Olena Z Films was contacted by German Video Production Company, Street Cinema UG, in regards of cooperating on the project Alles Auf Rot for the Rapper Capo. They were planning on shooting in Las Vegas, so our task was to prepare everything needed for set: locations, talent, agreements, insurance, permits, props, catering, etc. We had one week to make it happen. The shoot itself was done in two days.
It was a high paced process. One thing I’ve learned – you never know where you gonna lose or find money, I mean it all depends on how you research and plan your budget. The more you research – the easier it will be on your team.
NOTES FROM THIS EXPERIENCE
#1. Shop Around
We only had a 7 day notice when we were contacted about this production. We knew our biggest obstacle going into the project would be the casino location. All we heard was “NO” for a casino location. They required at least three weeks for paperwork to process. When gaming is involved, the permission has to be given by multiple departments. The table game and slot machines must be sectioned off and closed to the public, casino chips have to be taken off the live gaming tables, and guests are not allowed to be captured on film. Luckily, we finally found a local casino that was film friendly and agreed to allow us to film on such short notice.
#2. Start arranging the hardest issues first
#3. Give yourself extra time for changing locations
It’s almost impossible to have a production process as perfect as it’s broke down on paper. Crew is running behind on a schedule, catering can’t find the location, props are damaged, traffic on the way, etc.
You’re lucky if your next location manager is capable to postpone your shooting time on property. What happens if it’s impossible? – Rushing? Rescheduling? Running over budget?
#4. Don’t estimate
Have exact numbers, even with the smallest item in the budget. Don’t just write down $400 for lunch, for example. Find out what exactly you can buy for this amount, check the menu, know if someone on set is vegan or has food allergies, not to waste money on their burger or call First Aid for an emergency.
#5. Have an extra 10% for unexpected expenses
Even if you put all the tiniest expenses, I promise you’ll have to take out some cash during the production.
#6. Insure yourself, keeping in mind – “I give you – you give me”
Keep track and save copies of all the paperwork, agreements, receipts. Spending money or signing papers during any phase of the project, don’t forget to EXCHANGE.
#7. Value everyone’s time
Demand from the director the exact scene break down. If an actors scene is not scheduled until later in the day and you know the schedule of the shot list, why should they need to come at the beginning of a long day and hang out on set if their part will not be ready to shoot for 7 more hours.
#8. Agree on all the questions in pre-production phase rather than during the production or even worse – postproduction. 95% of your production work should be done before the crew turn on the cameras.
#9. Use group messages
Besides giving individual instructions, create a closed group for the talent and crew on Facebook to save your time on repeating the information, make group announcements, clarifying any questions. Use also Google Pins to mark your film location.
#10. Double-check all the rentals before and after the shoot
Remember, there are different types of insurance for locations – Additionally Insured, Copy of Insurance, Liability, etc. You have to clarify exactly what each location needs and proper permits.