So, once you’ve looked at the industry and the trends, what about your crew base? What are the skills, what are the gaps? Where are the skills shortages? Identify both current and the future challenges. Try and identify this in terms of the specific outcomes required or the precise knowledge, skills and/or behaviors that may be absent. A comprehensive crew audit may be valuable to you at this point.
In relation to highlighting the services of various crew, it is valuable to get an idea about the labor rates charged by crew members in your area. This can be a challenge to determine, since rates can change depending upon the production. If you can, arrange to have a rate sheet provided by local unions; local production accountants will be useful as well in obtaining some salary information. In some jurisdictions, only the business agents of the unions and guilds can discuss rates, so you may not be able to obtain this information. If this is the case in your jurisdiction, be very aware of your role and where the boundaries between your job and labor lie. Always remember that the workforce is a key stakeholder and that this relationship is essential.
A good means of compiling and presenting crew information is through a production directory. The directory might include all the crew, resources, even locations, available in your area. A directory can be considered a marketing tool that shows prospective clients your area has valuable crew base they can hire for their project.
One concern about production directories is how to ensure crew members don’t exaggerate their skill level. Having a disclaimer at the beginning of your production guide is highly recommended indicating your office cannot verify the accuracy of the directory’s listings. Some film commissions do have a policy allowing them to pull listings from their guide and/or website if it’s discovered their claims of expertise are false. It is best to know your legal rights to publishing materials and denying access under specific circumstances. Once listings are live, a commission should regularly check to ensure the information is still accurate and the business operational. Creating and maintaining production directories is a costly and time-consuming process, even if just available online, but is also a useful one that services your community and attracts business.