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Old August 31 2013, 06:34 PM   #247
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

captainkirk wrote: View Post
No one's posted here in a while but I have a question that I'm sure many people here are capable of answering. On a low-budget shoot, what crewmembers are essential, which ones would be nice but not required, and what roles can be merged?
From earlier in the thread:
Maurice wrote: View Post
offtrackv wrote: View Post
What would you say is the minimum crew needed for a production? Over the life of this thread I've seen grips, best boys, ADs, prop masters, script editors, etc. etc.
I don't think this thread has really touched on roles other the Director, the A.D., and Actors. Certainly no one's brought up Best Boys.

offtrackv wrote: View Post
This is great, but what if you can't round up all those people (or feed them, or even get them all into the set space)? What roles can be combined? What roles can be dropped altogether if need be?
That's a fair question.

On a small production you can often lose wardrobe people if there is little costuming. Sometimes you can leave out makeup but only if someone else on the crew can tend to it (many stage actors are used to doing their own). You probably don't need a property master. You WILL want a D.P. who is not doubling any other role, except maybe being the camera operator and focus puller/Assistant Camera. For newbies, the Director should probably be doing that only, and not be the camera operator, because the Director needs to focus on the actors and watch the takes, and that's hard to do if you're also running the camera.

You can dispense with a boom operator if you can plant mics and the actors don't move a lot, but if you're recording second sound the sound gal can often double as boom operator.

I prefer to have both an A.D. and a Script Supervisor. The former runs the set and tracks the schedule. The latter tracks what you've shot and monitors continuity (to the script, between takes and setups) and tracks what's been covered from which angles. I've tried to cover for a missing Script Supe as the A.D., which is possible but not ideal.
I know some people disagree about separate director/D.P., but my experience is that beginning filmmakers make a lot more mistakes if they're trying to combine those roles.

DO NOT SKIMP ON SOUND! Sound trumps picture, and bad sound ruins beautiful photography. The reverse is not quite as true. It's very tough if not impossible to fix sound in post. Don't risk it.

captainkirk wrote: View Post
Well right now I'm still at the story phase of a film I want to make possibly next year (not a fan film). But I am trying to see what's possible with very little money. And since a large portion of the story would be shot on exterior locations it would be cheaper to have a small crew.
Do you have any live-action filmmaking experience? If not, the best way is to learn by doing. It appears you are in South Africa. Are you in or near Johannesburg? You could enter or join a team participating in the 48 Hour Film Project there (link here). I did five of these and they are great, low impact introductions to making movies in limited time and under extreme restrictions. Taught me a lot.
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