Assembling Your Team


VANCOUVER – *originally published on  By Meeshelle Neal with a note from Jax Smith

Emotions are contagious.

I have found that when a group of positive, proactive, people are working together toward a common goal, even intense pressure-filled situations can be enjoyable. Those high stakes, high stress, moments occur often in film. I highly suggest taking that into consideration when deciding who to add to key positions while crewing up.

When hosting a party, I put a lot of thought into the guest list. It’s all about who will jive personality-wise. Not everyone I like and get along with will immediately connect with each other. I put the same thought into assembling a team for film, with the added caveat that during this ‘party’ there will (almost definitely) be moments where everyone is stressed, tired, and personally invested in how things play out. Those emotions will run high.

The following are five tips & tricks that M&J have accumulated over the years:

  1. Try people out on smaller projects first
  2. Pay attention to how they act (not what they say) – some examples: are they always late? Do they follow through? Do they light up a room? (or the opposite)
  3. Ask them about how they like to work rather than telling them what you’re looking for. This advice came to M&J from an E.P. Overall she said that it’s better to ask them an open-ended question rather than telling the person what you’re looking for, so you don’t have someone simply saying they’ll do it your way to ‘get the job.’
  4. If you haven’t worked with the person before, ask around, talk to trusted sources to get the best overall idea – similar to receiving feedback, look for consistencies
  5. Keep a handy list of people you enjoy working with – this is another piece of advice that came to us through an E.P.

When a team is cohesive on set, it is like no other feeling. It’s what I strive for because, in the words of Col. John “Hannibal” Smith, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

*M, such excellent advice. Well said Partner, I agree on all fronts. – J