Embrace being “slashie”

Jul 26, 2022

In Lean Filmmaking, we do all the work of making a film in squads. 

Squads are self-organising, non-hierarchical and cross-functional teams of three to nine people that have the skills required to make a film.

To keep the squad small, it helps to be a slashie!

A slashie is a multi-passionate creative with several skills, e.g. writer/producer/marketer, writer/director/actor or cinematographer/editor/producer. 

All members of the squad need experience in their specific area of expertise, but it’s also useful to have general knowledge about all aspects of filmmaking. 

It’s best to have a squad of generalists, rather than specialists.

Squad members will probably have diverse work experience outside of the film industry that could also assist with the project, e.g. financial planning, graphic design or legal knowledge. Along the way you may discover people’s (often untapped) skills in unexpected areas that can be put to good use as well.

The essential core skills for a squad include:

  • Producing
  • Writing
  • Directing
  • Acting
  • Shooting
  • Editing
  • Marketing
  • (And Lean Filmmaking Coaching!)

Obviously there are many other skills normally required to produce a film, like set design, hair and makeup, prop-making, stunt coordination, location management, continuity, music composition, colour grading – the list goes on...and on...and on.

But Lean Filmmaking starts with the most basic lo-fi version of the film, gradually adding elements in Make-Show-Adjust Cycles, after validating with fans to verify that they’re important. The squad can add new team members with specialist skills in later MSA Cycles if needed.

In the early MSA Cycles, everyone has to chip in. The actors might do their own makeup, the cinematographer also does sound recording, the director can organise locations. 

This allows the work of making a film to remain fast-paced, fluid and agile.

In Lean Filmmaking, everyone in the squad is involved for the whole process. They work together end-to-end, through development, pre-production, production, post-production and distribution. All of this work is done in MSA Cycles, rather than in a linear process.

Just because the squad is cross-functional, doesn’t mean that roles don’t exist. 

It’s up to the squad how to decide whose skills are best suited for what role and how the work is allocated, allowing for a high degree of flexibility. The roles can also be adapted over time as the squad learns more about their workflow through MSA Cycles.

A squad full of slashie's is also an awesome way to learn about different areas of filmmaking and get an insight into everyone’s creative process.

So remember, when forming your squad...focus on recruiting for skills, not roles. Embrace being a slashie!


The Art of Lean Filmmaking, book and course available now. Start making an indie feature sooner than you ever thought possible.


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