How much does it cost to hire a non-union skeleton film crew in California for a week? I want to do a reality web series and I'm trying to come up with a budget for it.
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You first need to decide what positions you need. Some positions charge $500 per week. Some are $1,500 per week. Are you thinking of a 5 day week or a 6? What do YOU mean by a "skeleton" crew? Three people? Which positions? Six people? Fifteen people? Where in California?
@D Marcus at least six people. director of photography, ideally two Production Assistants, a location audio guy, and a gaffer/grip.
And a director if the DP can't do both.
Wow. That's a tiny crew. You want the director to be the DP and the camera operator? That's a lot of work for one person on a reality show. I would figure at least $500 per day to do all three. And that's low. PA's; figure $150 per day each. Only one audio person? For a realty show? A crazy amount of work for one person. Figure $500 per day without equipment. One person doing all the lighting (gaffer) and equipment wrangling? You really do mean a skeleton crew don't you? You're going to work those six people to death. Okay, you might find someone for $350 per day.
May I suggest, Brian, that you look into what crews are needed for a typical reality show. What will you be doing on the reality web series?
How many people would you hire @Parker? I'm new to all of this I read an article on Indiewire that that can range from 3 to 15 or 16 people. The author of the article said the the "sweet spot" to him was five. I'm going off of that.
Was planning on shooting it guerrilla style and I know you need a small crew for that.
For a week, even a non union crew that can actually produce good content may run a few thousand dollars. Very very few "Crews" that work on a no budget project actually make anything worth watching.
What will you be doing on this project, Brian?
@D Marcus I want to do a ten minute, seven episodic web series following a popular soap opera actress (22) and her boyfriend (26) for a week. I would do a different star each season. I've asked people on soap opera based Facebook pages and about 55% to 60% of people said they would watch the show. I would like to pitch them at least a "soft" budget and with their help (since I don't know their salaries) come up with a hard line budget.
I understand that, Brian. I've been following your post. I've even answered several questions you've asked. I'm wondering what you will be doing on this series. I think you would need more than the bare minimum crew fro something like that. A popular soap opera actress would want to know that the reality series would be a good showcase for her so she would want good production value. Such a tiny crew, worked so hard, for very little money presents some very difficult challenges. So what will you be doing on this project?
I agree with D. You don't want such a tiny, overworked crew when making a reality show about popular actors. They want to feel the show will be something special.
Thanks guys for your input.
I wonder why you won't answer my simple question. Why so evasive?
Because SECRETS! JK.
@D Marcus We'd (the crew) would be following her for a week. While she's hanging out with friends, at work, charities, etc. We'd cast her in the best light possible, and I just saw your question. I'm not on here everyday.
Now that you've seen my question is there any reason why you don't feel comfortable answering it? Perhaps I'm overstepping some boundary, but I am curious.
-if you don't know rates, you might consider hiring a Production Manager who would. They could also know crew people who might be good for your shoot. they could also help with finding locations, shooting permits, actor releases, etc. -rates are dependent on a number of things such as experience and equipment package. As an example, you could hire a sound person out of school who would be cheap, or go with a sound person who has 30 years of experience and charges more. You could hire a camera person who shows up with only a camera for a low rate, or hire a camera person with a van full of lighting, grip, camera, tripod and monitor for a higher rate. -In a crew size of 6 or more, I would expect that Director and Cameraperson would be separate people.
@ Brian, D Marcus has hit this nail on the head several times. He obvious has gone through this before and is doing his best to help you. You came in here for help and its been laid at your feet, so don't kick at it by ignoring the reality of what you are faced with. Taking a fantasy idea and making it reality has some stones in the path that will seriously bruise your steps if you don't take heed from those that have already gone through the process. Just know, you will get what you pay for in the end - just my $0.02.
I have a crew that could execute a project for you - www.vimeo.com/picknroll
I have a skeleton crew that I hire from time to time. Camera, Lighting, Sound, Grip including equipment. Bring your own memory cards.. Three guys work very well together and are a steel at $600.00 a day. For a week you might get a slightly better rate but I am not sure. When I budgeted my web series I called camera and sound rental companies and found that I could rent the equipment for about $500.00 a day. I also saw several ads of people hire similar crew and offering $100.00 a day. Bottom Line, if you do your work in advance, you can budget about $750 per day for a skeleton camera/sound/and be safe. REMEMBER. Site fees. Permits. Insurance. There's a LOT more to it than just Lights, Camera, Action!
I'm talking to somebody who runs a production crew in Southern California now. @D Marcus Your not overstepping boundaries. You all have valuable information and I appreciate it. I'm just trying to take it all in. I'm trying to piecemeal all of this together.
I'm new to all of this.
Brian, I think what D Marcus, and the rest of us want to know is what will you be doing in the show. We'd like for you to hash out the concept. Although we would understand if you want to protect your idea. I've seen too many times the stealing of ideas. Not that I expect anybody here to do that, I'm just saying I understand you wanting to be close to the vest.
I have a prodCo in Los Angeles - I work with small (and large) crews all the time; union and non-union. I'd be happy to offer help. But for reasons I can't understand you will not answer the question; what will you be doing on this project. I'm not asking about ideas or concepts; only what you will be doing on this project. Seems simple and straight forward. Yet you avoid the question.
@Ric Frost: Brian never forced us to give him an answer to his question, so we shouldn't lecture him about what he should tell us. No one said that anyone had to lay our help at his feet. If we want to help him, then we can take the info he has given already and do the best we can with it. If he doesn't want to tell you everything, then that is his business. If we can't give him help due to a lack of information, then that's okay too. All of us can give a little advice, and speak in a respectful way at the same time.
@D Marcus: You give helpful advice...but let's give Brian some breathing room to take in all the advice in that he has been given so far. Some of the comments I have seen here have been very helpful just based on the information Brian has given so far. Whatever questions he answers or doesn't answer, it's really up to him...we can't force it.
Here it is, this is what I have in mind. Kristen Alderson is a popular soap opera actress on the soap General Hospital. Her boyfriend Chad Duell is also a popular actor on the show. I'm interested in doing a ten minute, seven episodic web series featuring them. Chad is reportedly religious so I would like to show that side of him. Chad and Kristen are big MMA fans and Chad has tweeted that he actually spars in his spare time. In one episode I would like to show him in a cage fight with her cheering him on. She also hangs out with her best friend Brittany Underwood who is also popular actress both in the soap world and in the mainstream media. She's also friends with Kirsten Storms and her husband.I don't know if she does any charities or mentors anyone but I would like to document that as well. The creative development company that I was talking to priced the web series around $150,000 to $170,000 (I was hoping for around $100,000) not including talent budget and recommends that I shoot two to three episodes a week to keep costs down. I also want to state that I don't have a talents quote for them, but I'm willing to contact their managers to find out. @D Marcus
As I said before I'm just trying to piecemeal all of this together and trying to absorb all of the information. Possibly the reason why I'm so keeping it close to the vest is to protect my idea. I would love to work with Kristen professionally and it would be devastating if someone stole my idea. Personally I've been a fan of her work since like 2009. @D Marcus
I guess I am just not being clear enough. I am not asking what the idea is. I am asking what you, Brian, will be doing on this series. Will you be directing? Will you be producing? Will you be the executive producer? I'm not forcing you to reveal anything (as Merri is suggesting) I am just curious what you hope to do on this series. You're talking about a web series, right? Then that production budget seems way to high. Even $100,000 per ten minute episode seems too high.
Yes, I will be producing since it's my idea. My hope for this showcase soap actors/actress's lives. For the overall series if I'm lucky to do multiple seasons is to feature different soap actors and actresses each season so the actors fans get to see what they're really like off of the cameras. Yes I'm talking about a web series, and I clearly said that it was.
Their was a short lived reality tv series on the E! Network that followed soap actors around called Dirty Soap. As I watched the premiere episode I kept saying to myself "why isn't this a web series?" My idea is similar to this concept but we only follow one actor at a time.
I found this creative development company on the social media website Quora, where you can ask any professional a question. On the website they said that they can provide a non-union crew for 10k to 20k and evidently something got lost.
So you'll be producing. I asked six times over two weeks. Can't quite understand why it took so long for you to say you'll be producing. Is that 10k to 20k per week? For a crew of five?
Yes for a week, but when we got to the particulars it jumped suddenly to like $150,000.
Originally I would like to shoot this with a skeleton crew, but after people's reactions to it I'm not sure. How many people will it take to typically shoot a reality web series (as in like reality tv)? @D Marcus
There isn't a "one-size-fits-all" answer to crew needs. Your original idea of five is crazy small. For a reality show you may need an audio team of 3 to 5. You may need a camera team of 3 to 6 people. I've worked on small reality shows where there are 2 to 4 people who's only job is to get release forms signed from random people in the background. So you can go full on guerrilla style and use 5 people total. Or you can use 8 to 10. Or even more. Your job as producer is to figure out how many crew you need for your project and then price them out. If you don't know how many people you need you'll get price ranges from 5k a week to 150k a week.
For actors just take the sag ultra low budget deal. Seriously its cheap and you get good people. other unions have same kind of deals too.
You should read what Brian is doing, Pedro. He is not asking for actor rates because he's doing a reality show. He's asking about non-union crew rates.
@D Marcus, you finally asked the right question after 3 weeks of discussion. I know what you were asking but please remember (this is to everyone!) when dealing with a newbie in the business of Film and Television, you have to be clear with your questions. I know this first hand! I'm a makeup artist in Film and Television and my 1st question I ask the person I'm speaking with is "What is your ROLE in the project?" This gives them a clear understanding in what you are asking. This is how we learn y'all, this is definitely how we learn.
Brian, this article just came out and you might get something out of it. If you aren't already, Videomaker is a free e-zine you can hook up with. http://www.videomaker.com/article/17004-viewfinder-video-entrepreneurshi...
(Note: the following information is assuming you are shooting a very simple script in terms of what the action is what resources you'll require AND that you have PLENTY of time to shoot it.) If you want to be as small as possible but still maintain some level of quality you need: 1)Producer/Director/AD/DP/PD/Cam Op/AC/Grip/Gaffer/Editor/Craft (Yes, one person can do all these things. They need to be incredibly talented and focused. It will take a ton of work, but it IS possible.) 2)Boom Op/Mixer/Post Sound. 3-?)Whatever talent you need. That's it. 2 man crew. And yes, regardless of all the no way, not possible etc comments to come. It is doable, and you can create a quality picture with it. How do I know? A colleague of mine did a film with exactly that. Only 2 crew, and 4 talent. That film played in Canne Film Festival. NOW: You better not have any focus pulls. You don't have an AC. You better be stylized or simple. I'm talking 3 point lighting set ups, outdoor natural lighting, etc. Script better be short and sweet and survive on the amazing people you cast. And again...those 2 people...better be hella talented. In most reality. You need a minimum: 1)Producer/Director/AD/Dp/Cam Op/Craft. 2)AC. 3)Grip/Electric. 4)Boom/Mixer. 5)Art Dept. 6)General Post. 7)PA. 8-?) Talent. As for how much it'll cost...inbox me if you'd like and we'll have info. General opinion on opinions on rates shouldn't be in the public forum.
The typical low budget non union crew on an indie feature is: Dir,/Prod., PM, LM, 1st & 2nd AD, Key PA, Gaffer, 2 x Elect,. Key Grip, 2 x Grips, Script Super., Hair, Make up plus a couple Assist., Set Dec plus one, Props, Audio Rec., Boom Op, Gennie Op, Transport Co-Ord. plus couple Drivers, Craft Service and then a whole bunch of PA's you get to work for free as a resume credit. How do I know this?. Because I've Line Produced several low budget, non union indie features. Remember-you only get what you pay for