#FemaleFilmmakerFriday - What roles are MANDATORY on set?
 
Rough transcript of video above.

What are film roles you’ll never leave out on your future sets? Perhaps because you’ve had to work without them before, etc. (things like HMU, production design, AD, line producer, etc etc. Anything beyond director/producer/DP basically) - Bri 

Thanks, Bri!! 

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And, of course, thanks so much to viewers like you for joining me for this month’s Female Filmmaker Friday vlog, where once a month I chat with you publicly about some aspect of the business — and being a woman therein.

This month I have a question from one of my Patrons. Bri asks “What are film roles you’ll never leave out on your future sets? Perhaps because you’ve had to work without them before?”

So— beyond the bare minimum, which is really just actor, director, who do we have? DP. Sound. Those are the next most important roles. You must have good sound. Period. DPs are great, a good camera does wonders, though sometimes you can get a director to double. When I hire for these roles in particular, I do my best to hire women; I’ve worked with some WONDERFUL female DPs who really have a great eye. These jobs also skew typically male, so it’s important to be conscious of your hire.

After that, as an actress, I always want Hair & Makeup. Some actors are fine without it; I’m notoriously bad at doing my own hair and makeup and if I have to commit my face to film, I would love for someone who knows what he or she is doing to tackle this.

At this point, everything else becomes “wishlist”. If you’re shooting at a teeny micro budget level, you can make this work with your skeleton crew. However. It’s important to know your weaknesses and farm that work out. Production design is probably the next person I would really want on set; it’s possible to get away with doing PD yourself, especially comedy, but it’s always a billion times better when you hire someone.

Just look at this still from The Long Dig

Vs. Not a Plan, which I did. 

So. You get it.

When I’m working barebones, I do all the line producing (which is budget stuff), we AD ourselves (keep ourselves on schedule), we gaff ourselves (lighting), we clothe ourselves, so these teammates are not REQUIRED for uber low budget productions I run, but they’re really fucking helpful. It also really depends on the scope of the project; a short comedy in your apartment doesn’t need a best boy. A scifi short action film requires at least three people on production design’s team. 

To conclude: actor. director. sound. DP. Hair & Makeup. You can skate by with those — but remember that that means YOU are doing all of the other jobs that you had to omit!