… for Random Weirdness
Tip #1797: 5 Truths From an Indie Producer
Planning, budgeting & contacts. The pillars of producing.
This article first appeared in NoFilmSchool.com. This is a summary.
I’m Lilia Le Dieu, a freelance producer, and I’m sharing a few lessons learned throughout three years in the creative industry. I have worked on short films, features, commercials, and music videos in the U.S. and Belarus.
My short films have collected over 50 official selections in international film festivals. Today, I’m sharing some knowledge that could be useful for other filmmakers, especially for those working on non-union shoots.
- Over-preparation is key. Murphy’s Law works hard, but it works overtime when it comes to filmmaking. In my experience, being extra OCD about every little thing and having a backup plan for it pays off. Have insurance, literally and figuratively.
- Fire [the] wrong people for the job, before it’s too late. If you’ve hired people, and they start to disappoint during pre-production, do not wait until the fire catches up. Talk to them, resolve conflict, or fire them and move on.
- Budgeting is everything. The art of budgeting should be taught in schools because so many things go right when you prepare for the costs and allocate money efficiently. This skill is usually honed when you’ve dealt with projects of different sizes. In my practice, contractors that ask for unreasonably high payments usually are not as competent as you might think.
- Don’t underestimate post-production. Listen, it’s not hard to edit and color grade a film. What’s hard is to meet the deadlines/budget, keep the vision consistent without sacrificing quality, and make the most of the footage you have. You can fix it in post. This argument is definitely valid for music videos.
- Reach out to EVERYONE. Filmmaking is a joint effort, impossible without the help of other talented collaborators. Once I find the right people, we stick together, as I make sure to attach them to every project. Don’t be afraid to contact someone who seems way out of your league. Also, do the opposite. All of us have started somewhere.