FAQs

Answers to your questions

1. What’s Big Couch all about?

We have three missions at the core:

Create trust through transparency

After conducting a series of surveys within the freelancers’ community, we gathered that trust is one of the key elements when it comes to connecting people in the film and media industry. This is why trust is on top of our every list, including this one. We’ve set up a strong vetting process, due-diligence measures, collaborations with the most respectable film organizations and a secure legal framework tailored by leading specialty firms (Lewis Silkin; CAM Fintage and Compact). By doing so, we are weaving a level of trust between the Big Couch members, whether they are crews, producers, recruiters or other industry peers.

Facilitate crew recruitment in film and media

60-80% of the UK creative media recruitment is based on word of mouth (Creative Skillset, 2015). In such a thriving industry, we believe that we can do this in a better way. By having job opportunities available to the entire workforce in a fairer, more transparent manner, while having a better comprehensive database of vetted crew from all over the UK. For crews, signing up is free, always. Profiles are easy to create and include only minimal, relevant information. Big Couch crew members also get to choose their Dream Teams: people they already love to work with. For recruiters working on media projects, we find suitable candidates and their supporting team through our unique 'real-time' matching algorithm.

Empower producers to get their projects off the ground

At Big Couch, we are determined to energise the independent film market. Facing the reality of shrinking budgets and the filmmakers hurdle to raise investment for their films, Big Couch brings forth the concept of Crewfunding. We help producers optimise budgets by saving upfront costs, bringing the break-even point forward and making the film package more attractive to investors.

Crews agree to lower rates that never go below National Minimum Wage in return for legally-binding packages of profit points and deferred payments. Producers optimize their upfront production costs and the crews become invested in the films they work on – like this, everyone shares both the risks and the profits. We aim to standardize this process and take away the legal hassle, ensuring an unbiased collaboration between crews and producers. The crews become ambassadors of the film and endorse the projects they believe in.

2. How is big couch different from other recruitment platforms?

Simply put, we’re the first comprehensive database of crews from all over the UK. We connect UK crews and showcase them to any film and media industry recruiter working on high-quality projects with Big Couch.

We have implemented a vetting process and we verify the credentials of new members before their profiles go live.

As opposed to our competitors, we offer a free service to the crews.

Our profiles are easy to create and even easier to maintain. We only focus on relevant information to make the process super smooth and time efficient. With our Dream Team feature an employer can recruit the suitable candidate and also consider those they’ve recommended for a good workflow on set. We pair up producers and crews in no more than 30 minutes!

We help producers optimise their budgets through our concept of Crewfunding.

We take away the legal hassle for backend contracts, putting in place a transparent, unbiased legal framework tailored for Big Couch by the leading law firm in the film industry Lewis Silkin

3. What is the vetting process for crew?

A minimum of 18 months experience in the industry on a specific Job Role

CV

3 best credits

IMDB link

Connections with and referrals from other Big Couch members

4. How does big couch select projects to recruit on reduced rates?

Before we select a project to showcase on Big Couch, we ask producers to fill out an application that helps us get a better understanding of the project and the team behind it. The application includes:

Email verification

Credits and links to previous work from the director and producers

Details of the production company attached to the project

Budget information

Film synopsis/ treatment

Marketing/ Sales & Distribution plans

We also run secondary checks based on additional online research and support from unions and leading film organisations.

5. How does the deferred payment and profit points system work?

Crowdfunding campaigns (such as Spike Lee’s on Kickstarter) revolutionized the way we think of film production and have paved our way at Big Couch. We wish to involve the crew even more in the productions they believe in. This is what we call Crewfunding.

On Big Couch, producers & directors recruit experienced crew, who become invested in the films they work on. Producers optimize their budgets by recruiting crews for reduced rates, that never go below National Minimum Wage. In return, crew members benefit from a secure, transparent package of profit points and deferred payments, negotiated through unbiased contracts. In order to offer a reliable legal framework for the backend contracts, we work with the leading law firm Lewis Silkin. This way, everyone shares the risks and shares the profits. A very important aspect of Crewfunding through Big Couch is that the profit points and the deferred payment package have an anti-dilution clause, which means that they remain attached to the project regardless of the production company that acquires the film. Lastly, we ask that all projects recruiting through Big Couch engage the services of an approved collection agent, in order to administer the disbursement of the crew deferment to the crew members and as well as the crew members’ net profits.

This concept already works! Many productions used this alternative to the traditional way of recruiting and funding, including Frances Ha, The Full Monty, as well as Warp X productions and recent Creative England iFeatures films. Oh, and we forgot the biggest of the bunch: Star Wars.

6. What’s in it for Big Couch?

I know, right? Why did we embark on this complex mission, strewn with legal framework, spreading all over the UK and aiming to disrupt the film industry?

Because we want to make a difference is one official (yet true) answer. But frankly, because we also were in the shoes of producers facing impossible budgets and orphan films. Once we thought about this, we owed it to ourselves to go from “What if?” to “How can we pull this off?”

So one day we simply set up Big Couch. Soon after, UK Trade and Investment joined in and step by step, others came on board too. But let’s get back to numbers.

Big Couch is offering a free service to the the crew members.

On feature film projects, we have a 12% commission recruitment fee on total costs of reduced rates + 1 profit point.

For general recruiters, we charge a general commission of 10%.

We feel that we’re onto something great, which is here to stay. We’re excited to see where it takes us.

7. What is "crewfunding"?

In light of a shared economy, our alternative finance model empowers crews to become invested in the projects they work on. Crews reduce their daily rates between 20-40% and agree in legally binding contracts to receive profit shares and deferred payment. We enable producers to save up to 20% of their budget, bring the break-even point forward, and make the package attractive to investors. On top of that, we take away the legal hassle!

Check out the waterfall to see how the revenues are being distributed.