What Do You Do When You Can't Pay Your Crew?
Man cannot live on free pizza alone.
In a perfect world, we would all have big enough budgets to handsomely pay our cast and crew for all of their hard work and dedication, but—it's not a perfect world and most of us are broke. No-budget filmmakers often have to get creative when it comes to compensating our faithful film teams, but if the only idea you're coming up with is to buy a ton of pizzas and call it good, then you might want to check out this video from The Film Look.
Working for free is a huge sacrifice; those of us who have done it know all too well. It means going directly to set after a long day at work. It means staying up all night to get that last shot even if you have an 8 a.m. class. It means ditching your friends, spending your own money on gas, and not eating all that well (or at all) for the sake of a project that you are dedicated to helping bring together.
So, if some beautiful souls agree to work on your film for free, make it a point to offer them something that will make it worth their while (even if they didn't ask for anything in return). Take some headshots for them. Edit their demo reel. Provide something better than cold pizza at craft services. Give them a copy of the final product.
Most importantly, offer to help them on their projects for free when/if they do a project of their own. My buddies and I did this all the time in college—you act in my short, I shoot yours, I write this, you direct that. It was like a filmmaker's version of a tanda and it worked beautifully.
What are some other ways you can compensate your cast and crew when you don't have money to pay them? Let us know in the comments below!