Working with a Visual Effects Supervisor can be tough if it’s your first time doing it, especially in independent film. You only have one shot to get it right because there isn’t time or money for re-shoots.

I learned a lot of lessons while directing Avarice and working with Visual Effects Supervisor Dan Baker. Here are some great tips for driving your Visual Effects Supervisor to insanity:

1. Using Nondescript Language

Apparently telling someone that you want a scene to look “magical” isn’t concrete enough; my vision of magical doesn’t necessarily match someone else’s.

A better way to direct someone to get the look that you’re going for is to say, “I’d like that object to sparkle more.” Or “Can we make this brighter and take out some of the yellow?”

Those are concrete directions. Otherwise, your Visual Effects Supervisor will throw his hands in the air in frustration and exclaim that he has no idea what you mean. And believe me, that isn’t fun for anyone.

2. Getting Hung Up On One Thing For Too Long

Yes, it’s important to have a perfect looking film. Believe me, I know. However, if you’re an independent filmmaker and hiring someone to do visual effects, there are some things that you’re going to have to just accept at a certain point and move on.

Choose what is most important and put any extra time into that. Don’t get so caught up on small details like the titles and then email/call/text your Visual Effects Supervisor continuously with minute changes to it, thinking “just one more change and it will be perfect!” They don’t seem to like that.

3. Changing Your Mind Too Often

This one is hard because a lot of the time, visual effects is kind of trial and error. You might see one version and make some changes only to find that the new version looks worse than the other one. It happens.

But if you’re doing it over and over again in one sitting, your Visual Effects Supervisor might start huffing and puffing. He might even get up and throw a chair across the room. Luckily, that situation was avoided while working on Avaricebut one must be prepared for all possible cases.

Best not to anger the person who has his back bent over the computer all day working on your film. Be respectful and make up your mind.

*Disclaimer- This blog post was written in fun and does not reflect a bad relationship between myself and the person working on this project with me. Bottom line is that we discovered the best ways to communicate, and that was the most useful lesson in the end.

What mistakes have you made with a Visual Effects Supervisor?

Rachel M Taylor

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Rachel is a writer/director. She loves character driven movies and really good cheese.

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