Lesson Two - The Crew and Casting

Find the Best Crew Size for your production.

The best Crew size varies from production to production.  I have shot a micro budget short films with 4 – 7 Crew and I have directed a weekend feature film with 15 Crew.

I have also directed a $1million dollar cash budget with 20 -25 crew. It varies depending on budget and complexity of the production. When we shoot films on our film course productions, we usually work on a 12 Person Crew on set. This will comprise the 12 Students we take on the 4 Month Filmmaking Course 

  1. First AD   –  Creates the Schedule for the Shoot and is the Person on Set who polices the schedule. They always call the Set to Order for a take.
  2. Director – The visionary of the film and the storyteller. They are in charge of directing all of the Key Creatives and Cast. 
  3. DOP  – The Person in charge of the Camera Department Directs the Camera Crew to executes the Directors Shot List. 
  4. Focus Puller – Fulls Focus on the lenses and Also in charge of the lenses. This person will change the lenses on the camera
  5. Clapper –  The Person who Claps the Clapper Board and Changes the Digital Cards on the Camera. 
  6. Grips – In charge of the equipment that helps the movement of the camera. Cranes Tracks and any form of rigging 
  7. Gaffer – In charge of the lighting and electrics.  This person along with his assistant will rig the lights on set. 
  8. Make- up Artist – In Charge of Makeup for the Cast. This person takes  direction from the Director on how the actors should look  
  9. Continuity –  Keeps a record of every take that is shot and makes notes on Best Takes – Also looks after Continuity 
  10. Sound Recordist   Records Sound and makes sure that the best location sound occurs
  11. Boom  Holds the Boom Pole and gets it as close to the actors. Places lapel bug mics on the actors. 
  12. Production Designer   Creates the look of the set in terms of props and set dressing and colour of the set. 

When you are taking on a bigger project, it really pays to the have the following.

  1. Costumes/Wardrobe.  Clothes and costumes for the actors
  2. Production Runner  – The courier of the set 
  3. Production Manager –   Organises the Shoot. 
  4. Production Assistant. – Helps AD and Production Manager 


On our Flagship 4 Month Film Course  you actually learn by doing. We shoot for three days or 30 hours and everyone gets to direct a scene and do the other crew roles.

It is so important to learn the ropes from experienced people and actually do the roles once. This way you have an understanding of what each crew member does. On your personal Films you will find you can  direct crew effectively.

Each film production has the following exceptionally important pillars.

Script, Film Crew,  Cast, Locations , Film Equipment and Post Production.  
A productive crew is exceptionally important.  So how do you find them?

  • Hire from crew websites or google crew. Sites such as Aus Crew or Top Techs in Australia, have crew listed that you can hire.  You will have to pay top dollar or at least half of their normal rates.  The advantage is that you get great crew. However it will cost you.
  • Another way is to enrol on a really good Film Course where you meet and network with other people.
  • Also once you have completed the 4 Month Film Course you will have rotated around the crew role (listed above), over a 30 hour shoot  
  • Also you will find other people who can crew on your future films 

What ever way it works, as an indie film maker you must gather and recruit a crew for every film production that you make. If you want to learn the easy way how all this works, have a look at our flag our Flagship 4 Month Film Course in Melbourne 

You will actually learn to Make a Film via actually Making a Film on the 4 Month Film Course. You will also meet   

Casting your Film

Casting is one of the most important directorial duties.

Even experienced directors sometimes rush casting and make bad choices which then destroy the film. When we teach casting at the 4 Month Film Course, I notice that nearly all my students get the importance of finding the best actors. They also get that it is actually an easy fun process.

Why do so many film makers ignore a proper casting process? Here are some of the reasons why.

  1. Fear of Actors. The emerging filmmaker has a fear of asking more experienced actors to attend a casting. They believe that they are not worthy or at the right level to cast.
  2. Camera centric. Some Directors are more interested in the images and the look of the film. Actors seem like a necessary evil to make a film with beautiful images and production design the central concern.
  3. Lack of Knowledge. Some film makers just do not know how to find the actors and organize a casting.


How does one organize a casting?

Advertise the Casting on acting websites. On our Filmmaking Flagship Course, we use Star Now. It takes the course group 90 minutes to set up and write a Casting Call for Star Now. On average the short film will attract a 100 applications from actors.

Hire a Casting Space. It is so important to have a really professional look. Take time and find a great space for your casting. This will engender confidence in the actor. It does not have to be expensive. An Old Community Hall in a good area will suffice and is usually very cheap to hire. Also, a space large enough at your work will also work.

Send out the scenes to the actors that apply. The actors who are really keen will prepare the scene and probably dress in a costume suited to the part. This is the best way to find the best actors.

Make sure you film all the actors who test for the film. It is a screen test and you will need to play back your castings after the event to make decisions on the short list.

Audition them and test them at the Casting and Screen Test. With actors that you like at the casting, make sure you test them and direct them. Workshop a take or two to see how the actor works with you and reacts to direction.


Make a short list.  Gather your production core group and watch the screen tests. From the screening, create your short list.

Have call backs if needed. Call backs are necessary for the bigger projects where you want to make sure. If you feel you need a call back casting, organize it.

Choose your actors and offer the role. This is one of the best parts. Surprisingly the best actors just flow to the part. 

The final question concerning casting.  How many actors should you see? 

You only stop casting when:

  • you have seen every single actor that has applied for the role.
  • you feel you have top talent in each and every role.

Only at this point, you should complete your casting.  Casting is one of the fun parts of preproduction and the preparation of your film. When you cast well, the film quality will dramatically increase.

The 4 Month Film Course ensures success with producing and directing your film and saving you literally thousands of dollars on a short film and way more on your feature film.  Tomorrow Film Equipment 

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