An effective pre-production process is highly undervalued and underutilized in the independent filmmaking world. Not making your day is, to me, a completely inappropriate event to occur on set unless an out-of-the-blue and completely uncontrollable rain storm happened while shooting your exteriors or a key member got into a car accident. Yes, there are plenty of other freak occurrence that could make it difficult to make your day. These issues do not happen often and are good reasons for why someone would not make their day.
However, the majority of reasons why people don’t make their days are due to lack of preparation. Below are a list of common issues that arise on set that could easily have been avoided with adequate prep.
1. Director didn’t make a shot list
2. Producer did not permit a location
3. The location had never been appropriately scouted before shooting, and, upon discovery, is no longer useful to the shoot.
4. Department heads were not met with by director/producer before shooting and, therefore, did not order the right gear for the shots.
5. Not enough crew was hired for the types of shots the director is looking to achieve in a day.
6. An actor gets hurt performing an unplanned stunt (defined as anything other than a walk) that the director and producer did not discuss beforehand.
7. Lights are not able to be used on location because generators were not rented since the producer assumed they could use house power.
8. Reshoots. (Not all reshoots are a result of poor-prep during principal photography, but most of the time it is.)
9. Travel time between locations was not tested during the hours of the company move, which happens to be during prime-traffic.
10. Wrap time was not accounted for in the scheduling of the 12 hours allotted for a location.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.