Yep, I’m just going to be blunt. No matter how well you plan your movie, fires are still going to pop up. Always. They may not always be huge fires, but they will be fires and you’re going to have to deal with them.
Can’t handle the heat? Stay off set.
I talk about putting out fires in THE PRODUCER BOOTCAMP and, to be honest, it’s never about the fire, but how you handle it. That’s where a lot of producers crumble. The pressure. I’ll be straight with you. There have been times I’ve had to take a moment because the pressure was starting to get to me.
You need to know that about yourself, and just like everything else…handle it. It doesn’t matter if the fire that popped up wasn’t your fault or is another department’s problem. If you’re the producer it’s your responsibility and your problem. Handle it.
Contingency is a must.
I’m not a fan of saying “just take it from contingency”. If there’s another place in the budget I can take the money from, I always prefer that. BUT there are going to be unforeseen expenses (**cough**SAG basic agreement changes**cough**) that cause you to spend money you didn’t plan for. This is where your contingency saves you. Producers never put enough money in contingency. The rule of thumb is 10% of the total budget should be in contingency. I understand this can’t always be the case, so I say between 3%-5%.
Penny wise and pound foolish.
Sometimes it IS a lot better to spend a little more than anticipated for certain tools such as a steadicam or jib because it will allow you to get the shots you need on set so you don’t have to spend as much in post-production. Sometimes it’s even better to spend a little extra money on over time because you need to add a 6th day to your shooting week because if you don’t, you may not make your days. This is why I like to have post-production on board in pre-production so I can determine what I need to spend more on during production that can save me in post or visa-versa.
These are decisions you’ll sometimes have to make DAYS before shooting or while you’re shooting. If you can’t handle it, don’t make a movie. Have any of you guys had to call major audibles on set?