Archive for November, 2009

It's been a long shoot when


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A new edition of “Film Production Management 101” is in the making for publication next year. To go with the book, I’ve hosted PM & PC Resource Links on the web with these categories:

Weather/Time/Maps | Budgeting & Pre-Production | Research | Film Commissions | Organizations | News | Computer | Travel | Office | Legal | Courier | Insurance | Post Production | Coffee Break

Time for your say… have  a look: www.debpatz.com/pmlinks.htm 

What resources do you like, want more of, or less of? Let me know!

Now… back to the keyboard on that book revision for me!


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When someone dies, with whom you have crossed paths, you can’t help but remember how they touched and helped to shape your life.

I was blessed to have worked with very talented Edward Woodward on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” early in my career… a time when I had much less individual responsibility on the crew than I did later in my career, and so I was gifted to learn a lot by observation.

We worked overtime for every episode of the series, save the one that he was in. You see, starring in nearly every scene of the script, he had the authority to set the maximum number of hours he would work on a shoot day. In so doing, he saved the entire cast and crew from working overtime – for one episode, anyway. Oddly enough, we still got our days and the scenes we needed to cut together a really great episode. It just took more planning to do so. And so early in my career I learned a very valuable lesson about the importance of preproduction. Thank you, Mr. Woodward.

We rarely find out how we touch the lives of others, which is kind of strange since this industry is all about communication of ideas and stories! So, let’s just live well & kind, and trust that we have a positive effect.

In thoughtful memory,

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Life can teach you about filmmaking even when you’re not making films… these gems I learned from my mother… a wonderfully optimistic spitfire of a woman who I am so very fortunate to be related to. I had brought my mom with me to a music concert to which I had been gifted complementary passes. This one evening brought together these 3 very important reminders:

1. Rest when you can
She fell asleep during the concert (and happily did not snore, so I did not wake her until the end). A freelance film life is full of hurry up and wait both on set and between jobs. It is a very stressful existence. You have to take care of yourself and get sufficient rest both during production and between jobs (ok, but I do not recommend sleeping on the set!).

2. They… uh… we are all just people
After the concert I took her backstage to express our thanks for the complementary tickets. My mom always admired the artistic lifestyle from afar, but never grew up with it. Still, you would never know it to meet her, she appears to take it all in stride, unfazed. She has a unique ability to chat with anyone and put them – and her – instantly at ease.  Stars, Directors, Production Assistants, Drivers, Stunt Performers… they are all just people too. And you never know who you are going to meet or what you are going to learn when you start a conversation with one of them.

3. Find the magic around you
As we left, we exited the stage door, and fans were crowded around the door awaiting the star’s exit (not ours, hee-hee). As we distanced ourselves from the theatre, my mother bubbled with excitement. She remembered  being such a fan waiting at the stage door many years ago, but she never dreamed she would be one to exit a stage door herself – a dream of hers had just come true! As you learn the “secrets” of this industry, it is too easy to become jaded over time. Keep the magic fresh within you. Remember who you were coming in to the industry and find the magic all over again, every day. You make the magic. So, enjoy living the dream!

Magical wishes to you!


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“Well, pal, I was dragged all over those hills and I did not hear any singing”… “So I’ll be building my summer home on a more magical hill, thank you.”
– Emperor Kuzko (The Emperor’s New Groove, 2000)

I love this whole scene for reminding me about the concept of “saving face”. Kuzko has declared a plan of action to destroy an entire hilltop village to make way for his personal summer home. Though he eventually has a change of heart, he cannot revoke the declaration, so instead invents this “magical” excuse. Patcha’s village is saved, and the Emperor saves face. Kuzko and Patcha share and keep the actual truth about the change between them.

“Saving face” is an invaluable concept during industry negotiations. It builds good will and trust. You move beyond the what’s-in-it-for-me and beyond the project itself  to effectively consider the people. Everyone wins on some level.

I can’t help but grin every time Patcha smiles when he hears Kuzko’s words.


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