Posted on January 20, 2010 by Mike Riddell

Jen Wood, Production Assistant at work

Just been watching Martin Scorcese’s speech at the Golden Globes, which is well worth a look – you can see it here. In it he talks about the vast army of people that he’s collaborated with in his career, and reaffirms the place of film as the most collaborative of all the arts. The making of any film is the result of a community of people bringing their talents to bear, which is why I really don’t like vanity credits. Staying behind in a theatre to watch the credits is not so much being a poseur as it is paying homage to each of the people who have been involved in bringing a story to the screen for your edification.

When it became apparent that The Insatiable Moon was going to proceed as a low budget feature, it was obvious that we weren’t going to have enough money to pay everyone. There may be an infinite number of ways to slice a pie, but none of them increase the size of the pie. So we needed a deliberate strategy. What we opted for was to pay the key cast as well as we possibly could, and to give heads of departments in the crew something approaching market rates. For everyone else, we needed to offer work experience i.e. unpaid work. I’ve already spoken about the great contribution made by extras (here). When it came to crewing up, we had to find a host of people who were willing to pitch in without reward. Fortunately for us, we hit upon some of the very best of graduates from a couple of film schools. The first and most prolific supplier of these was South Seas Film & Television School. The second was the film & media stream of Unitec. From the outset we decided that the people who signed up for our film were to be regarded as trainees rather than volunteers. That meant that the heads of departments had some responsibility to supervise and train the folk working alongside them. What we discovered was that our trainees were people of the highest calibre, who not only turned up every day on set, but gave 100% of their skill and dedication. We also had some, such as Robbie and Jono, who ran unit catering for us simply out of their love of film.

The budget was of course stretched beyond breaking point, and we ended up by overspending to a small extent. Pretty much the amount we overspent by was the exact amount we offered to our trainees at wrap, as a very small gesture of thanks for their sterling work. It was money well spent. We could not possibly have made the film without their contributions. Naturally we are giving them full credits in the film. If you stay behind at the end, you’ll be able to applaud their contribution.

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