Archive for February, 2010

You want the best reference document for when you manage future productions… do you look to the Budget or the Final Costs Report?

Round 1… The Budget displays the calculations, so you know how each line item was created, the Final Costs Report does not. Round 1 to the Budget.

Round 2… The Final Costs Report show you what was actually spent, the Budget shows you estimates from the before the fact. Round 2 to the Final Costs Report.

Round 3… The Budget is an electronic file in the software you are going to use to write other budgets, the Final Costs Report is not. Round 3 to the Budget.

Round 4… The Budget has a contingency budgeted, whereas the Final Costs Report has the contingency spent on line item(s) unique to the that particular production – and in time you may not remember on which line item(s) or on how many line items are affected. Round 4 to the Budget.

Round 5… The the Budget were poorly written, the Final Costs Report would expose those weaknesses with large variances. Round 5 to the Final Costs Report.

Hmmm. 3 to 2 for the Budget. Can you think of any other rounds these two could go?

Happy budgeting!



Read Full Post »

Winter Olympic fever abounds in Vancouver right now. I’m back from a trip and dealing with the daily to/from work challenge of navigating streets of an Olympic host city. Posters of support decorate high rises, line ups are outside pavilions, souvenir stores and the zip wire attraction at Robson Square. The festive atmosphere has permeated the city block after block.

Here are three things I’ve learned about filmmaking from the Winter Olympics:

 1. Well, you can plan for snow…

Even though you can choose a country known for its snow, a country that had incredible snow falls last year with great ski conditions… but it doesn’t mean you’ll have the snow you want when you want: during the Winter Olympics. I’ve filmed a recreation of the summer Olympics once where we had crew out on the field shovelling the snow away. I’ve filmed a Christmas special with no real snow and leaves still on the trees. Sure, you can minimize the risk by choosing your shooting location and time as best you can, but it’s not such a bad idea to budget for the ability to augment snow on a film set… you may to create screen snow from scratch.

2. The importance of being Internet

Can you imagine Olympic coverage in newspapers and on TV without coverage on Internet? Can you imagine a film without a presence on the Internet? When was the last time you watched a movie and didn’t surf at least IMDB at the same time to find out what else that Performer was in? Sure, we interact with the film itself in a different way from its Internet presence, but we need both, and the Internet provides potential to add a new dimension to the movie experience. Yes, Internet presence is essential, and during the shoot is the time to collect unique and timely information. We need to collect that information as an integral part of making the film.

3. We Line Up for Souvenirs

Line ups are everywhere! Line ups to see the delights of the free pavilions; line ups to experience the zip line across Robson Street (over 5 hours long!); line ups to get into the Bay to buy souvenir merchandise! The Olympics affect so many people across society and cultures and they want to be here, be a part of it in many ways. They want souvenir moments, souvenir items. We also need souvenir moments in films… and that’s where you need to not scrimp on spending the budget’s money.

So back to the busy streets of Vancouver for me. Go world go!

All the best &  a good shoot to you,

Read Full Post »

“Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Make your own mistakes. There’ll be plenty of them, believe me.”
– Queen Clarisse Renaldi (The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement – 2004)

Oh how true the Queen’s words do ring!

Yes, you can read up on filmmaking, for example. You can learn from others. You can try it yourself… but ready to make mistakes. Of course you can learn from others’ mistakes – and well you should – but let yourself make your own.

And then comes the really hard part… be ready to learn from your mistakes so you don’t keep repeating them.

Best wishes & good cheer to you,

Read Full Post »

We had to evacuate the production office, as the area was being closed off for a hydro emergency. Minutes to leave the office. As a PC, what should I take?

The crew list, contact list, schedule… and the call sheet joke file.

Never made a call sheet without a joke on the back, so not going to stop now! I mean, how do crew read the call sheet at the end of the day? They look at their call time, then turn the call sheet over to look at the call sheet joke… oh yeah, and the map too.

But the call sheet joke makes them seek out the call sheet at the end of the day. It truly serves a purpose.

What are your fav’s? Far Side? Bizarro? Crew-made riddles? Let me know if one of my Gladys comics makes it to a call sheet near you. Until then… happy call sheet joking to you!


Read Full Post »