The Crew For “Don’t Be Scared”

Much like many of our productions, “Don’t Be Scared” works with a very minimal crew. While yes one reason for this is we are a low budget production company, it also is because simply our films don’t call for gigantic crews.

I for one have been on a few large crew shoots, and one thing that I come away from those shoots is that there are way too many people. You will have an army of camera people, three assistant directors, at least five production assistants, a couple of sound guys and an absurd amount of producers, not to mention a completely unnecessary amount of craft services personnel. A lot of times producers feel this is how it has to be in order to get things done.

WRONG!!!! A crew like that, unless you’re doing a big budget thing, will only slow the process down. Filmmaking to me is all about efficiency and being able to get the best possible product in a team that truly gels together. Having a crew where half the amount of people are just sitting around doing nothing is stupid. In fact, I’ve been on some shoots where this actually hinders the production. There’s less space and the “not doing anything” mentality can sometime spread.

With Clerestory Productions we make sure everyone has a role and it’s not uncommon for some to have multiple roles such as yours truly. Usually on our films I serve as writer/producer/director and depending on how things are going, I may take on the role of assistant director and make sure we are on time. I’ve found through the years though that taking on the responsibility of AD in addition to director is a terrible idea as I get more concerned with efficiency and not enough with creativity. This is why “The Proposal Complex” was so successful because once we were on set I was director and director only.

Enough about me though, it’s time I introduce my crew for “Don’t Be Scared.” Some of these names I have mentioned and some will be new.


From l-r Jeremy Paney (assistant camera) and his brother Josh Paney (director of photography)
Jeremy Paney (assistant camera) and his brother Josh Paney (director of photography)


Now, I have talked here and there about Josh in the past, but I’ll make it more clear. The bottom line is that none of this would happen most likely (or as efficiently at least) if it wasn’t for Josh. He truly knows his stuff behind the camera and if there is anything having to do with lighting or technology, he is the go to person. In fact, that’s part of why we work so well together, because I’m more of the story creator/tweaker as well as head producer while Josh is the technical guy. This is not to say that Josh isn’t creative; in fact, he is very creative especially when it comes to us coming up with a shot list, but I’ll be honest in that these productions wouldn’t look nearly as good without him. He also is my equal in terms of the Clerestory Productions brand by collaborating on what projects to do; not to mention, he is the webmaster for

Josh’s brother Jeremy is also an incredible asset. For someone who doesn’t have formal training in film, he is phenomenal. For the most part, Jeremy serves as Josh’s right hand man on set. Just like Josh, he knows his way around a camera and is quite knowledgeable in terms of lighting. In addition, he has an incredible eye for detail. Our first production “Tick, Tock, Toe”  he served as our script supervisor keeping careful attention to continuity especially on the now infamous clock. Needless to say without Jeremy we wouldn’t be nearly as efficient as we are.


JD Scruggs
JD Scruggs (Gaffer/Key Grip)


JD has worked with Clerestory Productions since this past spring as he helped us with many equipment and location woes. That is not where it ends for JD though. To say he is a jack-of-all-trades is an understatement. On set usually he helps with providing equipment, making equipment and knows his way around a set. When Josh needs help or a new idea in terms of lighting, JD is there to save the day. Not just that but JD also is a solid screenwriter/producer with a plethora of experience and can probably work any position on set.


Samantha Segura
Samantha Segura (Writer/Producer)


Much like Josh, I have known Sam for ten years. We’ve been on some great productions and some incredibly stressful ones. This film is a bit of a change for Sam though. While she usually is our assistant director, she is the sole writer on “Don’t Be Scared.” On set, Sam will be producer and serve more of an adviser role by making sure her vision is coming to life.


Matt Mickelsen
Matt Mickelsen (Audio Sound/Composer)


Matt Mickelsen is our audio aficionado. I’ve known Matt for about four years probably, and initially I came to work with him because he is an incredible musician, thus he is our sole composer. However, on a shoot we did for Fox River Films called “Orbit Control” we needed an extra person to handle audio sound and Matt stepped up to the plate, and ever since he has been our on set sound person.


Chris Ramirez
Chris Ramirez (Assistant Director)


This will the first time Chris will be on a Clerstory Productions set. I met him a couple of months ago and we exchanged contact information. Because I knew I would need some new crew for “Don’t Be Scared” I asked if he’d be willing to be a PA and he was on board. Over the last couple of weeks though, Chris got promoted to assistant director. We initially had a different AD on board, but due to a conflicting schedule he was not able to do the shoot. Knowing that Chris has a good amount of experience, even directing his own recent film “Only Thunder” which has made its entry into several film festivals, I knew he was the right one for the gig.

We also will have two PAs on set. The first is Matthew Pniewski or “Pniewski.” I’ve known Matt for about five years in passing, but it hasn’t been until recently I’ve gotten to know him a little better. One thing I do know about Matt is he’s incredibly passionate about film, and I definitely look forward to working with him on set.

Lastly, we have Chris O’Malley as our second PA. I don’t know too much about Chris; other than he’s looking to help out on more shoots. I definitely look forward to working with him this weekend though.

Well that’s it for our crew. I probably don’t say it enough how much I appreciate all of my crew, but I am truly blessed with a talented group of people. Now if only it could be Friday already…

– Simon Mounsey, Producer/Director for “Don’t Be Scared”

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