A wise man once said making films is easy, Its enjoying the process that is hard.
playing hard and working hard comes with the territory when being a film producer.
There are many hills to climb, hoops to jump through and fires to put out on a daily basis. you get to be a negotiator with your crew, a shrink with your cast, and a businessman with closing the deals. You get to wear many caps during the course of a film production and it can be tiring.
In most cases you’re first on set and last to hit the pillow. Your phone is always on 24/7 in case of emergencies and almost always, there’s trouble ahead.
Not to sound too harsh but I always likened my profession to that of being a masochist since YOU are the person who always has to bear the brunt and take on the punches and if anything goes wrong, and believe you me, in most cases it does. The one saving grace that you have is that if the film turns out to be bad then its not necessarily your fault but the directors and to some extent the actors but nonetheless you still have the responsibility of making sh*t happen and yes, in the nicest possible way, the sh*t normally does hit the fan, and quite a bit.
The production on which I’m working on at the moment has currently got the dung hitting it from all angles. We are one day away from shooting and I just heard that the caterers on our shoot have both been hospitalised after an unfortunate accident which rendered them immobile for then next few weeks. With about 80 mouths to feed on a daily basis I have to start hitting the phones again in order to find a caterer that can accommodate us, which means they must have enough eggs and bacon and all the rest of the delights to cater for our big crew by tomorrow which to be honest is a long shot.
Last Friday we found out that one of our locations, Stonehenge, has denied us from filming there until the end of the solstice since there’s currently protests going on and one of the stones had been vandalised. After securing the hotel accommodation and paying over £5,000 it looks more than likely that we won’t be able to get the money back due to hotel regulations which I’m planning to contest. Plus, we need to be on the lookout for an alternative location to Stonehenge for 31st May otherwise… I’d prefer not to think about that.
There is also a huge scene that we’re shooting with around 250 background artists this Wednesday and our extras casting director is concerned that we’re finishing after midnight which may affect how the background artists will get back home and that we are responsible for their safe return. And yes, uber could sting us on this one too.
These are just a few of the examples when it comes to making movies and as the stress level can get higher by the day and nerves get frayed by the minute you will find that tension between cast and crew can be fraught with difficulties especially on set. Time is money in the film vernacular and every second counts. But, from my years of experience of working on film sets it is nice to be reminded that for all the stress that comes with making movies we’re not really changing the world… much. Yes, there is that magic when it comes to watching films but are we really inventing something special? Something that will revolutionise our lives? Cure a disease? Improve our well being on this planet? Me thinks not.
Therefore, I always try and remind myself to see the bigger picture when working on a film project. That when the pressure hits and the stress escalates that this too shall pass and it isn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be. Yes, money will be lost, spent, flushed down the toilet. Arguments will happen, tempers will flair and crew and sometimes even actors will walk off set. Egos abound in this industry and there’s nothing we can do about it but take a few deep breaths, look up in the sky (which is hopefully blue) and remind ourselves that there’s always something bigger happening in the universe that makes this particular problem minuscule in comparison.
And as the recent Camera assistant I once worked with used to say ‘hey! It’s only a bloody movie!’
So go out there and enjoy the bloody process… and the journey.