A Crew Deal Memo is, in essence, a contract between the Producer (and/or Production Company) and the hired crew member.
The creation and production of a film is a temporary project. Therefore, most crew members will be hired on a temporary basis.
The Crew Deal memo will outline the duration of the hire, the compensation, and other important factors that need to be agreed upon
by the Producer/Production Company and the individual Crew Member.
If the production is a union shoot, union rules per the crew member’s union must be taken into consideration, especially
regarding compensation, overtime, meals, and time off.
We are going to outline the basics of what your Crew Deal memo “should” include, and you are welcome to download our sample
Crew Deal Memo, which you can use and customize.
Starting the Crew Deal Memo
The first section is where you enter your information and contact info. It is also where you enter the name of the crew
member and their title/position and social security number. There is a space here for Rate, and if it is simply a flat rate
or the same weekly rate, enter it here. If there are different rules for compensation, enter “See Below” and enter that
information in the Compensation section.
Also, make sure you get the crew member’s address and phone/e-mail info.
Compensation: Specify Weekly or Daily Rate
If you did not enter a rate in the above section, this is where you outline the compensation for the crew member.
If this is a union shoot (for example for a 1st Assistant Director), refer to the DGA (Directors Guild of America)
for specific rules and guidelines for compensation rates for directors. You can also check out The Gorilla Ratebook,
which gives you up-to-date rate information for thousands of crew positions, including the DGA and many of the other film unions.
Work Made for Hire
This section you will find standard in many ‘for-hire’ contracts. It protects the Production Company.
Payroll Companies will Withhold Taxes
This clause outlines that this agreement is in no way a partnership or joint venture and that the Production Company
will withhold any federal and/or state taxes. See our Film Payroll Companies post for more information about hiring a payroll company to take care of your cast and crew’s payroll needs.
Specifies duties of Employee (Crew Member)
This is a general clause that explains the duties to be performed should be in accordance with the title/position of
the crew member. If any specific information needs to be entered or specified here that is not common for that crew member’s
position, enter it here.
Specifies when the Crew Member works
This clause specified a standard 6-day work week. If it is a non-union shoot and you want the work week to be 5-days,
specify that here. If this is a union shoot and the crew member is part of a union, refer to the specific union’s guidelines
regarding work days, overtime, and time off.
Specifies when the Crew Member works.
It is standard to allow at least a 10-hour turnaround between shoot dates. So, if a production day ends at 12 midnight,
the next day’s shoot should not start until at least 10 AM.
This is why Call Sheets are usually created at the “end” of the day by the Assistant Director or the Production Manager.
We have an excellent post on Call Sheets (where you can also get a FREE Call Sheet Template!).
When do we eat?!
The crew needs to eat! This is one of the most important aspects (and one of the most important perks) of working on a
film production: free food! It is customary (and sometimes mandatory on union shoots) to provide at least one (not including breakfast!)
complimentary meals per day. With non-union shoots you want the crew to be happy. On union shoots, you have no choice! Check with the
union regarding meal compensation rules and guidelines.
"What do you mean I won't get reimbursed?"
If any crew member needs to purchase something (even food) for the production, this specifies that it must be cleared
with the Producer and/or Line Producer. You don’t want the Boom Operator to show up unwrapping a $5,000 microphone he just got
on Amazon and hand the receipt to the Producer without clearance! (This happened to me, that’s why I am mentioning it – it wasn’t $5,000,
"But, I really need this rental car to get here..."
Similar to the above clause, this goes for renting equipment, too.
"You can't fire me!"
If, for any reason, the Producer/Production Company needs to terminate the crew member, let it be known here, that you can do so.
"You can't fire me!"
This is very important on both non-union and union shoots. The crew member wants Credit on the film! This clause expressly
points out that the Crew Member will receive a credit at the end (and sometimes the beginning) of the film. See our post on Film
and Movie Credits for more information on this.
"It was an accident, I swear!"
This clause explains that if any damage it to occur to the employee’s property due to negligence of the employee that
it will not be covered by the Production Insurance.
If the production is a non-union picture, keep this clause here. If not, remove it.
Shhh... it's a secret
This is standard in most contracts. This points out that the employee agrees not to disclose any creative information
(story, pictures, audio, etc.) about the production without written consent.
The People's Court
This is also standard in most contracts and states that if there any disagreements between the Production Company
and the employee that both parties agree to arbitration. Now, if this is a union production, refer to the union.
Many unions have their own method of arbitration. No one want to go to court!
The Gorilla Ratebook can give you up-to-date guild rates for Assistant Directors and
all other Crew Titles in the Director Guild of America (DGA).
For a complete working demo of Gorilla Scheduling click here for Macintosh
or here for Windows.