Photo of Matthew York; Videomaker's Publisher/Editor.

Even if extra hands are not absolutely essential to complete a project, the video production process offers an amazing opportunity for teamwork and creative collaboration that can add to your enjoyment and improve the end product. Whether you need to assemble a temporary crew for a single production or one that will remain together on an ongoing basis, there are several considerations to keep in mind as you build your production team, and a couple philosophical approaches to take into account. 

The key to leading a successful collaboration is to be a good leader.

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One of the most straightforward starting points to crew selection is to assess the specific needs of the production itself and recruit contributors who possess complementary skillsets. You might look for persons with affinities for writing, shooting, editing or animation to cover those particular aspects of your production. Starting by identifying required skillsets will help you narrow the field and hone in on helpers that have those core competencies. Finding and enlisting skilled helpers can bring its own challenges, however. Experienced crew members typically come with busy schedules and substantial pay rates that make this approach prohibitive in low budget scenarios. An excellent alternative for finding skilled and enthusiastic help without a hefty price tag is to tap into college students. There is no doubt a pool of young talent in your area that is willing to work for a small fee and a credit in a production that they can use to build a demo reel. 

Another approach is to recruit your crew based on attitude and ability to take direction. In many cases you can get what you need by enlisting inexperienced helpers who have the right attitude and are teachable. Many production skills can be taught, and others can be caught. You can teach someone the specific task of holding a boom pole and monitoring audio. You can coach someone to frame up two or three specific recurring shot compositions for a multicamera interview. With training, practice and a bit of instruction, you can coach an unskilled crew to be high-value helpers. 

The key to leading a successful collaboration is to be a good leader. As you add contributors to your crew, you will need to communicate well, give reliable direction and cast a clear vision for each person’s role on the team.

Matthew York is Videomaker's Publisher/Editor.


  1. Thanks for the very interesting article. In my opinion this article is great for those just starting out in business, or looking for ways to keep budgets low. 


    In my opinion, using college students or untrained people as your crew presents many problems. First, they may not show up since it's not their livelihood. If you're counting on them and they do not show up, you may have a problem.


    Second, we charge our clients for our services based on time. It's really time that we sell. If we're spending our time training our crew during a shoot, it doesn't present us as experts in what we do. It also will take us longer to get the shoot in the can.  It's very risky to have an untrained person using a boom and monitoring audio.


    Now if you need an extra person to watch your equipment so it doesn't disappear, or to help move heavy equipment or set pieces, that's a great use of an untrained person. But again, will they show up on time? Will they dress appropriately?  These are key questions you need to ask before you bring an untrained person onto your set.


    Greg Ball, President

    Ball Media Innovations, Inc.

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