Happy Thanksgiving week! This holiday is the perfect opportunity to talk about how thankfulness should play into every single one of your productions, especially when it'sa low- or no-pay project.
Below are some ways you can show your cast and crew your thanks, no matter what stage your project is at.
Keeping people updated on progress is probably the best way to say thank you for hard (and often unpaid) work. They need to know that you're not taking their contributions for granted and that they didn't waste their time and efforts on something they'll never hear about again.
If you're still in pre-production, keep your teammates who aren't making decisions in the loop by notifying them of new location finds as well as new cast and crew hires. Schedule shoots as far in advance as possible and send reminders as those dates get closer, with shooting scripts and call times attached so there aren't any surprises.
If you're in production, constantly remind people of upcoming shoots as well as the overall progress of the shoot. Emails about how you've wrapped certain actors or complete episodes will keep everyone's spirits up and encourage them that you're working towards something, you're not just working.
If you're in post-production, do more of the same! Send fun/interesting screenshots from the edit, and give people an idea of when the series will premiere, even if you don't have a specific date in mind. Make people individual, personalized promo images so they feel more ownership over promotion and the project as a whole.
Bottom line: There's nothing worse than giving up weekends and weeknights for weeks or months and then having the creator/producers drop off the face of the Earth.
This thanks-giving option (see what I did there?) pretty much speaks for itself; have a party! Celebrate your success with your whole team, making sure to thank every person in attendance for their contributions, big or small. Make a sizzle reel of the best moments or bloopers and screen it for everyone for a sneak peek at the final product.
Bonus: you can take pictures at the party and use them for social media promotion later!
If you're not really a party person or you hate having people in your house, take your cast and crew out to a celebratory drink and/or dinner! it'san expense, but these people are worth it for sticking by your side.
This is such an easy way to make your team feel appreciated. Even though IMDb is laughably easy to add to, it'sthe gold standard for the entertainment industry and having a page on there means something. You can even add people as "special thanks" if you had a friend or family member who was particularly supportive (perhaps they donated their home as a location or loaned you some props).
Depending on your show, you probably have a variety of odd props with no use past their on-screen debut, so why not give them away so your team can bring home part of the magic? Even better if you can match the prop to the team member.
Alternatively, give everyone a small physical token of your joint success- perhaps a framed cast photo or thematically-linked trinket (for instance- if your show is about cars, buy everyone a little Hot Wheels car and attach a personalized thank you note). Even if your gift is cheap, make sure it'spersonalized somewhat and people will appreciate the gesture.
I know many of us aren't in the financial position to pay our team the rate they deserve to be paid. But the best way to make your cast and crew feel valued for their work is to actually pay them that value.
If that isn't a possibility, though, even smaller amounts of cash will really help. Offer to cover transportation costs (subway fare, gas, taxis, etc), hand out Starbucks gift cards for morning coffee and treats, or make a habit of pickup up the first tab for post-filming drinks.
How are you thanking your cast and crew this holiday season?