Chapter 17 of 30 from Martin Scorsese

Working With Crew


Learn the differences between working with a small, core crew and a big one, and how to empower individual members of your crew.

Topics include: Find People You Trust • The Core Crew Is Your Lifeline • Get Used to the Questions • Trust Your Crew to Find a Way

Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese Teaches Filmmaking

In 30 lessons, learn the art of film from the director of Goodfellas, The Departed, and Taxi Driver.

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Class Info


It's really good if you have people around you that you trust, which is a basic element in the filmmaking process, or anything really. And goes for any film you're making. The trust is important between your director of photography, you, your assistant, director, co-producers, that sort of thing. What I mean is that, if it's a passion project, and everyone's invested in it the way you are, that's really rewarding. That's something very special. You feel you've gone through some sort of experience together. It's happened, luckily over the years, that I've had a few of those, just recently, with Silence, for example, Mean Streets to a certain extent. Although, a lot of the crew on Mean Streets, I learned how to put a film together through Roger Corman's crew. But they felt the energy of the whole thing, and they knew, somehow, because my enthusiasm and just passion for making the picture, they kind of were infected by it in a way. But I think, primarily, it's great when the crew is tight enough, and like a real working unit, that feels that they're creating something special with you. There's an alternative, of course, and that is that it becomes something impersonal. It's a bigger set, a bigger situation. But still, even there, people are doing very, very hard work, whether it's making sure the rain machine works perfectly, or that sort of thing. But as long as you have your inner core of key people sharing that desire to make this film, sharing it, and, ideally, not necessarily overdoing their role, so to speak, but pulling it all together, to help you get what you want, or what you think you want, because very often, as I say, when you get into the set, or when you get into a location, and you've designed something, and you're working with the actors, and things start changing, sometimes you lose your sense of exactly what the shot should be. [MUSIC PLAYING] If the people around you, your keep people, understand what you want based on conversations before you started shooting, reading the script, designs, all kinds of-- especially if you are on location, where people are working together, eating together, and that sort of thing, you begin to get a sense of who you could depend on, and they would be able to tell you and help you through the hard times, really. So, this is something that's really a key factor. It's a core unit. Now, when I say a passion project, that core unit could be the whole crew, because it's a smaller crew, usually it's a lower budget, it's a different thing. But when you're on a bigger picture, that small core is really your life core, your lifeline. I come from a time, too, when there was a lot of experimenting with movie making, where we actually thought, at times-- although, I don't know, I didn't try it-- but that in the 60s, there were experiments in making-- or they're called collective decisions, collective filmmaking. As the director, yo...

Study with Scorsese

Martin Scorsese drew his first storyboard when he was eight. Today he’s a legendary director whose films—from Mean Streets to The Wolf of Wall Street—have shaped movie history. In his first-ever online class, the Oscar winner teaches his approach to filmmaking, from storytelling to editing to working with actors. He deconstructs films and breaks down his craft, changing how you make—and watch—movies.

Watch, listen, and learn as Martin teaches his first-ever online class.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and supplemental materials.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Martin will also answer select student questions.


Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese Teaches Filmmaking