When the plan fails


What do you do? Panic? Cry? Point the blame? Of course not. A well prepared filmmaker has a plan for everything. Because we all know that wasted time usually ends up being money lost.

I had the opportunity to raise the funds to finish post on a project that I shot late last year, The 90 Minute Lunch. With help from my directing partner Joe Mesiano and producer Andrew Carroll we were locked and loaded to get on a plane and head east to Philadelphia for ADR and pickup shots.

When we arrived we went right from the airport to to meet with the editor. He had all the master clips that we shot as well as some notes that Joe had given him on some scene direction. We were guaranteed to have a picture locked edit for easy ingest into Pro Tools. Well, I will reference back to the title of this article. Did we have the finalized edit that we were promised? No. There were key lines missing from the assembly edit. Certain scenes where there was off-board sound to sync was not in sync. Also, he was on a PC workflow so the compatibility of my Final Cut to Pro Tools workflow wouldn’t work. Plus we had to have the final assembly for the sound engineer ASAP.

What do you do? I did what any self respecting filmmaker would do. I let the editor go. Got his EDL for his project file. Sat down to an empty Final Cut session and began to recreate the edit from my masters. I’ve been really trying to focus more on camera operating and DPing lately but what are you going to do when the opportunity to sink or swim is right in front of you. You swallow your pride and buckle down to the job at hand. No excuses. Look for a finalized film by June this summer.

Always have a plan. Although realize that the plan never stays on course and you always have to be quick on your feet to get the job done.

Jared Abrams is a cinematographer based in Hollywood, California. After many years as a professional camera assistant he switched over to still photography. About two years ago a new Canon camera changed the way the world sees both motion and still photography. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
  • http://twitter.com/Sebastian_TR Sebastian TR

    Too true Chris… We all have to face the fire at times…
    Always prepare for failure… here’s a quote I like..

    “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.”
    ~ Confucius

  • http://www.felipehenao.com Felipe Henao

    I think budget is important, if the client doesn’t know what he want, or director is not tuned with the client,and the work has to be redo, they have to have the money to do it gain, BUT for sure you as a DP cameraman cannot fail, your reputation, depends of that.

  • Ramachandra

    With respect Chris it appears you were not exactly ‘locked & loaded’. The incompatibility between the platforms is a major error in planning and pre-post-production. Every producer or director must know that.

  • http://wideopencamera.com Chris Marino

    Yes this is true. Hiring that editor was a terrible and costly mistake on the production’s part. Although when the problem presented itself I became resourceful to tackle the situation at hand. There are no excuses not to finish in my book. Thanks for your comment. Cheers.

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