Being the right-brained artist, I never thought I’d find myself in the logistics and paperwork infested world of producing. Rachel Taylor’s Avarice changed all that for me.
Here are 3 of my rookie mistakes and how you can avoid them:
1. Letting the budget get away from you:
You only have so much money to make a film, and if you run out too soon it’s game over. Keeping track of where every penny is going is essential…and really really hard. Doubly so if you’re working with a bunch of artists.
Looking back, I should have implemented weekly accountability sessions with the department heads, and made reporting expenditures easy through a web-panel or spreadsheet.
2. Assuming others know what they’re talking about:
Yes, yes, yes… Common sense. This ties into what I said about knowing what you’re talking about in my post about The Glass. You can’t afford to waste time, energy or patience when making a film.
I made the mistake of assuming somebody more experienced than myself knew how to shoot on a green screen, when looking back, they themselves had little green screen experience. They talked a big talk, but my assumptions cost us expensive re-shoots.
3. Not being strict about the little things:
I don’t like to be yelled at, especially over trivial things. I’m sure you don’t either. Unfortunately…I’ve got bad news for you would-be producers: prepare to be the bad guy.
A couple of volunteer grips were unloading light stands from a trailer and leaning them against the truck I borrowed from my roommate. I asked them to set the stands elsewhere and they shrugged me off. Not wanting to nag our free help, I let them be. About 10 minutes later I hear SKREEEE-CRASH! The light stands had fallen over, scraping away large swaths of paint from my roommate’s truck. To add insult to injury, our production insurance didn’t cover damage to vehicles. A costly set of mistakes indeed.
In the end I’m fortunate to have made these mistakes early on and on a small film. Had the stakes been higher, this blog post would have been titled ‘3 Quick Ways to End Your Career!’
Question: What mistakes have you learned from?