5 Big Benefits of Working On a Small Production
Posted on: Dec 05, 2023
When you’re starting out in the film and TV industry, it may seem like the goal is working on big-budget productions with massive crews. However, there are ample opportunities and unique advantages that small film crews bring to the table.
I’ve worked with crews of various sizes and have found that as a PA, I enjoy working on smaller crews way more than the bigger productions. Increased responsibility and strong connections have been a huge draw to me while continuing to pursue working on small crews.
On smaller productions, each team member has an opportunity to have their voice heard and contribute their ideas and opinions to improve the project. Collaboration between all crew members is enhanced by the close-knit circumstances of a small crew. On larger sets, I’ve seen each department stick to each other like cliques, but on small ones, everyone works together and become more of a family, giving people in various departments the chance to learn from others.
Production workers often develop deeper connections on smaller sets, which allows for the possibility to network. I’ve grown extremely close to people from working in smaller crews and because of that, I have been given chances I otherwise would not have.
People have helped me get other job opportunities, as well as put me in touch with exceptional resources that assisted me with reaching my goals. As a PA on a low-budget set, the producers I worked with gained a better understanding of my strengths, weaknesses and creative ideas and helped teach me the skills I need to become a producer one day.
A More Efficient Work Environment
Adaptability and efficiency are extremely vital to a successful production. Having a leaner crew means that decision-making is easier and adjustments can be made more quickly. This allows those in charge to adapt to challenges and surprise situations while staying within budget.
Small productions tend to have better communication as well. I’ve seen what poor communication on-set can do and how it affects the ability of everyone to do their job. The smaller the crew, the easier it is to communicate and ensure everyone is on the same page leading to a more efficient work environment.
When there are less voices in the room, there’s more room for enhanced creative expression. Every team member is provided an opportunity to showcase their skills and talents. They also are given more creative freedom and trust to do things as opposed to larger sets.
As a PA and someone who wants to be a producer, I’ve been allowed to help shop for props and have been given creative control to set dress for a scene, as well as give ideas for story points. That kind of experience is something I would never have had the opportunity to do while working on larger film sets.
When you work on a small crew, you’re forced to wear many hats and often expected to do the job of a whole department. As a PA, I was given increased responsibility and was often the only one from my department on-set certain days.
I learned a lot that way and was given increased responsibilities and tasks that prepared me for future roles as a production coordinator. While you may have to work harder on smaller crews than on larger crews, it’s more rewarding because the recognition and appreciation are enhanced on small sets leading to a positive work environment.
As I’m still early in my career, the ability to meet and work closely with those who have been doing this longer is valuable to me and anyone else starting out in the industry.
Benjamin Hickson is an aspiring producer and production coordinator who has 4+ years experience working on various Film and TV projects. He has a background in Public Relations and served for six years in the military. He also has passion for travel and aims to increase LGBTQ+ representation in the entertainment industry.
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