September 11, 2014 at 6:50PM

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Where do I find my cast and crew for a low/no budget film?

I know it varies by state or region, but where can I find cast and crew committed enough to contribute to my films? Friends and family do get you started, however to complete and finish a project I need actors who know their art and I can't wear all the hats of production. I live in Austin, TX and I do have some resources, but for the most part the multiple hats (director, DP, casting, editor, FX, etc.) are overwhelming and seriously injure the overall outcome f the projects I pursue. I need free/low budget help, my ideas are solid and ready to roll out, I need talent other than myself to produce the full potential of a project. So, where can it come from?

20 Comments

Its really hard to find low/no budget quality when you don't personally know people. I've gotten around this before by working on low/no-pay jobs myself and calling in the favour later. This also allows me to personally vet my crew, which "no-pay" filmmakers usually can't do because when people volunteer their time, you say "Yes, thank you".

I recommend against posting ads asking for experienced professionals to help shoot your film for no-pay. Instead, look for newer filmmakers. A great place to look would UT Austin as I know they have an amazing film program and they're spitting out a handful of fantastic filmmakers looking to get some experience on set.

Also, just general "no-budget advice" is to pay everyone. Even if its just to reimburse them for parking or for their travel distance, it will set the mentality that you're the boss. It limits the amount of people wanting to be paid in creative freedom and at the end of the day, you're the one who signs the check and people know that. Just make sure to sign releases and deal memos fully disclosing the amount crew/cast are being paid, what for and until when. You can find templates online, just make sure you read them and have someone proof read for you.

September 11, 2014 at 9:04PM

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Aidan Gray
Director of Photography Assistant Camera | Gaffer
1486

Hey Aidan, I appreciate the fantastic advice you gave. I will be looking into UT Austin for talent to help with my project. I'm actually hoping to get admitted to their film program so I have some education to back my vision. If you have any other tips, I'll hear it with open ears, I'm totally geared toward learning something new to help my productions. Thanks again.

September 13, 2014 at 7:49PM

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Dallin Wells
Director/Producer/Editor/Writer/DP/Actor
276

I used craigslist for my ultra low almost no budget film. But a bit of advice, spend some time cooking up a cool teaser for the film. I mean really put some thought and time into it. If it's great, use that teaser when you look for cast/crew. Many actors and crew are looking to be a part of any film to build up their resume, but if the teaser looks great, they'll beg you to be on it. You may even have to turn people away. Here is the teaser I created before I began production on the actual film.

https://vimeo.com/13142895

Here is the trailer to the final product.

https://vimeo.com/103010031

Remember to simplify your story and locations so that even on days or weekends when few people are available you can still make progress. Even though I had lots of interested people, MANY times no one was available to help me crew. But I had a simple enough story characterwise that I was able to keep production going even when no crew came, or I'd make my wife help. :)

I learned so much doing the low no budget thing that I'd definitely recommend anyone to try it. Though having done it once already, I'll probably not do it again. It's a long difficult road. Hope that helps.

September 12, 2014 at 4:59PM

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Jonesy Jones
Storymaker
714

Jonesy, thank you for the film making advice. I went ahead an watched your teaser and trailer. I look forward to seeing it on the big screen. Will you be entering it into a festival? I am trying to make due with what crew I have but I hope to make at least a "budget" film in the next year. Your work is refreshing and exhilarates my dream to a filmmaker, thank you.

September 13, 2014 at 7:56PM

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Dallin Wells
Director/Producer/Editor/Writer/DP/Actor
276

Nobody will be as committed as you but they only have to be committed enough to do their part. With my movie Space Trucker Bruce (www.spacetruckerbruce.com) I ran into this same issue. I ended up doing most of the project myself. I recruited friends and coworkers. But you need actors so what I did was recruit my friends. Karl Sears who played Bruce had time Saturday nights so he came over and we would film a few scenes at a time over several years. I lucked out that I had a lead actor who didn't change his appearance or run out of free time. Don't do this. I was lucky with Karl. He could've ruined my project had his life changed. Now I get my actors from the local theater groups for my current film. I group their parts together so they only have to be available for a few months. I get friends to help me out with sound, crew, and as extras. So find friends, theater people, coworkers, I even got one of my son's teachers to help.

September 12, 2014 at 7:53PM

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Anton Doiron
Creator/Filmmaker
692

Your first line totally rings true. I will be doing an inquiry with local theater talent for my next short film. Thanks for the advice.

September 13, 2014 at 7:58PM

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Dallin Wells
Director/Producer/Editor/Writer/DP/Actor
276

I think that the best option is to find like-minded people (mainly friends and family members).Make sure that they are equally serious and committed towards the passion and the vision.
Make them clear the profits in return that they will get (film festivals, online broadcast, good start,being noticed). But make sure to get snacks and travel expenses.
All the best.

September 13, 2014 at 6:23AM

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Anirban Ray
Film-Maker, Journalist, Photographer
352

Anirban, for the most part I already do what you said, but I appreciate the advice. I haven't yet made profits. What would you recommend I do to get profits?

September 13, 2014 at 8:00PM

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Dallin Wells
Director/Producer/Editor/Writer/DP/Actor
276

Yes! How do you get profits? great question! No Film School needs to do a whole series of articles on this. Indie filmmaking is like the South Park Underpants Gnomes. Their business Plan: Step 1: Steal Underpants. Step 2: ? Step 3: Profit

September 19, 2014 at 3:10PM

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Anton Doiron
Creator/Filmmaker
692

maybe you can contact your local film school ? some student of film sometimes need to experience etc. if you live in Indonesia i will help you hehehe :)
I am Cinematographer from Indonesia check my IMDB for my work :)

September 13, 2014 at 6:40AM

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Faozan rizal
Director Of Photography
81

I don't have a plane ticket for Indonesia, but thank you for the advice. I will be visiting the local University to recruit my team, thanks.

September 13, 2014 at 7:44PM

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Dallin Wells
Director/Producer/Editor/Writer/DP/Actor
276

I'll echo some of the other advice given. Even of the budget is no/low, try to pay those that help you out. Whether it's in food, favors, or some nominal bit of cash. Don't post talking about how it's for "their reel" because most will just see through that. Just tell the truth, you want to make a film, don't have much cash, and looking for people who will do it for the fun (or food) of it.

Also, try to have your shoot as organized as possible, tight schedule, tight shot list, tight shoot.

September 13, 2014 at 8:47AM

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Kevin Erhard
Content Strategy
234

Thanks Kevin,
I'm working with a few people for various projects right now and I try to be straight up with everyone involved. And I applaud your last note of advice; I always make it a point to have a shot list and rough sketch on paper or some other visual form. Thanks for your reply I appreciate it.

September 13, 2014 at 7:42PM

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Dallin Wells
Director/Producer/Editor/Writer/DP/Actor
276

I'd say craiglist or asking for people on social networks, there's always someone interested in whatever you might be interested aswell.

September 13, 2014 at 8:28PM, Edited September 13, 8:28PM

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Tommy Plesky
Director / D.P / Editor
1974

Try sites like productionbeast.com and Creativedistrict.com. Great communities of people looking to get involved in projects.

September 14, 2014 at 11:00PM

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Gabe Michael
Executive Producer / Director
226

These sites are pretty good, thanks!

November 11, 2014 at 12:35AM

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Dallin Wells
Director/Producer/Editor/Writer/DP/Actor
276

The best place to find your cast Actor's Access. Since there is a good amount of production in Austin there will be a good community of actors their as well. You put your project on Actor's Access and exactly how much it pays, list all the roles, etc., and actors submit themselves for an audition. If the project is right people will be willing to work for little or free depending on the circumstances, and it's a good way to work with trained professionals instead of leaning on friends. Hope that helps!

September 15, 2014 at 12:30PM

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Matt Simon
Director, Director of Photography, Editor
175

I've found some decent talent with Now Casting. The people who run the site are really sympathetic to Indy projects. Don't always trust an actor's special skills, though.

September 15, 2014 at 6:35PM

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David Barrington
Videographer
246

Some crew people use Mandy.com to find jobs, but that might just be in L.A.

September 15, 2014 at 6:37PM

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David Barrington
Videographer
246

I'm surprised no one mentioned it yet, but for casting I have always had luck with BackStage

September 18, 2014 at 2:56AM

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John Morse
Producer + Director
2395

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