Is there a formula?
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It's called experience. Not being difficult- this is the realm of the UPM or AD when breaking down a project.
We've asked this to one of our friends a few years ago who said: "Ask someone who knows about managing skeleton crews better than you do"... which is what we've been doing ever since. We've gotten better at the assesment of a project, but we always ask someone who's better at it than we are to tally the final numbers.
Thank you for all your comments. It is becoming quite clear that besides myself:Director/Screenwriter/Producer, a Cinematographer, a production designer I will need the services of a competent Production Manager and an Assistant Director. I understand the main focus of an AD is the scheduling and budgeting so the script comes in as close to on time and on budget.
Sian Katie Leigh-- What is a HOD?
Heads of Departments
Never forget how important a dedicated sound person is. A good 'soundie' can be a secret weapon. On a skeleton crew, they can be very helpful, as [we] are usually watching from the background, every job on the set, and if there are no department lines to cross (such as on a larger budget project), we are able to help out with other duties, provided that all the sound issues are worked out before rolling. On larger projects, I sit at my sound cart and watch other departments spend time solving problems, and DO NOT cross department lines, as that could get you fired or bitched at by the AD. But on less formal projects, we all work out the issues together. Small indie projects are fun (usually). Rachel
How can a formula, no matter how complex take into account all the variables on a film shoot? Will it be shot inside at a studio? Will it be interiors out on location somewhere? Will it have many street scenes using extras? One of these three possible scenarios will absolutely need honey wagons, one may not. One will need additional PA's. One will need on-site catering, one will not need transpo. All this is learned through experience and then it's still an educated guess. For your feature, I'd suggest you get acquainted with what Hadad's has to offer: http://www.haddadsinc.com/
Good comments JD. I agree that flexibility is key. Some people however are more comfortable making a formula script. I am not one of them. And the reason I started this thread to begin with is just to get a BALLPARK idea from perhaps an AD who had some insights and experience. It is a fluid question that takes into account a lot of variables. And I know after my table read is done I will have to sit down with the AD and go over the script in detail only then will I not only be able to determine what I need in terms of a crew but taking it to a line producer and setting up an accurate film budget--BTW I still have that template on an Excel spread sheet in my downloads with both sample above the line costs and below the line costs. At this point a large thank you to all my fellow Stage 32 creatives who have commented so far. This is why our fellowship works. And this is how it grows because as RB is fond of saying the more we learn the stronger our community and the better it is for all of us on our Journey to pick up that small gold man one day.