Have you ever had to hire anyone? What’s the first thing you look for on a resume? What if you’re hiring someone outside your expertise? Or without a recommendation?
Choosing the right cast and crew for your upcoming video production may not seem like a science, but there are key elements to keep in mind if you want a successful end product.
Talented people are desirable for both sides of the spectrum (cast and crew), but remember—you'll be spending long hours with these folks, so the same rules apply as most industries. You want to hire easygoing, positive individuals who have a good work ethic.
There's more to it though.
Today we want to guide you through hiring the right cast and crew for your video production.
We’ll go over the best practices and give you some helpful tips.
So let’s go!
How to choose the right cast & crew for your next video production
We split up our advice section to section, so feel free to print it out, skip around and read only what applies to you.
Let’s start with the people you’ll see on screen.
CASTING YOUR VIDEO PRODUCTION
Developing a good working relationship with a talent agency and/or casting director will simplify the casting process and make it less time-consuming.
It's an excellent idea to look into the background and testimonials of the agencies and casting directors you're considering and make a decision based upon their track record.
Always research each person. See if you can speak with the people with whom they previously worked to get a sense of work ethic and abilities.
And it’s not a bad idea to keep a track record of the people you’ve worked with before and if you liked them or not.
Create a database you frequently update.
It will save you in the long run.
What should I do first when casting?
Submit script and details to the agency/director along with any preferences about individual characters—i.e. age range, dialect/accent, and whether you prefer to work with seasoned actors or will take a chance with newcomers, based upon the agency's/director's assessment.
Bear in mind everyone must start somewhere; sometimes a fresh face/interpretation of a role can be valuable.
This also presents the opportunity to work with eager-to-learn actors who may be more direct-able; not to mention that these actors have a much more affordable fee than that of a seasoned actor.
What if that’s not the case?
Sometimes very famous, respected actors will take on an intriguing project without demanding an outrageous fee.
Case in point, Robin Williams accepted the role of the psychologist in Good Will Hunting for a modest fee compared to his usual salary because he sensed the depth of the character and script.
And he received an Oscar for his faith in the script of two then virtually unknowns named Damon and Affleck.
Conversely, many talented unknowns have made a film memorable while launching his/her own career.
So experience and training are valuable, to be sure, but should never be the only factors upon which you base your casting choices.
The initial screening and testing of actors’ abilities by a talent agency will help avoid missteps in casting.
Now let’s talk about grabbing the right people who sit behind the camera.
HOW TO HIRE CREW FOR YOUR VIDEO PRODUCTION
Again, experience and training are extremely important here. It's vital that each crew member knows their responsibilities and performs smoothly on an expert level.
Like actors, recommendations are paramount when it comes to hiring crew.
Have a database here as well. A crew that’s used to working together will be more efficient and with their weight in what you pay them.
But how many crew members will you need?
How many crew members will I need for my video production?
The number of crew necessary will naturally depend upon the script (number of locations, simple or elaborate settings, necessities of the scene, etc.) as well as your budget.
For a tight budget, a "skeleton crew" can make do, with some crew members performing more than one duty whenever possible.
If you can't afford the luxury of a full crew, cut corners where you can, it is what it is. If the budget is there, then the size of your crew will solely be based on the needs of the scene.
If your experience is only with smaller crews, check out completed films or videos which are similar to your project (budget, locations, etc.) and take note of the number of crew members involved if the information is accessible.
Are there ways to save money when hiring a video production crew?
The entertainment industry has a strong allure, and there are always willing interns available looking for credit as a way to break in, so staffing from local film schools or departments for some of the "go-fer" or assistant jobs can be a budget boon if you're getting squeezed.
The value of a strong experienced assistant is worth its weight in gold on and off set though. If you have the money, spend it on seasoned crew members.
If your directory is lacking, recommendations from one professional can start a strong domino effect that results in a lot of new competent contacts willing and able to fill positions.
Summing up how to choose the right cast & crew
At the end of the day, choosing a crew and cast comes down to the people who get recommended to you first.
After that, try to judge them based on past work and what you can afford.
Sometimes it’s a gut feeling, other times it’s just taking a chance, but the only way to learn is to make your hires and trust the continuous database you keep operating.
As always, we’re here to answer any more questions you might have in the comments.
PARAGON VISION SCIENCES - "See Your Life Without Limits - w/ Sierra Blair Coyle"
Best wishes staffing for your video production!