Next week I start production on JUST PRETEND in Los Angeles. I've shot parts of two features in LA before, but this is my first experience shooting an entire feature in the sometimes non-film-friendly filmmaking capital of the world. I will be attempting to occasionally blog about the experience.
One definite pro to shooting ultra low in LA is the large amount of eager young people willing to work for little, or nothing, in order to get on set experience. There are also a lot of very talented people willing to work at low rates to help out friends. I have found that in other places, where there is enough filmmaking to keep crew working but not steadily, you are hard pressed to find crew that will work for rates that small projects require. As one Utah based grip once told me, "I can only move as fast as my day rate is high."
Our crew is working for essentially minimum wage. Most of them work on better paying gigs most of the time and are working with us either for experience or to help friends. Instead of the four or five person crew that most no-budget shoots have, we're pretty full at twenty. Twenty starts to be big enough that it's hard to steal things or to feel any different than any other film. That's something that we are trying to avoid.