Friday, August 5, 2016

How to Create On-Set Community Like Suicide Squad

Want to create a real community on set like the director David Ayer and cast raved about on the set of Suicide Squad?  Filming can be a lot of work. When people on set bond, and begin to feel like more of a family, then the experience is a lot more fun for everyone. Yourself included. Frowns become smiles. And smiles mean people might agree to work with you again. Also… smiles are just awesome.

Well... some smiles
I looked into their interviews to see if I can find what the secret was. And I’ve found some tips that have matched my own experience working on films: Particularly my webseries Churchill on EverythingThe first time I realized how much fun you could have filming because of community. (See the video below.)

#1. Pick the Right People.

If you work with great people who work hard and have great personalities, building chemistry is really easy. David Ayer picked for Suicide Squad people like Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Will Smith (Deadshot) and Jai Courtney (Captain Boomberang), great actors everyone loves working with.

The Churchill on Everything team: Me, Nathan Sherrer, Alex Foley, David Wright
 and Jordan Best (not pictured)
I picked Alex Foley for the titular role and other friends of mine, Nathan Sherrer, David Wright and Jordan Best who were the crew to be the crew because they were all real professionals and also just tons of fun to work with. I knew those qualities would make the atmosphere very chill. . 

Of course, just like David Ayer got such a great cast only because they liked his previous work, Alex Foley agreed to this project because he loved how our previous film Kelly vs The Philosophers turned out. So make sure you do good projects that can attract great talent. 

#2. Give it Time 

Jai Courtney put rehearsal time is a reason that such great community was made on the set of Suicide Squad

"It was probably the rehearsal time that we were afforded, I think that meant that there was this period of concentration where we got to trust each other"

With Churchill on Everything, pretty much all of us were already friends. So we had a built in comfort level and chemistry. So the community was easy.

We've all been friends for a little while...

#3. Pick the Right Location.

Margot Robbie points out filming in Canada where none of them knew anybody as a reason for why such great community came out of Suicide Squad.

"[A] lot of people are married with kids and stuff and if we were shooting in their hometown, they would just go home to their significant other, their kids, their life, and their friends that they've known since forever.  But since we are all away from home you stick together even more.

Beside Myself squad left to right: Zeke Ward,
Ashley Morris, Rachel Sheldon, Deryka Tso,
Joseph Holmes, Tianna Halldorson

For Churchill on Everything, we all camped out in the apartment of one of our apartments. Between filming we played video games and had great food. For Stars we road tripped through Brooklyn singing songs in a car and for Beside Myself we all took a train out to New Jersey. Having adventures where it was just us really helped us pull together as a little dorky family. 

#4. Let Your Crew Create Community.

Because Harley Quinn giving you a Tattoo seems
 like such a smart idea. Good thing that 
didn't backfire. Oh wait... 
On Suicide Squad, one big thing cast and crew talk about in building trust and community was how much David Ayers gave them room to have fun and create their characters and their dynamic with each other.

One of the big things I learned on Churchill on Everything was that, as a director, I didn’t have to make everything happen. I picked the talent and picked the location, and gave people direction and space to have fun. And you know what? They made the experience amazing.

Want to create community like director David Ayers on Suicide Squad? Pick the talent, pick the environment, and give people space to be the amazing people they are. You might just create a lifelong squad of your own.

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