Picture this! A new filmmaker begins their very first film production. He’s already living in the corner of someone’s kitchen, trying to scrape together a few bucks to eat while also working towards a career making movies. So when he lands a gig working on set as a production assistant, he’s super excited.
But then things go south. The production manager quits within minutes. The shooting schedule falls apart. Actors arrive, wait for hours and never get their call times. The food at craft services runs out. Tempers flare, and screaming matches begin. The film actually gets made, but in the end everyone hates the experience and all the people involved.
Lessons Learned From Film Production
Why am I telling you this? It’s a true story. It happened to me.
Even though nobody was ever in physical danger (because if there is physical danger on any set, you need to run for the hills) the entire film production was poorly managed. It was a terrible experience. And I truly hated every minute. After we wrapped, I honestly fantasized about a career selling life insurance.
Then months later, I got word that the film was accepted to Sundance. What the heck? Somehow in-spite of ourselves, we made a wonderful film. And bigger picture, I also learned that at some point in your career, you’re going to have a really crappy film shoot. But you can hopefully avoid a lot of nonsense by adhering to a few suggestions:
- Communicate with everyone you possibly can throughout the filmmaking process.
- Plan your production so you know what’s happening, who is involved, and what’s needed.
- Expect the unexpected because things will ALWAYS go wrong. Have a plan B and a plan C.
If you can keep these simple tips in mind, you may be able to avoid adding a crappy film production to your experience and instead focus on filmmaking projects that fulfill you.