Who do you need to make a movie?
Depending on the size and scope of the vision, you may need a ton of trained professionals. And you’ll need all their contact info organized in one place.
Because you'll need to keep in constant contact with everyone. And keep everyone in constant contact with each other. In today’s post we’re going to review all the essential components to create a complete film production crew contact list. Let’s go!
What exactly is a film production crew contact list?
There are many different film crew positions, under many different departments. Organizing everyone's info into one database becomes critical to success.
Current and future success. Because anyone you work with today could be someone you'll want to work with tomorrow.
A film production crew contact list may start off for one project. But from there it can grow into a database of everyone you've worked with.
If you’re using a production management solution like StudioBinder, that database will be neatly organized and easily shareable. For this post, we’ll be using StudioBinder screenshots to illustrate the points, but these are universal insights you can apply to any film crew list template.
Managing your film production contacts online
Whether you’re using StudioBinder or an excel template, the first thing to do is to start adding the names of your contact list. With time, and more projects, this will go from being a crew list for one project, to being your rolodex. This is why it’s very important to approach contact lists like a long-term investment.
After all, it’s all in who you know.
At some point, your lists are going to start to get long. When this happens you'll want to use the search feature to find someone fast.
Start typing their name in the search box and you'll find them.
Messaging people in your crew list
A good film production crew database works for you.
For example: Say you’ve got a new project and the director wants a recommendation for a good DP? Remember the guy who did such a great job on that project 2 years ago?
Find him in your database of film crew contacts. Find the phone number, reach out and see if he's free for a meeting.
If you’re using StudioBinder to manage your contact database, you can send a message right within the dash. The message will be styled nicely with your project for that added touch of polish.
You can send messages to an entire group in a stylish email template
Bucketing production crew contacts into lists
After you’ve built out a robust database over time, you’ll want to further organize contacts into buckets. You can create as many custom lists in StudioBinder as you need.
For example, create a custom list for vendors you’ve work with. That way you have easy reference to find them again on future projects.
Consider creating a custom list for the production company contacts you’re working with.
Do you have a client for this shoot? Do they have an assistant you want to CC on every change or update? Make a custom list for the client and their assistants.
I'd definitely consider adding a list for post production too. The post process will need a whole new team of artists and technicians. You can sub group them in convenient ways as well.
Use tasks and files to create a film crew list more efficiently
Another useful feature of managing your film production crew contact list in StudioBinder is the ability to create a “Task Card.” Task cards house oodles of details you can fill out regarding your contacts: tasks, due dates, file attachments, comments and teammates you can assign the card to.
To create a task card, click on the Task Cards button on the upper right of your dashboard. This will open a sidebar where the cards live.
Try using a task card to keep track of something as simple but as necessary as talent release forms. Here I created a card to do just that:
If you click on the card, you can make further changes.
Now we're able to assign this task to another user. And we can choose anyone on the film production crew contact list to be responsible for collecting release forms.
For this task we’d probably want to choose the production coordinator. Though it could be an appropriate task for any number of film positions.
You can make a task list of every person in your cast that needs to provide a release form.
Then, as the releases come in, check the boxes to keep track. You to choose a due date for this task card.
You can actually track all your paperwork with this feature.
Sharing film crew lists with others
Studiobinder let's you share a contacts page with anyone else on your film production crew contact list for free. Even if they aren’t a Studiobinder user. This is a handy way to provide a safe, view-only access to a contact list. No signup is required by reviewers.
If you want someone to help build your film production crew contact list, you can assign “Can edit” permission, and they’re off to the races.
Although StudioBinder makes it easy to view contacts on a mobile device, phone batteries drain quickly.
You’ll also want to printed copies of your contact lists to set with you just in case. Printing or saving the page as a PDF is possible as well.
[BONUS] List of the most common film production crew positions
Bonus section by popular demand! For our final section we’re going brush up on some basic film crew terminology.
When you open your film production crew contact list you'll need to add new contacts. As a result, you’ll need to develop a strong understanding of production crew positions.
StudioBinder makes the process much easier by providing a comprehensive film production crew positions list (and their shortnames). This removes the memorization headache and any spelling errors from the equation.
The list of jobs on set could go on forever. Trying counting the job titles during the credits the next time you go to a movie.
We’ll go over an abridged list of film crew jobs on set here. Remember, every project is different, so every movie crew is different.
Productions bundle their film crew positions into departments. This will be true on the budget, the call sheet, sometimes the schedule. It can also be true on your film production crew contact list:
Film crew hierarchy can get a little complex, but remember that each department will have a “key” or a leader. Remember the keys, and you’ll remember the departments.
One these titles might belong to you!
The production department may also have the First Assistant Director (1st AD), and any more AD's required. An AD will make your schedule, and make sure you make your days.
The longer the film crew list, the more AD's you'll need. Along with them you'll have Production Assistants.
Back in StudioBinder, for each new person, click on Add New Contact and fill out the details. Then select their title from the film crew positions drop down menu.
Here you can see the “add new contact” feature
Every new contact you add also includes a chance to add their photo, which will make them easier to identify quickly.
Here we have our brand new contact added, complete with a photo.
The head of your camera department will be your Cinematographer. Sometimes also called the Director of Photography (DP). The rest of the camera department will depend on what the shoot calls for.
A 1st AC (assistant camera) is standard. Usually so is a 2nd AC. One of them may be the “Focus Puller,” and in the days of shooting on film you'd have a “Loader.”
Shooting digitally means you'll more likely have a DIT, or digital imaging technician. They'll handle the media you record and log it, transcode it etc.
Pro Tip: You may want to let your DP suggest his or her own camera crew. Camera crews often work together, and have certain shorthand.
Whoever you hire will now live on in your StudioBinder production crew positions list. Which means you'll easily be able to reach out to them next time you are crewing up.
Grips handle on-set safety and equipment like flags for example. Electrics handle the lights, generators (gennys) or anything you plug in.
On a smaller set you may only need those, plus what is sometimes called a “Swing.” That means a person or two who can do both G & E work.
Pro Tip: There are strict union guidelines about who from which department can touch which gear in a film crew. Be mindful of these things even when you're not on a union shoot.
Production sound could be a one-man job, but more likely than not you'll have a Sound Mixer and a Boom-Op at the very least.
Good sound people with their equipment are hard to find. And many a filmmaker will tell you that quality production sound is what separates the men from the boys.
This group led by the Production Designer, may also include an art director and a prop master. But the department can get very large if you've got big sets.
You could have set builders, carpenters, and painters. Usually your production design team gets hired by the Production Designer and Art Director.
But it's wise to track every person in your film crew and keep them in your film production crew positions list.
You may have one person for each of these tasks. Or many for each. Like everything in your film crew, it'll depend on the scale.
A long list of Locations Managers and companies, and locations themselves is a great asset in any film production crew contact list.
You never know what your next project may need, and how hard it may be to find.
Plus which locations fall through. Or things may happen on set and you'll need the number of the manager or a liaison.
The locations department expands beyond the list of film crew jobs on set; some of them will be remote. But typically you’ll find a location person, or at least a rep, on the actual set.
Often called “Crafty” for short, this could be a one person department. Or a whole Catering Company. But it is best to make a separate group for these contacts.
There are many more film crew positions available within StudioBinder. The service makes it convenient to search and assign crew positions with a few clicks.
So in summary, how do you create a good film production crew contact list?
Collect everyone’s contact info in one place. Group them by department and project. Add tasks and task management. Track progress. Get in touch as needed.
And then, after you've wrapped, use your contact list again to invite everyone to the premiere.
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"Create a FREE Film Production Crew Contact List with StudioBinder." Filmmaker #filmmaking
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