5 Best Ways To Keep Your Crew Happy

By | Published April 3rd, 2020 | in Crew, Production, Techniques, Video Production Services

5 Best Ways To Keep Your Crew Happy

Leading a production crew is not easy. So what are some tips to keep everyone happy and giving it their all on long days? We have five ideas for you. 

Have you ever worked on a crew where everyone was unhappy? Production assistants walking around upset, people picking fights with the director, and a crazed producer trying to hold it all together? 

Those are the jobs that send us to the bar after…and not in a good way. 

So let’s say you’re running your own crew. You call all the shots. 

What would you do differently? 

How would you keep the people on it happy at all times? 

Today we want to go over five tips that will keep your crew loving working for you. 

Let’s jump in. 

1. Pay on time

You know the quote, ‘Show me the money!’

There’s a reason even people who have never seen Jerry Maguire say it over and over. 

Money talks! 

The most important thing is paying your crew on time. I cannot tell you how many times I got late checks or late payments when I was breaking into the industry. The people I wanted to work for and try my hardest to please were the people who paid me on time. Paying the most is important too, but who cares if the rate is high if you’re waiting two months to get it? 

If you value the crew, you pay them for their work. Do it on time. 

No excuses. 

2. Provide great food

Do you know how hungry you get carrying a steady cam or lifting a boom mic for hours? 

And directors need a few coffees and a dozen slim jims to make their days. 

Production hours can be long and hard. Having coffee and water is the bare minimum. Really want people to be happy? Make sure the craft services tables are stocked with candy, fruit, protein, and any other request they might have. A well-stocked snack table keeps people full. 

One thing I like to do is have everyone write their favorite snack down with the paperwork they hand in and have most of the stuff. You can track allergies there too. 

And don’t get me started on breaking at appropriate times for lunch, dinner, and second meal. 

3. Make your days 

This tip is excellent for them and you. Working endless hours can really mess with the mood on set. I should know, I once worked on a movie that shot from 6pm till 6am for 22 days straight. While most days were fun, the days where we missed lunches, where we went until 8am, or just even the days where we didn’t get all the shots we needed were real slogs. 

No matter what, you have to make your days. 

It will save you money and keep spirits high. 

4. Help get them where they want to go

What’s the end goal of your production assistant? Is your best boy working their way up to being a grip? Maybe your cinematographer thinks they’d be a great director too. 

The point is, get to know and listen to your crew. If you help them achieve their goals, they’re going to work extra hard to achieve yours. While you can’t continually promote everyone, you can vocalize and be rooting for them in their corner. Reach out to friends during hiatus to get them hired when they need it. Be an advocate and you’ll attract loyalty.  

5. Say ‘Thank You’

It’s crazy to even have to say this…but people need to hear it. I think it was Don Draper who said: ‘That’s what the money’s for!’

Yes, you pay your crew. Yes, this is their job. But appreciating them and their hard work goes a long way. 

Running a crew is like being a hype man. You want to compliment people when things are going well and be firm when they’re not. If people see you recognize hard work, they’ll understand when you have to come down if things are not going well. 

Just make sure to find a balance and it will reflect in your crew. 

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Ambient Skies is a full service entertainment production company focused on creative storytelling for commercials, documentaries, and narratives.

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About The Author:

Trenton Massey