Sometimes you need a helping hand ‘” or two, or five ‘” when you’re making a film. Because whether you’re a marketing pro or cinematographer, maybe you aren’t as well versed in editing, sound design, or even makeup application. And that is A-ok, because 1) most people aren’t, and 2) you can get people to help you! Here are a host of ways to find and hire extra crew members, whether you need an art director, producer, boom ops, or something more specific.
Dig into social
Film-specific groups on Facebook may be the social network’s best-kept secret. You can search for local groups of actors, artists, gaffers, and more, and almost always turn up a great lead. For example, the ‘I Need A Producer’ group is home to nearly 30,000 members from all over the world who are ready to jump at the opportunity to tell a great story. We’ve seen producer job postings in this group for everything from indie films right through to national TV shows.
Tons of active groups come up for makeup artists, boom operators, and most anything you can think of. Vimeo also began a Share the Screen group, which has tons of talented female filmmakers from around the world with a breadth of talents.
LinkedIn is a great resource for video professionals, too: you can post an ask on your profile or browse professional networking groups to seek the crew you need. Make sure your profile is up to date with the necessary bio and contact information, so when you connect with people or reach out, they can get a feel for who you are and get in touch.
Growing your network by adding connections will also help when you sound the call for a great actor, camera op, or a second AC … chances are, someone you know will know someone! And LinkedIn is optimized to see who’s in your extended network and make those connections happen.
Have a lot of Twitter followers ‘” or got a friend who does and will do you a 140-character solid? Post an ask on Twitter and you may be surprised where it will lead you. Chances are that one of your followers will know someone who can help or is looking for a gig. If you aren’t able to leverage your own followers, reach out to filmmakers you admire, let them know why you love their work, and ask for their advice on finding great people to collaborate with. And who knows, if you ask them to, maybe they’ll even retweet to their followers for a big ol’ signal boost.
Befriend the nets
Web forums come in all shapes, sizes, levels of specialization, and activity level, so it’s important to consider where you’re posting. You can always post an opening for a gig on Craigslist or Reddit, but you’ll reach a broader and potentially more generalized audience, so you may get an overwhelming number of responses.
If you can, get super specific with your search, and head to head to filmmaking web forums. At the Academy of Storytellers, for example, you can post an open call for team members in the Crew Needed section of the forum. Asking your own filmmaking community will help you get some great ideas of where to look and better yet, referrals!
You may have noticed that videos often list the crew or talent who helped make a video come alive, either in a credits card at the end of the film or in the video’s description. So immersing yourself in video watching and familiarizing yourself with the ecosystem is actually one of the best (and most enjoyable) ways to find help.
On Vimeo, you can comment beneath a film to ask the maker about the talent or crew, too, or reach out with a message. Find films you like by sifting through Staff Picks, browsing categories, or search by filmmaker, then go from there to find the people behind the magic.
Turn to others
Most cities and states have a film office, which is a great place when you need make some hires. They will likely have online groups or specific local listings you can refer to, and you can often post jobs directly on their site.
If you don’t know where to start, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give them a ring! Often, the film office will provide links to unions to find crews, or sites of casting directors and agencies. Plus, you may find some fun bonus info to help with your shoot, like ideas for locations and any film incentives available in the area you’re filming in.
You can also go the old-fashioned route and place a classified ad in a local paper. Believe it or not, some folks still read print materials, and usually coffee shops and bars will stock local weeklies or magazines … so you might actually have a shot with placing a print ad. If you’re looking to expand your network, trying something different may work.
Want to up your narrative film’s game with some serious acting chops? Head to a casting director or a talent agency. Although you’ll need to pay more to use a casting director, it may be worth it. CDs have extended networks of actors, producers, and directors, and can help you locate amazing talent that will fit your script. Plus, they’ll help with the audition and callback process, which can be arduous.
But what if you don’t want to (or, can’t) splurge on a casting director? Oftentimes you can head to an agency’s website to look for talent based on their uploaded headshots and information. Some may have sample videos too, just be aware of casting based on a web profile alone, as it may not be the best indicator of acting ability. But if you’re on a budget, it’s often a great option!
Like most things in life, perhaps the best way to find people is through a referral from someone you know and trust. Most filmmakers find collaborators and crew through personal recommendations, which speak even louder than a standout resume or LinkedIn profile. Asking other filmmakers you know or admire for crew recs never hurts ‘” the worst they can do is turn you down or point you in a different direction. But usually, people are super helpful, especially if they’ve been there before. It behooves filmmakers to recommend good talent or crew, since those recs will reflect back on them!
As a bonus, referrals will help you grow your network of on-call people so that the next time you need to cast, you’ll have a contact queued up and ready to ring.
And one final tip: remember to share the love! Once you’ve built up a solid network of talented crew members, pass on their names and contact info on to others working on a project, and let the karma spread.