There are always a few things that scare me during film production. I’m not talking the “BOO” kind of haunted house spooky scares. It’s more the stuff people say on set, like: “I’m not sure we really got that last scene?” And then I look around and notice our main actor is already out of makeup an on his way home. That is no fun.
Or maybe it’s late in the day (and we are behind schedule) and then our locations manger comes to me, saying: “The owner of this location wants us out now!” Or maybe the weather changes without warning, and the the sound of rain drowns out our audio. While all these things are scary, nothing scares me more than these five words…
The 5 Scariest Words on Any Film
The five scariest words on a film set is: “We’ll fix it in post.”
I’m talking about any issues filmmakers commonly face on set… Maybe you recorded bad audio. Or maybe the boom was in the shot. Or maybe a noisy refrigerator kicks on in the background. And instead of redoing the shot, someone says: “You don’t need to fix it right now. We’ll fix it in post!” This means you’ll wait until the film is in post-production, with the thought that the error can be fixed with VFX or magical audio tweaking.
If you’ve experienced this, you know it can be an expensive lesson. This happened on our feature The Alphabet Killer. There was a scene where Eliza Dushku tries to commit suicide and we needed more blood on the table. In trying to solve this, someone yelled out that the extra blood was a 20 minute drive away. So getting the blood would delay the shoot by almost an hour.
You Can’t Fix It In Post
Since we didn’t have time to get the blood, someone suggested, “We’ll fix it in post.” At the time we all agreed it seemed like a good idea. So we ended up completing the scene without the necessary blood. And that decision ended up costing the film roughly $10,000 in VFX in during post production. Like I said, it was an expensive mistake.
Think about that money that could’ve been saved that we just had that 40 minute round trip to get the blood! So if it’s not yet clear to you, please always avoid the words: “We’ll fix it in post.” Instead do whatever you can to fix any issues while you’re still on set, in front of the camera.
Whenever you make a film, you’re going to encounter lots of challenges. Some you plan for. But many surprises happen when you least expect them. Taking time to solve for each obstacle can actually make your film better. Not only will creative solutions can save you a lot of money, but they could bring something into the story that you never imagined. And if you like this stuff, check out the training offered at Filmmaking Stuff HQ.