Date published:

February 8, 2021

5 Tips for Hiring a Boston Film Set Construction Company

Designing a film set, and then constructing it so that an entire cast and crew can safely interact on the set requires a lot of engineering and understanding of architecture and essential construction skills. You can’t just hire anyone to build a movie set! Whether it’s something as basic as a bedroom and bathroom setup on a soundstage, or as elaborate as a sinking ship that sits in a mega-tank of water, this isn’t your typical construction job. Hiring a Boston film set construction company that employs skilled craftsmen that understand the engineering of a film set as well as the visual importance of perfection can be tough.

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What’s insane and equally amazing about film set construction is how the set is both functional and fictional. While most of the doors, windows, or stairways on a set “function” as in they are there and they open and close or lead up or down, they’re fictional in that — they go nowhere.

It takes a real artist to construct a film set that provides functionality for the crew and looks great on screen without going above and beyond what’s necessary. 

Let’s find out what it takes to hire a Boston film set construction company that’s got what it takes to build a film set that looks great, works better, and is 100% functional for the crew, even if it’s entirely  useless to anyone else!

1. Seek a Production Designer with Strong Communication Skills

Hiring a Boston film set construction company is all about finding the right people for the job. The production designer is important. This is who will be responsible for establishing the overall appearance of the set.

They’ve got to be able to review the script and define construction costs that remain within budget for the production and which maximize use of the production dollars.

Excellent communication is important because they’ll communicate with those responsible for construction, prop building, and design and they’ll also communicate with the Director.

2. Seek a Contractor with Engineering Background

The best film set construction company is typically run by a licensed contractor that has a strong background in engineering.

These individuals have to understand all the ins and outs of set construction and they’ve got to be able to essentially oversee various levels of construction including framing and finishing, all levels of skilled work, and various other roles. 

3. Ability to Scale & Recreate is Essential

A Boston film set construction company must have the ability to scale and recreate a desired scene or look without running up a huge budget in the process.

Lower budget films often find the desired set in an existing location to save money, but this isn’t always possible for large scale productions that will require months of filming. (good luck finding a restaurant owner that will let you use their property to film for 6 months!) 

Learning how to scale down and build a set that is minimally sized, but large enough to support the cast and crew required for the production is essential.

When budget is of little concern, constructing soundstages and sets that are exactly as the script intended is certainly an option – but it will definitely add to the total costs.

4. Prioritizing Safety is Essential

Do NOT risk your crew by hiring a Boston film set construction company that does not make safety an essential priority. It’s just not worth the small amount of money that might be saved!

Hire a film set builder that will utilize the appropriate materials for safe and strong craftsmanship to ensure the foundation is strong and your film crew will be safe. Preventing accidents on the set is essential!

5. Check for Essential Skills

Hiring a Boston film set construction company is essential to your production, but only if you hire a crew with the appropriate skills required for what you need.

While most set builders will have construction knowledge and essential understanding of foundations, there are a variety of skills that will be required in order to professionally complete a set build. Check for the following:

  • Understanding of platforms and decking.
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  • Understanding of risers and ability to to adjust foundations.
  •  
  • A full-service crew that includes professionals in carpentry, paint, flooring, and design.
  •  
  • Use of foam and other specialty products to build creative sets that are low-cost and easy to move around.
  •  
  • Construction drawing skills and engineering.
  •  
  • Fabrication skills with background in wood, foam, plastic, and metal works.
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