Director and/or Set Designer
10.) Assistant Director
Luckily one person can fill multiple positions. Just make sure no one is spreading themselves too thin. If any of these roles aren’t familiar to you, check out “What Do You Do Again?”
Once you have exhausted all of your social circles and their recommendations you might still be missing some key members. Have no fear! Hiring people to join your crew isn’t as difficult as you think. The process can actually be kinda fun too. If you’re anything like me, you don’t have many filmmaker friends (that live close to you). You actually don’t need a large crew to make it happen. Here are some of my tips to help you with your hiring process.
1.) Job Posting - Posting here is a good place to start. Be as specific as you can and include where you’re shooting, how long you plan on shooting, (number of hrs. each day and how many weeks your schedule is spread out) and a brief summary of your project. Don’t forget to include payment details and what you want your applicants to include with their submission. A good standard to ask for is a reel, resume and equipment list.
2.) Narrow It Down - You’d be surprised how many applicants you can eliminate simply by weeding out who didn’t follow directions in your job post. I also like to hire someone who has worked on similar projects or understands the indie set life.
3.) Interviews - It might be difficult to schedule in-person interviews depending on where you live. At the very least talk to several applicants on the phone and ask them some questions to get a feel for their personality and work ethic. If you’re hiring a director, producer, and/or editor I highly recommend meeting them in person at least once before hiring. Getting some references from them doesn’t hurt either.
4.) Go With Your Gut - After reviewing a few applicants and meeting with them you should have an idea of who you want to hire. You can learn quite a bit about a person by paying attention to nonverbal cues and seeing how they present themselves. If they vibe with you, go for it and hire them. Make sure you’re as transparent as possible and explain exactly what you expect of them.
Hopefully, you’re hiring someone that you not only see working hard on your set, but also someone you can have fun with. This will go a long way since you’ll be spending a lot of time with this person. Hiring people off the street involves some risk, but if you do your homework a lot of headaches can be prevented. 4 out of 6 of my crew members that I hired ended up being my go-to network and newly found friends. I know I can count on them whenever I need to crew up and that’s the best resource in this business hands down.