How To Set Realistic Deadlines In Filmmaking

Picture this! You’re in the flow. Everything is going smoothly with your film project. And then BOOM! It’s not. Life just got in the way. And as a result, you blew yet another self-imposed deadline.

Blowing deadlines in filmmaking can make you feel like crap. But the truth is, sometimes life gets in the way of your goals. And the good news is, you are not alone.

You’ve been there… We all have…

deadlines in filmmaking

How To Set Realistic Deadlines In Filmmaking

Over the last year a lot has happened. I lost a gig, moved across town, started a new gig, got engaged, planned a wedding, got married, went on a honeymoon and came back to a gazillion unfinished items on my task list… I have had to alter my schedule multiple times to accomidate.

While each reason is valid, It does not change the fact that I blew a some rather important self-imposed deadlines. And blowing any deadline feels terrible. Along the way, I learned some lessons about how to set realistic deadlines in life (and get things done!)

If you’re looking to set realistic deadlines in filmmaking, it’s important to give yourself a reasonable timeline. Then break small goals into manageable chunks of time. You will also want to schedule some leeway just in case your projects take longer to complete.

1. Dry Erase Board: I love adding long term goals to my dry erase board. This serves as a constant reminder for tasks that are still pending. I set it up so I can stare at it daily. With this said, I only add ONE major goal per week. Then I break the goal into smaller, daily tasks.


2. Daily planner: Yeah. I know what you’re thinking. Where is your computer? I use that too. But having a daily planer really helps me break down my smaller tasks into half-hour steps. I love the feeling of crossing something off the list. If your budget allows, grab a Molskine Planner.


3.  Half-hour Glass: If you thought my daily planner was old school, wait until you start using a half-hour glass! Using this has helped me break my tasks into half-hour chunks and serves as an animated accountability partner, consistently reminding me the time keeps on ticking…


Even with the best tools, your projects won’t finish on their own. So make sure you take time to keep your self imposed deadlines in filmmaking realistic. And if you blow it today, pick it up tomorrow.

Photo of author

ARTICLE BY Jason Brubaker

If you'd like more tactics like the article you just read, make sure to grab a copy of the filmmaker checklist. You'll get 65 useful steps you can employ to produce your next feature film.
filmmaking stuff emblem


8950 West Olympic Blvd #515

Beverly Hills, CA 90211

310-746-3868 | Contact Us