One of the questions I get asked most often is, “How do you pick your crew?” In general my response is, “Very carefully.” In all honesty, being in an area full of such amazingly talented people, sometimes crewing can be difficult. Dawnrunner maintains a core crew that is relatively small, but we contract out for almost every job we do. It gives us an incredible opportunity to “audition” quite a wide range of potential employees. The key indicators for me as a business owner are pretty easily identified: Dedication, Self-Motivating, and an undying urge to fight against unyielding odds until victory is achieved.
…As a Director, things get a little bit more, interesting!
Collectively, the Dawnrunner Crew love the show ‘Firefly.’ So it’s not surprising to some that we have named all of our cameras after characters from the show, starting with “Saffron” our RED One, followed by “Miranda” (which is more of a code word than an actual character I guess), and finally “River” the RED Epic, which like it’s namesake – packs a major punch. That idea has inevitably bled over into some of our core staff. We have found inexplicably that the crew who stick around the longest are those that fit into these wonderful characters from the show. I should say, that not all core Dawnrunner crew are listed here, as I’m mainly covering the main characters in this thread and not branching into the secondary cast.
I have the distinguished honor of being Dawnrunner’s version of Captain Malcolm Reynolds. I’d like to delude myself into believing it’s for my dashing good looks and quick wit, but if I wrote that as truth the rest of my crew’s blog posts would be all about how I’m a liar. So I’ll refrain. A crew member told me it was, “You’re fiesty, charismatic and you’ll do anything for your crew. You make the perfect Mal!” While another one told me, “It’s cause you’re the old man on the crew.” *cough* I will admit that I find myself approaching Mal’s fanatic “do it or die trying (hopefully just the do it part)” methods. I’ve also probably been beat up, shot, stabbed, broken, poked, prodded, suffocated, threatened with dismemberment – at least as much as the good Captain.
The pilot of the Dawnrunner Ship, or the “Wash” character, would hands-down be Geoff Peck. Yes, he plays with dinosaur action figures as well. More than anyone else on the crew if there was anyone who could pull off a “Crazy Ivan” it would be Geoff. He’s not always on the same page as the rest of the crew/cast, much like his would-be-character, but he never disappoints when it comes to technology and equipment. The main reason why the crew associates Geoff with Wash is his love for the tech. The sliding-around-at-the-controls-totally-at-home presence that Geoff projects when in his element – which is typically at a VFX station that looks surprisingly ship like. Hmmm….
Next up would be Kaylee, ships mechanic. I personally think this one is my favorite comparison. Christie Call would be our Kaylee. Kaylee in the show is a fun, loyal and tom-boyish type character. She has no problem hanging out with the rougher elements, all while maintaining the strong sense of “girl” through an almost secret love of romance, dresses, etc. She’s charismatic in her own way, and SUPER FUN to be around. Quite honestly she’s one of my favorite characters in the film. She’s also amazing technically speaking – and no one can argue the fact that Christie is amazingly talented at everything she does for Dawnrunner. Whether it’s Acting, Gaffing, Editing, or Promoting – she does it with style and grace that only she can pull off. Did I mention you’ll have an absolute riot working alongside her too? She has the best sense of humor!
Simon would have to be our DP/1st AC Elias Woo. He’s calm, precise and Mal/I love to harass him. The way Simon approaches his patients and his surgical equipment, so to does Elias approach the camera and the setups. He also tends to bump heads with Mal a lot, not that Elias and I do, but I can say we’re at cross purposes often, ie: “We need to move! We’re loosing the light!” “Forget the light, the performance is great – punch in!”
Inara wound have to be Fiona Herse Woo. She’s delicate, politic, and precise. Everything is well thought out, well organized and her philosophy is so.. Zen. Which makes for all kinds of fun interaction with Mal – whom drives her absolutely crazy. Either person could be the Captain of the Serenity – and do a great job at it – but the feel on the ship would be completely different!! Finoa is also our liaison for most projects, handling interactions and scheduling for the project as a whole. She’s also incredibly artistically talented, drawing, painting, singing, you name it – Fiona can do it, and stop the set with how well. Wrap up all this talent and personality and you’ve got yourself a winning combination.
Jayne! What’s ‘Firefly” without the weapons lover/expert?! There was some debate on this character among the crew – Geoff was a close 2nd for this one, but in the end it was Andrew Bower who was left holding the Rocket Launcher and grenades. Our Art Director, affectionately nicknamed Andrew “Hacksaw” Bower won the role of Jayne through his love of props, yes, including guns. During every Art Department meeting it was all business until we began discussing weapons, of any sort. Then, Andrew’s eyes light up and he gets very invested in the conversation. Pulse Rifles, RPGs, Smart Guns, Swords, Knives, nukes or sharp sticks – doesn’t matter – he’ll draw it, build it, and love it.
Last but certainly not least, Shepherd Book. As the staff writer, and very patient Assistant Director for a lot of shoots, Dan Bower gets to be the good man. Always as patient as possible, and when it comes down to unleashing a can – he can do that too! Whether on Mal or some random person causing issues, Dan always knows how to handle someone to make sure the set runs smooth as silk. Since he’s a writer, and Book is very much rooted in words, both spoken and written – it’s a solid fit.
As mentioned above, there are more crew members that equate to cast members, but we’ll stop it here. I hope you’ve enjoyed not only a bit on my philosophy for hiring and/or working with new crew, but a sneak peek behind the curtain at the inner workings of Dawnrunner as a crew.