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Create Your Mental Checklist

Things go wrong on set. Pretty much every shoot. Sometimes it’s something small, like not having serving utensils and needing to use plastic forks to serve lunch. Sometimes it’s something big, like not having a tripod for the camera for the first few hours. 

We’d all love set to be a problem free zone, everything planned for well in advance, and no surprises or issues on the day. 


That’s rarely the case. That’s why you need a Mental Checklist. Or a physical one! More power to you to write it down! 

As I produced more and more projects the problems I encountered got smaller and easier to manage because my Mental Checklist got longer and longer. 

This is one of the BIG reasons I’m a HUGE proponent of making lots of tiny projects first. I created a long checklist and spent less than 1k doing it. If I had spent 15k and had to add a ton of items at once--wow what a mess! 

So START SMALL. 3-5 pages, a tiny crew, and put together a shoot so you can see what needs to be on your list. 

Here are some items on mine! 

Make sure you know where the tripod is being rented from 

Have an email or paper contract stating the amount a crew member is being paid that THEY have seen and agreed to

Hire a sound person!!!! Or at the VERY LEAST use an external microphone 

Granola bars and water do not equal good crafty 

Factor hard drives into your budget if needed! (If you aren’t sure, ask you DP/Director/Editor) 

Know who is picking up all equipment and take pictures of equipment at pick up--I mean pictures of EVERYTHING 

If you have doubts about a crew or cast member, replace them before you walk on set 

Make sure key crew members are able to contact each other (Have the director and DP made a shot list?!) 

Make sure the location knows how long you will be there and EVERYTHING you will be doing there. 

Pack away water last--make sure there are bottles left for the crew packing the trucks at the end of the day. 

Don’t cast your friends without auditioning them 

Ask how people like to be communicated with (email, text, phone call) You can NEVER double check info enough 

If a crew or cast member is unhappy, talk to them RIGHT AWAY. Never let resentment fester and build. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or admit you don’t know something 

What’s on your checklist? 

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