What’s my job again?

Film Production – Understanding the job

We’ve all been in the situation where you agree on film production job with a client, the filming goes fine, you produce an edit, and they change their mind and finally tell you what they were actually thinking the film would look like. In this situation I regularly hear people berating the client and lamenting their bad luck. I think there’s something to be learnt from this though. It can be avoided with proper preparation and agreed understanding of the job.

I’ve come up with some ‘must do’s’

Get a written brief

Quite often I’ll meet up with a client or bump into them on another filming job, and they’ll ask me about a new project they want to get me involved with. This is great. It’s always nice to get a heads up on new work. Make sure to ask them to email you the full brief though. Not just a quick email reminding you about what you spoke about, but a full explanation of the job, their vision for it, and what output they expect.

 Ask questions

If you don’t understand what they mean on the brief (if the client isn’t altogether sure, it can end up very “corporate-y”, with not much substance), ask. I have a job sheet which I fill in whenever some new work comes in.  It reminds me of the questions I need to ask. This will not only help in the filming and edit, but earlier than that, when you’re quoting. You don’t want to miss things off like music, voiceover or sound edit and find you have to up the client’s quote during the project.

 Consider problems

Think about what could go wrong. It’s exciting getting a new project through and looking forward to getting into it and the amazing shots you’re going to get. But what about the less fun stuff? What could go wrong? What problems could you come across? These are the things that could potentially define the project and make it far less enjoyable and successful. Do they warrant an extra day’s filming as a precaution? Should you shoot multiple possibilities in case of problems in the edit?

 Explain the brief

Finally, talk to the client. Explain the brief back to them and tell them about your vision and how you think the project will look. This can avoid a lot problems ahead. It will ensure they have a realistic vision of what you can produce for them.


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