by Bri Castellini
Calling in favors is the true currency of indie filmmaking, and often the form of these favors is enlisting friends to be a part of your cast or crew. Perhaps you’re all equals, having gone into the project together to make something you’re all proud of. Perhaps one person created something cool and everyone else swarmed to support. In any case, though, mixing business with friendship and not having any money is bound to get complicated. Here are 6 tips I’ve learned or gleaned from fellow filmmakers on how to work with friends and actually stay friends with them.
1. Decide on a leader
From my How To Not Fight On Set article:
As early as humanly possible, you need to decide who’s in charge; if the command structure is weak or fragmented, you will fight more because everyone is vying for control. Even if the same person isn’t in charge on and off set, make sure everyone is aware of the food chain no matter where they are. For example, in my projects so far I’ve been a writer/actor/producer and am in charge of most things off set, but as soon as I put my costume on, my director is the point person. If I disagree with the director on set, the solution is either for me to back down or for them to try both because the director is in charge and I have to respect that.
This is even more important when you’re among friends, and it’s going to be uncomfortable at first, but you’re going to have to get over that. You have to take your work seriously, otherwise no one else will. Keep the lines clear and you should be able to skirt the muddier parts of collaborating with friends. For more advice on the leader/friend balance, check out Kyla Dowling’s article all about it!
2. Get it in writing
See here and here for some guidance, but all that considered, it doesn’t have to be a crazy 18-pager in full legal jargon. A contract in this case is largely to indicate, in writing, that all parties take this work seriously and that they have agreed upon terms and responsibilities for said work….
Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Director at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Stareable’s Blog.