Crewing Alliance Cuts the Guess Work Out Of Choosing a Crew

By Carolyn Braff

For the past 10 years, Steve Paino has been referring clients to the best local crewers across the country. In the last six months, he’s made his own job a whole lot easier. “We constantly get calls from clients who use us in Philadelphia asking who’s the best crewer in Arizona or Milwaukee,” explains Paino, president of Philadelphia-based Total Production Services. “About six months ago I got the idea that in this day and age, we really should have a website that I can refer everyone to.” He has now turned vision into reality with the launch of Crewing Alliance.

Paino made a list of the top crewers he knew in each of the nation’s television markets, put his listing on the web, and the Crewing Alliance was born. A coalition of local mobile television crewers throughout the country, the Crewing Alliance identifies the top local crewer in each market, pointing clients to the most effective way to evaluate thousands of local technicians for hire. But the Alliance is far more than just a list of Paino’s friends.

“I interviewed both clients and freelancers in each market, as well as other crewers in the market and neighboring crewers to ask who the best crewer is,” Paino explains. “They also have to work well with neighboring crewers, because the crewer in Chicago may have to work with the crewer in Milwaukee or Detroit.”

In most cases, Paino found the best crewer to be the one with the highest volume of work, since he has the biggest power base from which too operate. In nearly every case, there was unilateral agreement as to who is the best crewer in each market, which made Paino’s job even easier.

Paino decided to streamline the Alliance by choosing just one crewer per media market – either an individual or a company – but the number of crewers he chose for each State is market-driven. New York, for example, has three crewers, one for the New York City metro area, one for Buffalo/Rochester, and a third for Syracuse/Albany. The listing is searchable by state and company name, as well as geographically on a zoom-able map.

The crewer listed in each market pays a nominal fee to offset the cost of advertising and maintaining the website, but anyone can access the site free of charge.

“So far the response has been really great,” Paino says. “Local crewers are always going to be your best bet because they know the market better than anybody and they have the biggest knowledge of the qualified freelancers in that market. We hope to promote awareness of who the best crewer is in every city. We want people to use the site as a reference tool.”

Paino hopes the Crewing Alliance will eliminate the disappointment that can follow when contracting jobs on a first-come-first-served basis.

“I have seen crewers out there who post a job on a website and the first people to call in get the job,” Paino explains. “If you’re a hungry 21-year-old just looking for a job, you want to do baseball and you’ve never done baseball before, the client’s not going to be too happy. There’s a qualitative component to the crewing business, as well, and it’s making clients happy.”

With his comprehensive list of top crewers for every regional market, Paino hopes to continue making clients happy, one production at a time.