Saturday, December 06, 2008
Tales of a Student Producer, Part 2
That's not really my job. I'd love to just do slate all weekend, but usually I only get to play with the slate when we're short crewed.
We're about a third of the way done with shooting. We ran into some frustrating location issues for this weekend and, long story short, had to cancel the shoot. I hate doing locations. The place we were hoping to shoot wanted to charge us $40 an hour, both for overnight shooting and during business hours. We understood that we'd probably have to pay some for the overnight because most businesses like to have an employee there - but who is getting paid $40/hour at a coffee shop? Or even 20?
I've worked on one other senior honors thesis. I only PAed for just two days, but I learned some interesting things and got a little bit of a feel for the way it ran. It ran a lot different from the way we run ours. And for a while, I really struggled with that. The project is already pretty stressful for me, and having that comparison made it more difficult.
Until I put things into perspective. The other thesis film was produced and directed by a team of senior film students who had done a project of similar length and scope the previous year. So it wasn't their first time around the rodeo. Our project's director is talented and knowledgeable, but it's her first time directing some of this scope. Our producing team has never before produced anything of this length and are relatively early in their film training. And we're running on a very talented but limited crew.
Basically, I realized that the two different films I worked on were, in fact, two different films. And I should treat them as such. And that helped a lot. Realizing that I didn't have to live up to some standard that didn't actually even compare made me feel a little more at ease with the job. I was talking with my screenwriting professor the other day about how producing was probably making me more stressed than all my classes, he sort of raised his eyebrow as if to tell me that I needed to rethink something. And he reminded me that everyone in everything has a learning curve. I think the goal is to just maintain your course on that journey and not let yourself be overwhelmed by the mistakes and challenges that are inherent in improvement.
Sure, it's a lot of work and it's stressful sometimes. But I have no doubt that this film is going to be great. Our crew members are so talented and skilled that I can't imagine it coming out anything less than stellar. And they're amazingly fun to work with too. And that keeping that perspective helps me realize what an enjoyable experience this is.