Making a movie is a huge undertaking. On average, it takes over 100 days to shoot a film. During this time, all kinds of crew members team together for production — everyone from DPs, actors, cosmetologists, to PAs. Some skeleton crews only have 5-10 people. But, big-budget films can have huge crews that come and go on set.
With so many crew members on set at any given time, making things comfortable is important. You want your crew to stay happy and healthy throughout shooting, so you can produce a quality film together, and have a potential working future together as well.
When you’re spending such a long period together, making their comfort a priority won’t go unnoticed.
But, with so many other things on your plate, how can you make sure your crew is content? Let’s cover a few tips that can help you avoid a “zombie crew” and keep everyone happy.
Keep Everyone Safe
Safety should always be a priority on a film set. But now, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing complications in the world, it’s even more important to make sure crew members know they can remain safe and healthy while working.
Make sure to implement safety requirements when it comes to everyone’s health. Specifics are up to you, but those requirements might include things like:
- Proof of COVID vaccination
- Signs encouraging frequent hand-washing
- Social distancing
Just because the pandemic is lingering doesn’t mean other safety measures should be ignored. Accidents can still happen on film sets. We’ve recently seen it brought to light again, due to the tragedy of the accidental shooting on the “Rust” film set.
One way to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring is to openly communicate with your crew before you start filming. Your crew should be well-versed in safety training, have access to protective gear, and you should limit exposure to dangerous areas. There’s no such thing as over-communication when it comes to keeping people safe. Even if certain safety regulations feel like “common sense,” it’s still important to go over them multiple times.
Many other countries require a “safety officer” on staff during a shoot, but that isn’t always the case in the U.S. If you want to go the extra mile in keeping your crew safe, consider hiring someone with the sole job of making sure safety protocols are being followed. Hopefully, their job is an easy one and nothing dangerous will occur on set. But, when your crew knows someone is there strictly to look out for their safety, it can offer a sense of comfort and peace of mind.
Make Your Crew Members a Priority
Even though film production takes place over 100 days, most of them aren’t during “banking hours.” Crew members typically work long and grueling hours, starting in the middle of the night, or before the sun even rises in the morning. It’s not uncommon to work in harsh weather conditions, including rain or extreme cold, or heat.
Because of these conditions, it’s important to keep your crew comfortable and balanced onset to avoid work-related burnout.
It helps to develop a positive relationship with your crew. Get to know them, and show a genuine interest in who they are. When people feel seen and appreciated, they’re more likely to stay motivated and loyal to the project. Other helpful ideas that can make your crew’s well-being a priority include:
- Encouraging frequent breaks
- Helping them maintain a healthy work-life balance
- Being respectful
- Staying organized
- Providing food and drinks
- Listening to ideas and suggestions
Don’t automatically assume people will tell you when they’re uncomfortable or something is bothering them. The film industry is a tough one, and everyone is trying to solidify their place within it. Unfortunately, that has created a culture within the industry that makes people think they have to “suck it up” when something is wrong.
One of the best things you can do is to create a set environment that squashes that stereotype. Be open to conversation, and make yourself as approachable as possible to every member of your crew. Every person’s job matters, and it’s important that everyone feels confident with their abilities and work. By establishing that kind of positive environment, everyone is more likely to be content to come to work.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint on Set
Nowadays, sustainability is at the forefront of many people’s minds. Consumers favor brands with sustainable practices, and people want to work for companies that take it seriously, too.
You can offer your crew peace of mind and let them know they’re doing their part by creating a sustainable set environment with a low carbon footprint.
There are many ways to do that, even in the high-tech world of film-making. If you want to reduce waste on your set, avoid single-use items like plastic water bottles and food containers. Additionally, make a point to rethink your energy consumptions. Switch out lightbulbs to LEDs, rent out equipment instead of buying new ones, and conserve water as much as possible.
Having an eco-friendly set might seem like a small thing, at first. But, for those who are passionate about the environment, it can make a big difference in their comfort levels and how motivated they are at work. Plus, you never know who you might inspire to make positive changes in the future.
The great thing about ensuring a comfortable film set for crew members is the reputation you’ll develop. The industry is huge, but a lot of people know each other. It’s all about connections, after all.
So, when a crew has a positive experience on your set, they’re more likely to tell others, who will want to work with you in the future. In that regard, creating a healthy set environment is a lot like networking. Beyond your own benefits, though, taking care of your crew is the right thing to do. Keep these ideas in mind to foster a comfortable set-up and to make the filming experience more enjoyable for everyone.