Step 12. - Where to put the money
Next, I’m putting my money on the sound mixer/recordist. If you don’t capture usable audio and dialogue during the production phase, it will be nothing short of a nightmare when you get to editing. You must have someone who knows how to do this.
The other two department heads are Assistant Director and Production Designer. Even though they are essential, you can find some workarounds. The Assistant Director runs the set and is responsible for the logistics. He/she handles call times to the actors, maintains paperwork and time cards, and supervises extras. It is possible for the Production Manager to handle this position; however, he/she will probably hate you for it.
Finally, one other position that probably should be paid is the gaffer. A gaffer is an electrician, who is responsible for the rigging, mounting, and construction of the camera and lighting support systems. You really need a professional for this position. If equipment is not properly set up, somebody could be hurt.
The best way to blend experienced crew with volunteer crew is to present this to your seasoned professionals as a teaching opportunity and a way to give back to a younger upcoming generation. Your volunteers will appreciate the fact that they have access to the wisdom, knowledge and expertise of the professional crew. Your younger volunteers will also do a lot of the physical work and heavy lifting. It’s a win/win situation for everybody. And, the most important rule concerning crew is a happy crew is a well-fed crew. In other words, don’t cut corners when it comes to providing nutritious and delicious meals for your cast and crew.