Once you know who is on a typical production crew, the roles they play, and the gear they use to do their jobs, it is time to learn about budgets. What do you need to include in a project budget, so you hire the right crew? In this video, author Amy DeLouise points out potential pitfalls when drafting a budget.
- One of the best ways to avoid going into overtime is, of course, to have leeway in your shoot schedule. Don't pack everything in back-to-back-to-back, because as we discussed, there are always these variables that happen. I don't know if there's like a guy who always follows me around and is always drilling behind the wall where I'm supposed to interview someone. I swear he just follows me around the world. So, there's just things that are variables that you can't control, so leave a little looseness in your schedule. One of the things that takes up a lot of time, is moving locations. It's really one of the most time-consuming items on any shoot schedule. And it's hard for people to imagine, it seems like we should just be able to pack up all the gear and run down the hall, but it doesn't always work that way and that quickly. So, even if you're just moving down the hall, there will need to be some time built into your schedule, more than you think, to pickup and get that gear into position. There are always unforeseen events, especially when working with non-actors. One shoot I had a woman who showed up with all black suits, even though we'd asked her to bring colors, and she'd forgot they were all at the dry cleaners so we had to send somebody to go pick them up and bring them back to the shoot. So, you never quite know what might happen. With actors you can usually count on them to show up exactly as scheduled and usually well in advance, which is nice. With real people, though, they have jobs, and lives, and are often unaware of how carefully timed a shoot may be. I once had an interview subject, a CEO, decided the last minute to attend a business breakfast prior to his interviews, so he showed up two hours late. So we did what we could to cover some other shots during this time, but that involved moving locations, moving gear, we didn't know exactly when he would show up and we didn't want to lose all of our lighting for that location. So ultimately we had to run an hour into overtime to compensate. So, these things do happen. If you do think a shoot might run long, it's always ideal to negotiate your overtime rate up front. Sometimes crews are willing to negotiate a flat rate if they feel confident you're not going to keep them beyond that agreed upon time. Another trick that I use is staggering meals. That can help keep a crew on schedule and keep you on budget when you're working, especially with larger teams. So, one group could go on a meal break while the other one is starting setup for the next scene, and then you break those people and they go on a meal break while the first group is now setting up their equipment. One of the tips for having more flexible shoots, is having some more portable battery-operated lighting, and there are many smaller lights now where we can fit a battery on the back. So, ask your team is that something that they have because that can help us, we're not plugging and unplugging and dealing with all that electricity issue, and it can help us move a little more quickly. Another issue is understanding the sound needs in advance. Making sure you have a good handle on how many people will need to be mic'd in a particular scene so that you're sound person's ready to go with those mics. Don't rely on house sound for live events, by the way. A lot of times we have crews tapping into a board, is what's it's called, where there's a big sound board, and that's great for backup but I always like to put a microphone, just like the one I'm wearing, on the person who's speaking. If that's my key person and they're part of a bigger story, I definitely want to be able to get the sound and make sure it's the top quality sound. A second camera can actually help you with your budget. I know, it sounds crazy! I'm adding something, but it actually saves time in the edit room and on location. For example, that second camera can get a second angle on an interview where maybe you have somebody who's elderly, or sick, and maybe not, you don't want to make them repeat themselves too much. You get that second angle, you can make intercuts and it makes it go a lot more smoothly in your edit, without having to be on set recording over and over again. Also, that second camera can go off and get some background footage while you're shooting some primary footage somewhere else. So again, it can be a real time-saver and keep you out of overtime. Finally, I love adding a grip or a PA whenever I can. PA means production assistant. Those people are so incredibly helpful, because sometimes we just need someone to go re-park the cars because the meters are running, or go grab lunch, or do something for us that really is going to keep us on schedule and out of overtime. So, all of those things are ways you can keep your budget on track.
- Choosing your team
- Choosing your equipment
- Getting everyone on the same page
- Preparing for your shoot
- Managing your shoot
- Key elements on your shoot that will affect your edit