Mittwoch, 19. März 2014

The Fast Good Cheap Pattern - A Guide to Understand Film Production for your Client

From time to time as a freelancer I encounter a specific attitude by some special costumers. Mostly they don´t have a clue how exactly film production works. They come up with the idea of an Image-film for example, which contains voice overs, actors and spectacular camera movement and which is produced in less than four days and of course cheap as possible....

This is where you can either minimize your profit to almost zero and describe the project as no-budget and hire people for free, get on a blacklist of your crew and aim for bankrupt within a year or you explain your costumer why his idea of filmproduction won´t work...

This is leading you to the Fast-Good-Cheap-Pattern. In theory you have three options to produce a film, but only two options will work together. So you have to make a choice. You can adopt this model to any other creative product whether a book, a illustration or photography.

Produce fast and cheap the film won´t be good.

Produce cheap and good, the film won´t be fast in production.

Produce good and fast, the film won´t be cheap in production.

So what does that mean in detail?

Fast + Cheap = Crapy Movie

If you produce fast and cheap, you have make fast decisions in order of casting and rental equipment. Maybe you hire equipment at the low price rental, than you have to expect that the camera has damaged output jacks or the lenses have scratches, the tripod is broken or the lights are not in safe condition to work with. 
You can´t make proper decision for locations whether of the availability or if it´s suitable in production (industrial working noise, no electricity, no bathrooms, no shooting permissions). In other words, you get the hell of stress by shooting it, not to mention the editing part of camouflaging the mistakes of the shooting...

Good + Cheap = Long Time Project

If you want to make a good film and still want to make it cheap you have to spent time in this project. that means either you have to make a lot of preproduction to find people who are willing to work for free for the arts sake or you have to raise money for a long period of time ahead. This project are often Low-Budget Project or Independent Projects.
Commissioned Projects are rare to find in this category because nobody likes to work for free if they know you get all the money from the costumer. If you do, you will regret this as soon you realize that nobody in the film business wants to work with you anymore. 

Good + Fast = Professional Budget Movie

So if you are convincing the costumer wants a good film which is fast in production. Mostly TV-Commercials or Imagefilms or Eventclips make that category. Big budget movies are also on that list so here you have the stress of making things possible in a short space of time but in the end you know all participants will be well paid and the result got to be awesome.
The costumer need to understand, that everybody need to get their fridge filled and he as a good costumer got the opportunity to show his great generosity and make things happen for a good product. Otherwise he gets a crapy product. That´s something you don´t want, because you offer this product and the costumer don´t want this because obviously he wants a magical professional film.

So if you ever get in the situation to lower the expectations of your client, raise his generosity and his willing to participate on a professional project. If he´s still on the cheap prizing hunt let him go, he will return after he gets a crapy movie and see you doing the professional stuff!