We’ve previously written on characteristics to look for when hiring your crew, but here we’ll elaborate on where you can find these crew members. In the world of indie filmmaking, hiring usually happens through word-of-mouth and referrals, but don’t overlook the power of the Internet. Finding your crew online might have a higher risk factor than working off recommendations, but it will expand your network and give you a wider pool of candidates.
You’ll usually hire your director and writer first, followed by your line producer/UPM and your department heads, respectively. These are the people who are generally (but not always) hired through recommendations.
The rest of your crew is easier to find online. Now, you can certainly take the traditional route and post job listings on LinkedIn or Craigslist, but you’re looking for diamonds in the rough, and those sites feature a lot of rough. Instead, we recommend the following filmmaking-specific job boards, websites and groups, where you can ensure that your job listing will be seen by the right people.
Production Job Boards
These are online job boards that have a pool of active freelancers and vendors looking for work. You can search their databases based on location and positions, or you can post a job and wait for applicants. Most job boards offer free posting and membership, with optional upgrades.
Entertainment Careers might look like it came from the olden days of the Internet, but its simple interface can work to your advantage. You don’t even need to create an account to post a job; basic crew calls are free and can stay online for as long as you need. If you are looking to boost your listing, they offer a variety of paid upgrades. Entertainment Careers makes some of their listings public, which means you’ll reach more people than members-only sites — this can be both a blessing and a burden. Also bear in mind that this job board is not production-specific: they cater to anyone looking to hire within the entertainment, broadcast, or digital media industries.
Basic job posting: FREE
Mandy is a UK-based job board for the arts and entertainment industry. They have a directory of over 2 million professionals, and feature an international pool of creative talent, spanning film & TV production, theater, music, dance, and fashion. You can search their database based on location and job title. For employers, membership and job posting is free. Job seekers can choose between a free limited and a premium membership.
Unlike the previous sites we’ve mentioned, MediaMatch is exclusive to film & TV production crew. Registering your company and posting a job listing is free, and once you’ve created your listing, an email will be sent out to freelancers whose skills align with your needs. MediaMatch also has its own crew database, and you can browse a database of professionals based on department and location. Freelancers can be basic members for free, or pay a monthly fee for extra benefits.
Don’t let the name fool you: NYC Film Crew has listings in major cities all across the US and Canada. Like MediaMatch, they are also a straightforward production board specific to hiring film & TV crew. Posting a job or a crew call has a flat fee of $5, no sign-up required, and the listing is online for 30 days. The website is free and open to the public, and job listings are grouped based on location.
Basic job posting: $5
ProductionHUB is one of the oldest and largest job boards out there. The website allows you to post crew requests, find vendors, and browse crew profiles from all over the globe. Their database is easy to navigate, as they have several filters available, including area of expertise, location, and union status. Posting a basic crew call is free, but priority requests will set you back $99. While ProductionHUB specializes in crew and vendor search, you can also post listings for full and part-time jobs in the industry — these begin at $39.
Basic job posting: Free
Priority request: $99
Full-service crewing: $199+
Registration and job posting are both free on Production Beast, a relatively new, but fast-expanding platform. They also feature crew and vendor databases, though their search features are less refined than some of the other sites we’ve mentioned Production Beast does offer premium memberships, but the benefits these come with cater more to job seekers than job posters.
Staff Me Up was founded with one goal: to make it easier and faster for filmmakers to hire qualified production crew and staff. As a basic member, you can search the freelancer database of over 200,000 professionals, and post unlimited jobs for free. Once your listing is live, Staff Me Up will rank the best candidates based on your needs. With premium membership, you can also directly contact freelancers, track their availability, and build unlimited contact lists.
Basic job posting: Free
Premium membership: $49/mo or $468/yr
Company membership: $49/mo or $468/yr, plus $5/mo per team member
There’s always Facebook
What was once exclusively a social network for college students now hosts hundreds of millions of groups, many of which function as production job boards. Most groups are specific to a location, crew department or film school, but you’ll find groups for low-budget projects and female filmmakers as well.
A quick search for “production jobs in [city]” or “[crew position] in [city]” should leave you with multiple results, and Facebook will throw out some suggestions as well. Just keep in mind that many of these groups lack regulation, and can be huge and overwhelming. That’s why you should join groups as specific as possible to your location and crewing needs, and post in multiple groups.
You can also post a crew call on your own wall — depending on your Facebook connections, you may end up with some promising responses or recommendations.
What about Vimeo and YouTube?
Plenty of indie filmmakers post their content on video-hosting platforms, and can easily be reached in the comments or through private message. Though it may not be as fast and effective as posting on a job board, perusing Vimeo or even YouTube is a great way to expand your network and connect with other filmmakers, who can potentially crew for you in the future.
When posting a job, be specific (and honest) about the position, the length of production, the dates, and the amount you are able to pay. Clear parameters will help you avoid offering jobs to people who turn out to be unavailable or unqualified. As with all relationships that begin on the Internet, take precautions and check their references. Once you’ve confirmed that they’re a real filmmaker, with a legit interest in your project, you can comfortably offer them the job. Then it’s time to start shooting!