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Everyone has made a huge mistake on set. Sometime we don't even know we are making them until it is too late. What are some of your hard learned lessons, on and off the set?
I'll start with two of my biggest.
"The director kept canceling shooting days at the last minute and would waste a lot of time on set just bullshitting with the cast."
Recipe for disaster.
Yea, he is no longer with us. After we wrapped filming the three of us sat down to discuss how we could be better. He realized that everything we were saying was directly his fault, got his feelings hurt and left.
We call these sort of things "strategic differences" in entertainment. :)
Things I live by...
I never introduce unknown elements into my productions, I never work with anyone that I don't know and I am god on set.
I've shadowed a lot of sets and the worst by far is watching the director/producer flirting with girls/lead actress on set. When you cross that line you kill the production. Wait until you "wrap" before asking people out. :)
That's a good one too. I can't stand when I see flirting on set.
Have a script supervisor...We filmed an entire scene on a western and after finishing realized the hero had left the scene without ever picking up the most important prop of the film...
In 2007 I was in the process of shooting a feature western film. I had written the first draft and a I gave a really great writer I knew the opportunity to help me write the final draft. He was also acting in the film. Everything was going well until I started noticing that he was making the script about his character. RED FLAGS.
Talked with him and got it back on course. Filmed 4 days to get a good start on the production, but had to take a two week break so we call could work and come back with a week off to finish filming.
During this time I had stunt men, catering, and a trained pyrotechnic set to come out that weekend to film. 3 days before filming began, the writer contacts me and says he has added a new scene. In this scene his character kills 15 people. There was no way I could get that many extras out to the middle of nowhere last minute. I was able to round up 5 people, so I condensed and got the scene to work. Talked to him about it and said are we alright? If theres a problem, lets take care of it now. I don't want or need to deal with it on set. After talking for sometime, everything seemed kosher.
I went down to my hometown two days before filming to prep and go to my wifes family reunion. The rest of the crew was going to pick me up on their way through. Time past and nobody called me. I tried calling and nobody picked up. I figured maybe they had forgot to pick me up and got out to set, where cell phone signal was pretty scarce. I drove out there with my dad who was hauling out set pieces that he created for me. We arrived out on set and nobody was there. Just then I got a phone call from one of my actors saying that the writer and main actress had come by and asked if he wanted to go out and have a beer with them. The writer had gotten mad for what I had done to make the scene work, called the actress, turned her against me, and tried to get the other actor to do the same and skipped out on shooting.
I had to shut down production and took the rest of my week off to try and recover from the situation. The scar from that production is still with me.
To this day I am very picky about who I work with and run over people's resumes with a fine toothed comb. Which is what I should've been doing back then, but at that time, I was still in college and learning about production. That film there, was probably the hardest and best lesson I have ever learned. It molded me into who I am now as a filmmaker.
"In this scene his character kills 15 people."
Sorry Jason... had to laugh at this. :)
Lol. No worries Rich. It is quite humorous. At the time it was more ridiculous. :)
Killing 15 people is easy to write and reads well on paper. Shooting and editing him killing 15 people is a different ball game. The indie creator always lets his imagination go wild on paper until its time to actually produce what you wrote. Folks... unless you have a studio picture, suppress your "creative imaginations" and write what you can actually produce.
That would be another lesson I learned the hard way haha. Now when I write the first draft of a script I let my creative imagination run wild, then when I come back and make the second draft I figure your what we can realistically produce. I think that helps me.