I’m currently co-producing/co-directing the feature film, Dealing, with 4 of my closest friends. It has been quite the journey, and we all have learned a lot throughout the process. Kristina Hill and Nicole Petrone wanted to share their “5 Things About Producing an Independent Film.” Check it out below!
1. Expect the unexpected: Now I hate this phrase, because it’s completely contradictory, but the meaning rings true. Expect to be surprised (just as contradictory a statement?) You can plan and plan and prepare and come up with different hypotheticals, but there will always be obstacles you are not prepared for along the way. Whether it’s unforeseen cost, equipment malfunctions, wardrobe, weather, injuries, ANYTHING. You will always be surprised while filming, and you will always have to troubleshoot and think on the fly. Take it in stride, this is the life of a movie producer! Make it work!
2. Keep everything in perspective: This could mean many things. Don’t sweat the small stuff; choose your battles wisely. The point is, don’t lose your cool. This kind of ties in with #1. Working on any set is stressful, especially when you’re the one calling the shots. You just have to look at the big picture: you’re making a freaking movie! This is a passionate, emotional, fiercely competitive industry and you have to be able to take the good with the bad in order to survive. Positivity and a good attitude are important when performing any job, and remember you’re setting an example to everyone working around you/for you.
3. Communication is key: Being able to talk to your cast and crew is essential, and that starts with getting to know them. It’s always easier to communicate with people if you know them and have a relationship. Secondly, it is important to be open and honest on set with your crew. If you don’t speak up, how will anyone know what you’re thinking or feeling? However, how you address a problem is just as important as the problem itself. You have to express yourself clearly, calmly, and privately.
4. Don’t forget to sleep! It’s just like my Nana always says: “When you’re tired, nothing works.” You know the feeling. You’ve only got a certain amount of time with this crew member or that location or today’s equipment rental and you are milking it to the very last drop DESPITE the fact that you haven’t slept for more than nine hours in the past three days. The minutes tick by like Marisa Tomei’s biological clock in My Cousin Vinny, yet stopping for a rest is an unnecessary risk that you are absolutely unwilling to take. I totally get it, but TRUST ME, your brain and body are going to function far better when you’ve had an adequate amount of rest. This goes for eating and drinking too; any basic need that is going to keep your brain sharp and your body energized should not be neglected or overlooked.
5. Have fun! For the love of GOD, don’t forget to have fun! This is what you love, your passion, your purpose! It can be stressful, yes, but remember aforementioned #2: keep everything in perspective. Take a step back and look at how far you’ve come on such a limited budget! Soak in all the raw talent and creativity that surrounds you! Revel in the new friendships and contacts you’ve made! Is there anything better than this? If the answer is no, then you’re right where you belong.
Questions? Have any tips to share? Feel free to comment below!