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How many people work on a Hollywood film?

film crew

film crew (Photo credit: zoetnet)

From Stephen Follows Blog:  Last week I ran a course in Malaysia for the Met Film School and the Malaysian Government. Malaysia is set to be a popular destination for Hollywood projects, thanks mostly to the 30% tax break and the brand new Pinewood Studio complex. The studio is not officially open yet but already ‘Marco Polo’ has set up shop and is hiring. The Malaysian government is funding courses to prepare locals for work on huge Hollywood productions and my course last week was for would-be Production Assistants.

In order to give the students a sense of the scale of these productions I asked them to guess how many people worked on the movie ‘Avatar’. Guesses ranged from a few hundred up to a thousand. The actual figure (according to IMDb) is 2,984.

This got me thinking about what the number of crew members could tell us about a production. There are few caveats to this approach which I’ve laid out at the bottom of this article, but nonetheless it’s quite a revealing process. I took the 50 highest grossing films of each of the past 20 years (giving me 1,000 films to study) and looked at the number of people credited on IMDb. In summary…

  • Iron Man 3 credits 3,310 crew members
  • The average number of crew credits in the top 1,000 films between 1994 and 2013 was 588.
  • Over half of the top films had under 500 people in their crew
  • On average the top films of the past two decades have each had 3.5 writers, 7 producers, 55 people in the art department, 32 in sound, 55 in camera / electrical and 156 in visual effects.
  • The Butler had 39 producers – 5 producers, 17 executive producers, 6 co-executive producers, 4 co-producers and 7 associate producers
  • A third of the workers on Love Actually were in the art department
  • Crew credits suggest that Peter Jackson favours special effects over visual effects more than the industry average.
  • Now You See Me has six times the average number of people in the camera department
  • 23% of the people who worked on ‘Pokemon: The First Movie’ were in the music department

Read the rest at Stephen Follows Blog

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Winter Film Awards (WFA) is a volunteer-run and operated celebration of the diversity of local and international film-making. Our Mission is to recognize excellence in cinema and to promote learning and artistic expression for people at all stages of their artistic careers with a focus on nurturing emerging filmmakers and helping them gain recognition and contacts to break into this difficult industry. We pride ourselves on our diverse collection of Festival selections, allowing our audience to enjoy films they normally wouldn’t think to seek out. WFA is a minority- and women-owned registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Posted on March 18, 2014, in General Information and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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