As a commercial producer, it’s easy to make mistakes on your production when your forget to manage two elements; the possible fires and the professionalism of your crew. When a crew member is unprofessional, the poison becomes a domino effect. The most effective way you can manage the professionalism on set isn’t in how well you can play moderator or politician, but in how selective you are with your key crew members. It’s much easier to command a team of Captains rather than a whole army. So choosing Key players based on personality (and experience of course) may have a positive effect on the overall chemistry of the production crew.
For a short, small production like a commercial, you need to avoid as many minuscule obstacles, like egos and attitudes, as possible, since the most of your attention will be catering to the Agency representatives and clients that will be one set. If you need to put out a real fire, like dealing with permits, talent delays or location issues, the client will understand and respect you. However, if you are pulled away because your DP and your Key Grip are arguing on set, you will be guilty by association and frowned upon, having to excuse the “artists”.
So in a small way, you are playing match-maker, finding not who’s necessarily the best person for the job, but the best person for the production. The first key roll I lean on is my Production Manager. Once he or she is in place, I work with them on the selection of the Key Crew. A good PM will have a stable of key personnel that they have worked with in the past or comes from a strong referral. The more “like-minded” crew members the better!
Keep in mind, there IS money involved, so be professional, but always remember to enjoy the shoot…and your production will go much smoother!