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OPEN DOORS - Universal Connection: How To Find A Diverse, Local Crew Anywhere in the World

Posted By Lisa Kors, Friday, October 11, 2019

You need a crew and you need it fast. You’ve got 48 hours to find a female DP who speaks Farsi in Fargo. The clock’s ticking—what’s a producer to do? On top of that, you’re looking to hire a diverse crew.

While more-experienced producers may have a deep bench of talent to call on, newer producers often don’t. For many, the first stop is an online resource like Staff Me Up. With its free job posting service, producers can find everything from a sound mixer in Seattle to a makeup artist in Minnesota. The reach of this website can also be helpful when trying to find crew in remote places. There are 150,000 monthly active users on the site. They are required to maintain their current availability so producers can see who’s free in real time.

But as every producer knows, time is money. Sites like Staff Me Up and others often put producers at the mercy of subscribers who happen to catch their ad on any given day. And the response rate can be uneven—from scant replies to an avalanche of candidates. If turnaround time is tight, it may be hard to cull the hundreds of replies down to a few standout players and vet them fast.

Enter the production Facebook groups. Private groups have sprung up to cover the entire staffing spectrum from “I Need a Producer” (popular with reality TV producers) to “I Need a Fixer,” “I Need an Editor” and “I Need a PA.”

Dana Melton, a Supervising Producer at All3 Media, finds “I Need A Producer” an invaluable tool when she has to make quick hires. “It’s a closed group, so not just anyone is on there,” Melton says. “They have to know someone already on it to get approved. Also, my friends in the group give me comments on people they know who’ve responded to my listing. So I usually get two or three qualified candidates with personal recommendations.”

But what if a producer needs to hire an entire call sheet, including security and catering companies, while also keeping an eye on diversity? The past best practice of simply rifling through a Rolodex to rehire your crew favorites isn’t usually a great option.

The latest player in the staffing game is Crewvie. The brainchild of PGA members Marcei Brown and Jeanette Volturno, it was built, created and is fully owned by women. Their ah-ha moment came when they were in remote locations that weren’t production-friendly and had to staff up fast. "I was literally sitting on a boat off of an island in Fiji and texting Marcei ideas for this site" says Volturno. “We realized there was a need for a database that connected people around the world with diverse, local crews and vendors.”

With its one-stop shopping approach, Crewvie is positioning itself to become a leader in inclusive hiring for your entire call sheet. It has an array of filtering parameters that can help producers find diverse candidates for each position, as well as a “Dream Team” feature that allows them to quickly earmark crew and vendors they like. Dream Team lists are private unless the creator opts to share them with other members.

What all these tools have in common is that they make inclusive hiring incredibly easy for producers working at any scale—from student films to tentpole blockbusters. The sites are simple to navigate and free or low-cost to use. So get searching—the Latinx drone operator you need in Dubai could be just a click away.

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