Leaving space for creativity

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How big a crew do you need? For us, that’s less of an issue than how big a crew we can get, but all the same…

On the set of 'Cigarette'

On the set of ‘Cigarette’

As zero-budget filmmakers, we’re dependent on the enthusiasm and goodwill of people to get our films made. I understand that not everyone is as crazy (and I use that word advisedly) about making films as I am. So I’m grateful that we’ve found great people willing to give up their time and put in a lot of effort in return for an interesting time and the satisfaction of making a real contribution to a creative enterprise.

But I’d still like more.

There are jobs that absolutely must be done – operating the camera and recording sound being the most crucial. There’s a certain basic level of effort that goes into every set-up. The more people double-up on jobs, the harder the work and the less time (it seems to me) there is for creativity.

With more people sharing the load, it’s possible to stand back and think: Is there another way to do this? What would improve the shot or the performance?

It’s true that the bigger the crew, the slower things move, but only once you’re above a certain point in terms of the number of people. That’s a problem for Hollywood types – it’s not one we’ll be facing any time soon. In fact, you also move slower if you have too few people. Having more people to carry out tasks (even something as basic as moving a light) not only lets you get through the shot list quicker, it also gives you the time to experiment, to try things not on the list, or attempt a shot in several ways.

I’ve heard of zero-budget films being made with crews of two or three, which is great. But what more could the have done with more people?

Which is why, as far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier. So why not join us…?


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