VII: The Impossible Shoot
Completing a film shoot on time and under budget is an act of sheer will.
I won’t be going into the details of what a shoot entails. However, here’s a list of things to watch out for:
The tighter the schedule, the lesser the time to think.
The more well-planned you are, the more freedom you have to change things while shooting.
A professional and experienced group of people will save a lot of time and make lesser mistakes.
A crew that knows what’s going on will deliver better than one that is at the mercy of the director’s whims.
Actors don’t need to know about production stuff.
In a sticky situation, an experienced but average actor will turn out a better performance faster than an inexperienced but talented actor.
If you have appointed people for designated jobs, give them the responsibility and trust them to deliver. Don’t micro-manage.
Ensure everyone is well-fed and has adequate rest between shifts.
Find the time for a pre and post shoot team meeting to ensure everyone’s on the same page. Keep actors away from these meetings.
Meet each actor personally and sort out their issues. They need to be able to trust you, and you must earn that trust.
Be on time. There’s nothing worse than the producer-director being late or lazy.
Always be positive. When the shit hits the fan, the first person everyone’s going to turn to is the director. Be a leader.
Don’t let the negativity of certain members affect you. Deal with these issues early, and nip them in the bud.
Don’t be afraid to fire people to set an example. Unprofessional-ism should not be tolerated. Ever.
Treat everyone with equal respect. Spot boys, lightmen or actor. They are professionals, not servants.
Allow others the freedom to come up with new ideas. Try them out if time permits. It might be better than what you had in mind.
Don’t be late in your payments. For some people this is a way of doing business. Be the person who stands out.
Music on set is a good thing.
Humor on set is a fantastic tool. Let it flow.
Keep your word and get the job done.
I’m sure I’ve missed out on many ideas. But following the above will result in a fun and productive experience – guaranteed.