producing what happens if you don't money pay your cast and crew working on a indie film?

When it comes to looking for cast and crew looking to work on indie film projects that's non-money paid, what are the risks of not money compensating cast and crew?

Or what are the pros and cons on both non-compensated and compensated film roles?
 
From my experience, you get what you pay for.
I've seen indie crew members(not directors, producers, or writers) who feel they have a say so in the direction of the movie because they are working for free.
I've seen directors having to bite their lip because a crew member was being disruptive but working for free.
They might not show up on time or not show up at all...

I was once working on a movie for free but the producer called and offered me pay. I didn't ask for it but, of course I took it. I think he wanted to pay me just to shut me up. ;)
 
From my experience, you get what you pay for.
I've seen indie crew members(not directors, producers, or writers) who feel they have a say so in the direction of the movie because they are working for free.
I've seen directors having to bite their lip because a crew member was being disruptive but working for free.
They might not show up on time or not show up at all...

I was once working on a movie for free but the producer called and offered me pay. I didn't ask for it but, of course I took it. I think he wanted to pay me just to shut me up. ;)
Interesting, so what you're saying is that a non-paid crew member can step into the toes of the director? because it's non money paid.
 
No. They just feel they have the right to tell the director how they think things should be done. From my experience, this is the last thing the director wants to hear when busy thinking about the next shot.
 
From my experience (albeit in a different domain) un-paid volunteers put a value on the experience as a whole that can be very difficult for the director/project manager/overlord to assess, and if the volunteer feels that the value is marginal, then their loyalty to the project can evaporate very quickly.

With my own volunteers, and within the limits that are granted to me by the organisers, I try very hard to tailor the duties and rewards to each one, and to find the right balance between being someone who gives strict orders and someone who encourages independent thought. I can do that, because that's the role I've carved out for myself, but if I had to also invest creative energy into the project as a whole, I wouldn't have the time or attention for that kind of management, and my team would risk becoming just as much of a zombie horde as I see in other groupls.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
If your script has interesting characters you can get actors to do it for free, but the odds are that that you will have a dramatically reduced talent pool in terms of quality and quantity. but you can get your film made like that.
If you need background extras for your shot to work then you need to pay them or they probably won't show up.

On set you can probably get a director to come in for free or a cinematographer to come in for free, since people feel pride in these positions.
You will not be able to get a volunteer to come and hold the microphone or be a pa, etc for free. even if they say they will come and do it there's gonna be a family emergency the day of and they'll call you and their grandma was in a car accident and they have to go to the hospital rn, sorry they can't make it. or their wife is giving birth or something. it's amazing all of your volunteers will all have crazy emergencies all at the same time on the day of your shooting. wild stuff.
 
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If your script has interesting characters you can get actors to do it for free, but the odds are that that you will have a dramatically reduced talent pool in terms of quality and quantity. but you can get your film made like that.
If you need background extras for your shot to work then you need to pay them or they probably won't show up.

On set you can probably get a director to come in for free or a cinematographer to come in for free, since people feel pride in these positions.
You will not be able to get a volunteer to come and hold the microphone or be a pa, etc for free. even if they say they will come and do it there's gonna be a family emergency the day of and they'll call you and their grandma was in a car accident and they have to go to the hospital rn, sorry they can't make it. or their wife is giving birth or something. it's amazing all of your volunteers will all have crazy emergencies all at the same time on the day of your shooting. wild stuff.
What you're saying is that if you do money pay the crew members even if they have a family emergency, they'll show up or still commit to the shoot on the days of right?
 

mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
I pay everyone, even in the PA's. I need these people. And if people are being paid even minimum wage, they're a hell of a lot more likely to show up than those who aren't being paid.

My standard example is a PA on a summer shoot whose buddies call with an invitation to go to the beach on a sunny day in July. If you're not getting paid (even if you're getting good experience), that's a very tempting offer. It's less tempting if you're making $150 (plus hopefully the good experience) for that day.

It's certainly NOT a guarantee that people will always show, and in the case of a real family emergency, I would truly expect the courtesy of a phone call but would not expect the movie to take priority. I always remind everyone that we're not saving lives and need to keep that in perspective.
 
Like it's been said, if you don't pay people, you're not getting the best actors and crew that you can. People will flake off. People will be late. People will argue. I made three features this way before deciding, "never again". I pay everyone now.
 
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