Local Crew: Heaven or hell?
Our World | On 24, May 2011
I am often asked ‘will you be using local crew for our event?’ when operating outside of the UK.
Whilst the use of local crew has its advantages, namely cost savings and local knowledge, this option also comes with risks, and the question is are they worth it?
It takes years for agencies to build relationships with suppliers, and once they obtain a position of an acclaimed ‘preferred supplier’ we have most probably spent many weeks, in far flown corners of the world, working horrendous hours and overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles, all making for a rapport which runs much deeper than the average supplier–client relationship.
But does this ‘special relationship’ benefit anyone other than the agency? Well, frankly, yes. Benefits of the union far exceed merely a good working atmosphere, they overcome language barriers, ensure a consist service level (something far too often taken for granted) and offer bulk discounts, accumulated across the agencies entire portfolio.
Local crew, on the other hand, come without the associated accommodation and travel expenses, and in theory, should know their kit and the venue inside out.
However, cost savings made in the incidentals, are, in my experience, often outweighed by costs incurred by different working practices. For example, what my preferred supplier and I believe to be ample crewing, because of our client understanding, is often regarded as ‘too light’ and additional crew are insisted upon.
In addition, I am yet to work in a country which has the same risk assessment standards, and therefore, we are obliged to create appropriate documentation to maintain our service levels.
In summary having a team you trust and can rely upon is vital onsite. Remember onsite is a pressured environment in which you need to be able to focus your efforts as an individual and as a combined team. Team dynamic is regularly overlooked, yet is vital to a successful event. So next time you put a team together for an event, think long and hard about who makes up that team…next time I’ll give you my five point plan to getting the best out of local crew.