How To Keep A Production On Track

I could probably sum it up in one word – communication.

When the creative team doesn’t give the production department a constant stream of information things can get hotter than Dante’s 8th circle of hell in the time it takes to say, “Oh… I thought you were taking care of that?!”

While a lot can and does get done via text and email – there’s nothing like LIVE communication –  sitting in a room face to face and talking.   Its communication that keeps everyone informed, solves problems and ensures everything on that endless ‘to-do’ list gets done.

If the story requires an exterior shot in the middle of a sweltering August day and the National Weather Service is predicting a freakish ice storm– now would be a good time to have that meeting where live communication and problem solving take place.

Here’s what production needs to know:

During Pre-Production:
1.    The creative for the series
2.    Treatment for the series
3.    Outlines for the episodes
4.    The bottom line budget number
5.    The series delivery dates
6.    Personnel and crew the creative team wants/must have for the series (i.e, a DP they can’t live without, a particular AD that must be on set )
7.    What the network must have ; i.e. Must have original music, must have all  characters appear in first and last episode, etc.

During Production:
1.    Any changes to the treatment
2.    Schedule delays due to… (fill in the blank)
3.    Network notes on dailies
4.    Cast changes, cast issues and concerns
5.    Location and or venue changes due to creative changes

During  Post Production:
1.    Slow editors, or editors who are not working out
2.    Changes to the delivery schedule
3.    Network notes
4.    Delays in delivering rough cuts to the network
5.    Extra deliverable requirements

Generally if the Executive Producer, Co-EP and Supervising Producer have daily, bi-weekly or weekly meetings with the production team, if they also copy the Line Producer on most communications, then production will be informed.  An informed production department will ensure you’re going to run a tight production with fewer errors.

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