Stop Making These Unacceptable Mistakes in Production

Over the years, my work as a writer, producer, and actor has exposed me to some terrifying situations. The rising popularity of shorts, web series, and independent features makes it an ideal moment to brush up on the fundamentals of filmmaking, whether you’re behind the camera or in front of it.


Lack of communication is one of my biggest pet peeves. Respond to emails, voicemails, and texts within a fair amount of time if someone contacts you through these methods. It’s fine to decline participation in a task in which you have no interest. This allows them to move on to other potential suitors.

There is nothing more terrifying to a film producer than a missing member of the cast or crew. If you are going to be late, sick, or have a family emergency, please let production know as soon as possible so that they can make the necessary adjustments.

For instance, if you anticipate being late because of traffic, try to give your production contact as much advance notice as possible. You should also let them know when you plan to arrive. They could potentially switch out a handful of sequences to keep production on track. As long as it isn’t a pattern, we can accept the occasional hiccup.

A crucial member of the crew on one of the film sets I worked on got lost and couldn’t locate the location. It took two hours before production could begin. They said they were truly sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again. They were late again the following day at the same shooting site. On any set, time is of the essence. Relationships are everything in our industry, and your professional demeanour can make or break your success.

Not Planning for Unexpected Costs in Your Budget

Unanticipated expenses can and will develop throughout production despite careful planning. Equipment malfunctions, bad weather, and the need to reschedule or alter a scene’s script are all potential causes for postponement. These costs might rapidly become a nightmare if you haven’t planned for them in your budget. Ten to twenty percent of your budget should be allocated to unexpected costs. This ensures that you don’t run out of money midway through the project, which could be the difference between finishing it and having to abandon it.

Failure to Provide Detailed Instructions

A film’s production would be doomed without effective communication. Confusion, misunderstandings, and even disputes can arise when expectations are not laid out for everyone involved, from the actors and crew to the producers and investors. Everyone involved in the project must have a clear understanding of the timeline, their tasks, the project’s overall goals, and what constitutes a successful outcome. This not only improves production efficiency but also helps everyone on the team feel like they’re working towards the same goal.

Taking Risks With People’s Lives

If you’re worried about your safety on set, go with your gut. Do not force yourself into situations that make you feel uncomfortable. Do not be afraid to report unsafe conditions. A sudden accident is the most terrifying kind of mishap.

As an actor, I made the mistake of descending a rope from a tree branch over a decade ago. Six times of practice had gone off without a hitch. On the seventh try, they strapped a heavy prop to my back, which tipped the scales and made it difficult for me to keep my footing.

Despite my gut feeling that I shouldn’t have done it, I convinced myself that the switch wouldn’t be too difficult to make. So, halfway down the rope, with the cameras rolling, I lost my footing and fell 20 feet. Thankfully, the damage was minimal.

Putting Audio Quality Aside

The audio in a film is extremely important, and subpar audio may swiftly kill a movie. Inexperienced filmmakers sometimes pay more attention to the picture than the sound. Don’t forget about the importance of sound. Post-production sound correction for poorly recorded dialogue is either difficult or requires costly and time-consuming ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement). Make an early investment in a competent sound department and provide them with all the resources they’ll need to record excellent audio.

Ignoring Contingency Plans

The potential loss of important footage owing to technical difficulties or data corruption is a worrisome possibility. As a result, you should have a solid backup plan in place to protect your data. Your footage should be duplicated and kept in different places. For added safety, several productions store data both on hard discs and in the cloud. In addition, assign someone the responsibility of verifying the safety of the backups regularly. A delay in production caused by the loss of even one shooting day can be quite expensive.

Not Obtaining Necessary Licences and Insurance

Failure to obtain the required permits and insurance for film production is a common blunder made by many independent filmmakers. Without them, producers run the risk of being sued and going bankrupt. Insurance protects the production company from financial loss in the event of an accident, damage, or liability while filming in a public place. Ignoring these factors might result in disastrous consequences, such as penalties, lawsuits, and even the cancellation of the entire production. If you want to prevent these terrifying scenarios, your production must always adhere to all legal regulations and requirements.

Creating a Zombie Army With Your Team

Finally, if you want to see something truly terrifying, provide a hardworking cast and crew some pizza or soggy sandwiches for lunch after they’ve been at it for hours. The crew always arrives first and leaves last. I guarantee that they will always have access to a variety of nutritious and appetising options. Having a wide selection of foods available at all craft services and meals is important because many people have dietary restrictions. In addition, there should always be tasty treats available, especially sweets.

The well-being of the workers and actors must always come first. Errors are more likely to occur when people are overworked, under stress, or otherwise physically and mentally exhausted. Everyone involved in the production needs downtime to recharge their batteries. There will be fewer mistakes and a higher quality of performance from a team that has had enough rest. Shooting schedules may be broken up into more manageable chunks, calm areas can be set aside, and everyone should be given adequate time to rest. Keep in mind that a tired crew and cast might decrease the quality of their work and perhaps pose safety risks.