Crewing Up For Your Web Series

pre-production

(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #1

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

2.) Director

3.) Sound Recordist/Boom Operator

4.) Assistant Camera and/or Gaffer

5.) Production Assistant

6.) Producer

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.


(Bri Castellini) #2

@ShayFuller1


(William E. Spear) #3

Sally - I am at ground zero of crewing for HOURS and your post is informative and brilliantly timed. Thanks.


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #4

I’m so happy to hear that! If you have additional questions feel free to ask!


(Bri Castellini) #5

Almost more important than their resume or references, tbh. ESPECIALLY in indie. If you don’t get along or something feels off, it’s NOT WORTH IT!!


(Allen Landver) #6

Hey! One of my biggest challenges during the making of my web series Broke A$$ Rich Kid was set-management. Can you talk a little about your experience with Production Managers, Line Producers, and 1st AD’s? I hard time keeping track of who does what and why…


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #7

Hey! My crew wasn’t big enough to include those roles but I did have a Unit Production Manager since there were a lot of logistics involved. UPM’s are in charge of making sure people get to set safely (aka whether driving or using public transit), and have everything they need to do their job. If I find any other relevant info I’ll send it your way!


(Bri Castellini) #8

I would say even if you don’t have a separate person to be a UPM/Line producer/ AD, you should make a clear chain of command for keeping track of those things. Just designate a person to coordinate with cast and crew to get them to set, a person to keep track of time, etc. As long as it’s SOMEONE’S job (even if it’s not their whole job) then it makes everything clearer.


(Keith Chamberlain) #9

I filmed season one of “HERRINGS” with 5 crew members, one of them being myself. This season looks like it will be more of the same.


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #10

Sometimes it’s better with a smaller crew. Less people to manage and you know you can trust the ones who have stuck with you from the beginning.