You get all excited to make a project, you’ve got a script, a crew, actors. But then someone drops out or it starts raining or the location falls through. So you decide to push back a day. Or a weekend. Or a month. Or until everything is perfect for your shoot.
Right? We all want a perfect, smooth, easy shoot. So that’s the right answer, right?
Wrong. Rescheduling is not always the best answer.
At this point I know that with a few exceptions, a project that changes filming dates more than once will likely never be filmed. Changing dates is unprofessional and tells me a filmmaker isn’t motivated and willing to work hard to get their project made. They are scared and unable to handle the stress of filmmaking.
It makes me not want to work with them in any capacity (actor, producer, director).
There are a few exceptions: major incidents that require more time to fix. I was supposed to First AD a short film when our location flooded, ok, we had to reschedule.
It’s also more acceptable when there’s plenty of notice and no real dates set yet. I was directing a project that had set to film in “July” and pushed to October to refine the script.
But if you have told people you are filming June 13th and on June 10th your gaffer books another gig or your actor gets an audition you do NOT have to move your filming date. You find a new actor and reach out to other gaffers.
I’ve had people drop out 2 hours before call time and hired replacements while driving to set. I’ve lost locations in the middle of the day and rewritten scenes to take place somewhere else.
Filmmaking is NEVER perfect and things ALWAYS go wrong. The way you handle those situations is what makes you a stronger filmmaker. If you keep waiting for everything to be perfect you will be waiting a long time.
If you can AT ALL help it do NOT change filming dates. Your crew and cast has likely turned down other work or gotten time off from day jobs to be available on those dates. Changing it up is disrespectful of their time.
So the next time something happens and you want to cancel or push filming, challenge yourself to solve the problem first. Reach out for help, post in facebook groups, rewrite scenes, hold auditions over Skype to recast a role, but do NOT just give up.
IF you have exhausted all options and the ONLY way to make the film you want to make is to push, push. But only once. Otherwise nothing will get made and nothing will change. Filmmaking is a challenge, but that’s why we love it.
What are the reasons you’ve had to change filming dates?