I often travel all across the United States working primarily as a Line Producer / Unit Production Manager or 1st AD and tasked with the challenge of finding local crew and extras.
Here are 7 Avenues to finding local crew and extras.
- Facebook. Whenever I travel to a city outside of Los Angeles I make sure to try and discover any and all film, acting facebook groups or pages that may exist within the city or state. I attempt to join these pages and then use these groups as a platform for possible job posts for crew or even extras. It could even be a movie enthusiast group that I join that later turns into a source of qualified PAs.
- Craigslist. I might post a job under the crew section under gigs (free) or post a (paid) job under the TV/Film category. Because these sections don’t typically get as much traffic in cities outside Los Angeles often I will post these pretty early on. Sometimes I will do one job posting for 20 jobs and other times I will post specifically for a position that I can’t seem to fill like a Props Person etc. I might find local states that I know have a large film market such as Georgia and post in their CL section if I am shooting one or two states away because I know the crew base in Alabama is not going to be that large.
- Staff Me Up or Mandy. Both of these sites are pretty similar. Staff Me Up tends to cater toward reality and docs although there are some narrative jobs on there as well. I tend to like the interface of Staff Me Up better and the ability to find people with qualified credits can be pretty handy.
- The State Film Commission. Depending on which state you are shooting, the State Film Commission can really be your friend in pointing you in the right direction. They may know of existing crew or even have a website with a crew hotline.
- Film Schools. I make an effort to reach out to local film schools and see if they have any recent Grads or students who might be interested in working as interns or Production Assistants. This works better if your film is shooting in the summer as most of the time the students are in session and its hard for them to take off of school.
- Locals. Building relationships with key locals both in the community and city hall can be pretty helpful. During one production I was on I was able to friend a pastor of the church we were shooting at and he was able to help connect us with a lady that ended up working as our craft service person.
- The News. Sometimes the local news in a small city/county can be a huge asset. On multiple occasions I’ve worked with the news when trying to find hundreds of volunteer extras and every time this has proven to work quite well. I typically send them a link to a google form I have created for extras to sign up which they include in an article about the film.