September 26, 2014 at 2:55PM


How to find a crew that will work for free

I'm planning to shoot my first short film this fall and I am looking for crew to help me make this film come to life. I've been reaching out to others who seem interested but haven't really committed or seem to bite since it's ahem, no pay. I'm a student so I don't have the resources or money to pay everyone the way I want to. Additionally, because I don't major in film or media studies, there's no way I can borrow equipment. I'm at a lost here - if anyone has ever encountered troubles like this and if so, can you give me some tips on where I can find those willing to help?


Is your idea interesting? Do you have a release plan for your short? Typically I've had no problems finding crew or actors for little or no pay at all when it is for a competition, or a pitch-type where we enter an agreement with the actor that we will secure them for the role if funding comes in, unless otherwise they don't want it.

September 26, 2014 at 8:18PM

Basil Yeo
Director of Photography

Do you have any friends who want to make movies? Get them involved. If this is your first film, and you don't have any resources, my advice is just make it. You might have to get people who have as much or less experience as you do. People who couldn't garner a fee for their work anyway as they don't have the experience to justify paying them. Or go make friends with people who have more experience and win them over with how awesome your story and script are. But my advice for a first time filmmaker is to make the film. You will learn more by making the film than by waiting till you "know something" or know someone, or have the resources. Just go make it. By hook or by crook, go make it. Shoot it on your phone. Edit it in iMovie. Just make it.

Or if you know it needs more, and you have clear ideas about how you want it to go. try to make friends with the film students at your school. Where are you? Post it here, very explicitly. "I am looking for someone in the 'blank' area to help make the following film. I don't currently have a budget." Post the script. See if you get any bites. If you are in the New York area send me the script. I'll take a look at it.

Now if you have people who say they are interested but not fully committed, I find having dates set help lock people down. "Are you in for the weekend of the 3rd? We are shooting all day Sat, and Sun afternoon. Are you in or out?"

Good luck.

September 27, 2014 at 7:50AM

Michael Markham

Micheal offers some very good advice.

I would also say if you are serious about filmmaking and especially about that particular short film, try to get help from film students. Ideally they would have been already involved in a couple of other short films and they want to gain experience as much as you do. Be precise what you ask for, make a schedule and stick to it -since they will be donating their time- and be polite. Oh and try to put aside some cash for food and transportation, as you don't want to ask them to pay for your film out of their pocket.

Equipment-wise, most probably all you need they will have it: your d.p. will bring his DSLR camera for a weekend or borrow one, your sound guy will bring a shotgun mic, your actors will wear their own clothes and will do their make-up..

September 27, 2014 at 3:29PM

You voted '+1'.
Stelios Kouk

Michael make a good pint.

September 29, 2014 at 3:07AM

Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director

I expect to feed everyone involved well since I can't pay them & reimburse them for transportation. The tip regarding schedules is very helpful & people are more responsive now that I have the dates set. Thanks for the comments/tips everyone!

September 29, 2014 at 5:20AM


This is a great place to be. Feeding the crew well isn't optional. That's advice I've always heard and work by.

September 29, 2014 at 12:21PM

David S.

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