If you’ve been in the video business for a while, you know that during shoots, anything can go wrong. You’ve probably experienced it at some point while being a wedding videographer. Maybe the bride’s wedding dress got torn. Or maybe the memory card of your photographer suddenly decided to erase all the photos in the middle of the wedding. Maybe you’ve had several things go wrong during your shoot at one point. It happens to the best of us. However, it must not happen too frequently. And when it does, you have to make sure you’re prepared.
When producing videos for corporate clients, you can’t afford a single misstep. You’re trying to look professional here and one mistake could send your reputation on a nosedive. So, expect the unexpected. How do you do that? By having a back-up plan, of course.
To help you out, we’ve identified a few areas where things could probably go wrong and what you can do about it. These may all sound common knowledge to you but these are things that even some seasoned producers sometimes forget, much to their misfortune. As we’ve said before, mistakes cost money. So it’s really better to be safe than sorry.
Often, much more often than we care for, actually, tardiness becomes an issue on the set. Especially when you’re dealing with quite a number of people, coming in late for a shoot can become a problem. As you can probably guess, tardiness of even just one person can delay the entire shooting and skew the carefully planned schedule for that day. So how to avoid people being late? Well, other than hauling them all to a single location the night before the shoot (which is sometimes ideal and have been done before), the best you can do is to inform them repeatedly of their call time, confirm with them or their agent that they are aware of this call time and then, have back-up people you can call at a moment’s notice if they don’t show up. Let’s say your talent was suddenly taken ill the night before the shoot. It’s been known to happen. A study would do admirably and would save your shoot from being cancelled.
As for your production crew, try to hire people who could do double duty if absolutely necessary. A writer who can also do make-up, for instance, will be your lifesaver in a pinch. However, we must caution you to avoid doing this frequently. This could a) cause your crew to lose focus and not perform well on either job or b) cause exhaustion and burnout.
As if lateness among talents and crew is not enough, your suppliers can also come in late for the shoot. Let’s say for instance, food caterers. To prepare for this unfortunate eventuality, scout the location of the shoot for possible alternatives beforehand. Make sure the prospective suppliers can provide you with items you need that’s within your budget and deliver them on time. If you’re going to feed 30 people, make sure they can do that at a moment’s notice. Better yet, especially if you’re doing an out of town shoot, hire local. Makes sense, right? If you’re not doing an out of town shoot, consider hiring from the vicinity. Also, make sure you have a clause in your contract with the supplier that gets you your down payment back in case of late or non-delivery. After all, you don’t want to pay double for anything.
So, let’s say someone was late. Let’s say the schedule was pushed back a couple of hours. But you have to finish on time. What do you do to get things moving? One director who was shooting a film said this once to a producer: “Give me a time limit for each sequence. Alert me when it’s almost up. That way, I know how to pace myself.” When the schedule’s been compromised, learn to roll with the punches and adapt. Then, inform the others that they need to do that as well. If finishing it on the set time seems impossible, set another time that’s both realistic to the work at hand and acceptable to your budget. If you’ve budgeted carefully you would have some extra to allow for such kinds of things.
(To be continued…)
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