Seasoned producers get into a rhythm. Before they even set up a project, they have a decent idea of how long the project will take, how much money they’ll spend, and the team they want on the job. But make that shoot international and you’re sure to throw off even the most experienced professional. That said, hiring international crews doesn’t have to be a painful experience.
For the scoop on what makes international crewing painful and what makes it easier, we picked Ashley LaRocque’s brain. As the manager at Crew Connection, she has daily contact with video service providers and the clients who book them and has had her hand in shoots from Texas to Taiwan. Here are her five things to consider when looking for an international video service providers along with three tips to make the whole thing easier. Five factors that make hiring international crews painful:
Time zone differences
Anytime you work with someone in a different timezone, communication takes a little extra effort. Internationally, that effort can become Herculean. You may be on the exact opposite end of the clock as those you’re working with and still need to be available for meetings or damage control. Odd hours and late-night or early-morning emails are a given. Time differences can even affect post-production. Shipping files on drives is still the most reliable form of transferring footage, but leaves plenty of room for error in other ways.
Local laws and regulations
Different countries have different rules. Lots of different rules. A no-brainer in one place may be a no-go in another. Crews don’t want to adopt the responsibility of making sure what you’re asking them to do is in line with local rules. It’s still your job to make sure you’re covered when it comes to permissions, insurance, and all those other little details that make a shoot a success—or a disaster.
Anyone can pick up a camera and point it at a scene, but it takes a different level of skill to make sure it’s something you are comfortable with representing you and your brand. Demo reels and work examples, which are crucial to your ability to judge a crew’s quality, may not be as accessible or easy to understand when the video service provider is on the other side of the world speaking a different language from you.
In addition to travel costs, working internationally means extra expenses in exchange rates, wiring fees, shipping costs, and more. It can really add up. A lot of international crews also require a deposit (or even payment in full) before the shoot begins. Additionally, you may need to hire a bigger crew than you’re used to. What is a one-person job in your experience could be a three-person job abroad.
As a rule, you take on more responsibility and therefore more risk in international shoots. It doesn’t need to be a deterrent in itself, but it’s good to be aware.
3 tips to make hiring an international crew easier
Ask a ton of questions. Talk with crews about rates, equipment, the timeline, which crew members are required to be on set, etc. Talk to the local film commission or equivalent (if applicable) and get all permits and releases before you send money or start filming.
Learn international business etiquette
It might cost you some effort to learn a few business etiquette basics, but it will likely end up saving you later when you have to use your awareness of local business practices.
Hire the right partners
A crewing service like Crew Connection can make sure you have a qualified video service provider while also handling all the fees, addressing the time zone differences, and easing the language barriers. You’ll save money and, maybe more importantly, stress so you can focus on pulling off that amazing project that took you overseas in the first place.
The bottom line
Yes, booking video service providers internationally is challenging. But with a little extra preparation up front and choosing a great partner for the effort, even international shoots can be as smooth as French silk.
About Crew Connection
puts a world of video service providers and editors at your fingertips. In just a few clicks you can search, chat with, and book vetted crews local to your shoot—all on your own schedule. Rely on Crew Connection's team of media experts to organize the crews and gear you need for multi-day and multi-location video projects anywhere in the world. Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock if you ever need live assistance. Visit CrewConnection.com, call us at 303-526-4900, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.