You’ve got a budget.  Now it’s up to you to stay within the budget and make money.  That’s right make money.  This is America, we’re capitalists.  But, you also want what’s up on the screen to appear as if you’ve spent every last dollar on the production.  The production must look spectacular.  If the budget has a line for original music then get some composed, don’t go with a cheap library version because the client will know. However, if the client is paying for cheap library music and they decide after seeing the first rough cut they want something more musically unique, then they will have to pay for that. Don’t be the producer that tells the client they can’t have things unless they pay more money, and don’t be the producer who yeses the client at the expense of your profit.  Fine line?    Actually no.  You and the client enter into a bargain once the concept and budget are approved.  That’s the agreement.  Now, it’s up to you to give the client what they’ve signed off on.  Along the way, you’re going to show them treatments, scripts and rough cuts.  Make sure it’s all in line with the original idea and the original budget.  If you find that you’re taking too long in post-production and your editing bill is going over that’s not the client’s fault. You presumably sent them a production schedule without a gun being held to your head, so you need to stick to it.  If it goes over you eat the overage.  However, if at the eleventh hour the client says, “Gee, I’d like to have (fill in the blank)” and it was never in the original concept, then it’s time to talk.  Firmly put on your producer hat and have a conversation with the client.  Let them know you are more than happy to accommodate their new direction, and then give them a price for that new direction.  Make sure you’ve cost it out before having the conversation. So when does the client pay and when do you pay?  Easy, if the client is making changes after you’ve signed on the dotted line, they pay.  If you aren’t living up to the original agreement and it’s costing you more money, then it’s costing you more money.

Watching an editor edit can sometimes be like watching a speck of water evaporate from the table.  It will feel that slow and yes boring.  When working with an editor there are several things I’ve learned over the years, and one of them is never sit in the same room leaning over their shoulders waiting for them to make the next cut.  It’s absolute torture for me and it’s probably annoying for the editor to have a producer tell them to shave five frames off the head of a dissolve while their still in the middle of cutting the piece.  Geez… once the timeline is down the editor will need to go through it a few times and get a sense of the pacing, make their own changes and adjustments, select different shots without someone sitting behind them watching their every keystroke.  Just imagine you’re in the middle of writing a script and someone behind you has a suggestion for every comma, preposition or adjective, while you’re still formulating your thoughts. You might just want to turn around and slap some sense into them. Here’s how I work with editors – Typically, I’ll string the time line together in FCP or Avid to get the story down.  Then I’ll turn it over to the editor.  At this point I’m very close to the story.  I’ve written it, I’ve shot it, I’ve screened the material and I’ve created a rough cut.  Time for some fresh, creative, professional eyes to take it to the next level and bring another dimension to the storytelling. I’ll give the editor the script, my log sheets, notes, and footage that absolutely must be in the segment.  If animation has been created, I’ll supply that as well, unless the editor is going to create them in After Effects.  Once I  hand everything over I walk away.  Yes, walk away.  Let him or her work with it  like a sculptor with clay. Let them put their creative stamp on it, and see where it takes the piece.  You can always pull back.  But it takes longer to get something out of an editor if you’ve shut them down from the beginning by saying this is the way it has to be, no changes, no exceptions.