Technology for filmmaking has gotten cheaper and more accessible over the years. Technically, you can create your own simple film using a tricked out Canon 70D and quality would rival those available in your local theater. However, if you’re looking to be more ambitious, then you need a solid film crew to back you up. Now this is where the costs come in. Hiring a film crew can be expensive but if you don’t have the money to pay for them, is it still possible to get a professional crew to work pro bono?
The answer is yes. You can absolutely get them to work for you but there are several things to keep in mind. Remember, these are professionals and you should treat them as such. Not all professionals will say no to a pro bono project, sometimes it just means having the right project. Here are some tips you can use to attract professionals and have them work for free.
1. Be Transparent From the Start
Be completely honest about your goals and intentions. It’s not uncommon for people to create listings citing they want to make film and then going on to state a general subject like “romance film” or “short horror film” without sharing anything else. This is a big no-no. Remember, if you’re asking for information, it’s best to provide information about who you are and your project first. Also, be honest about the money or the lack of a budget. If it’s pro bono work, say it as such. Also state what expenses are covered and which ones aren’t, this helps the person reading the listing decide if your project is something they can invest in or not.
2. Don’t Sell the Results But Present the Project Instead
While it’s understandable for every filmmaker to think his or her movie is going to be a hit, selling the possible results to crew and promising them the heavens isn’t going to cut it. It’s also unprofessional. Bottom line is that if your film is “the next big thing” or created with solid potential, they can judge for themselves and they would want to be a part of it even if it means working for free.
3. Offer an Opportunity and Don’t Just Ask for Help
Keep in mind, you want to attract professionals into your crew. While you may not be able to afford paying them in cash, present them with opportunities instead. There are some people who would work for the experience; the challenge or even if the crew is trying to move up the ladder. Give them that opportunity and couple it with a solid project, reasonable work days and they won’t be able to resist.
It’s always possible to get a professional, quality crew to work for free with you on your project. While various people work for their own reasons, you have to understand you are your selling point too. If they like you and think you have a solid project and are fair and honest with your crew, then you shouldn’t have a problem finding reliable people to help make your project a success.