Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Crew Sizes for Feature Films

I'm starting to budget out the next feature film and it's always a matter of figuring out what crew positions are needed.  It's like diagramming the X's and O's of football.  But instead of 11 players, you get to pick based on the economics and needs for that particular shoot.

I'm not really taking into account volunteers or interns.  Usually every movie uses a few to a lot.  And these can either be college students looking to fill their resumes, or can be people looking to get into films.  For instance, on Striking Range, we had a volunteer for assistant hair/makeup.  She did so well, that she now makes her living and is the go to indie film h/mu person for several producers.  You also might find a volunteer who is looking to move up-- somebody that has PA'd in the assistant director's department might volunteer to be the second.  Though more common is to take a pay cut to work upwards.

Some abbreviations: DP= Director of Photography.  H/MU= hair/makeup.  AC= assistant camera.  AD= assistant director. UPM= unit production manager.  POC= production office coordinator.

Extra Small (2)-- Documentary crew: 2 person Director/DP and Sound.
Small (7)-- Director, DP, AC, Sound, Gaffer, H/MU-- Office: UPM
Small Regular (22) -- Director, 1st AD, 2nd AD, DP, AC, Sound, Boom, Gaffer, Best Boy,  Key Grip, Swing, H/MU, Wardrobe, Production Design, Location Mgr, Script Supervisor, File Mgr, Props, Craft Service Person  Office: UPM, POC, Accountant
Small Large (38) -- Director, 1st AD, 2nd AD, 2nd 2nd AD, AD PA, DP, AC, 2nd AC, Camera PA, Sound, Boom, Gaffer, Best Boy, 2 Electricians, Key Grip, Grip, Swing, H/MU, Asst H/MU, Wardrobe Designer, Set Costumer, Production Design, Art Director, Props, Location Mgr, Asst Loc Mgr, Script Supervisor, File Mgr, Craft Service Person, Transportation Captain, 2 Drivers,   Office: UPM, POC, Accountant, Office PA, Office Secretary

Then you have day players as needed, which can include Special Effects (smoke, fire, water, gags, squibs), Stunts, Steadicam, Crane, Weapons Master, special things.  Also, you have vendors like the Caterer that comes with their own crew.  And I'm not counting producers.

The Gaffer's department and the Key Grip's department, which all report to the DP are often referred to by a number.  For instance "we had a 2 and 2 on that last movie."  Meaning a crew of 2 for each sub department.  If you have a script that needs massive lighting and rigging of huge silks and such, you might need a 5 by 5.

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