Lessons Learnt: Dealing with Dilemmas - Part 2

We’re the creators of the web series Out of It. This is our new weekly column to share with you all the things we learnt along the way.

4. Dealing with Dilemmas – Part 2: On Set

You can’t prepare for the unforeseeable but you can sure try and have all your angles covered. Unfortunately, we didn’t get this quite right in practice as well as we had it in our heads.

Maxed Out

Prior to being on set we had a short rehearsal a week before, an experience we took on from our work in the theatre which we thought this would maximise our tight schedule. The readthrough really helped with hearing what issues we might have on set and was a fantastic opportunity for all the crew and actors to meet. However, we did get slightly ahead of ourselves as the rehearsal was in a different space and with scripts in hand, it still took time to adapt when we were on set.

We bought or rented our props and equipment in plenty of time before filming but we couldn’t have predicted how long it would take to set up. In the opening moments of our pilot we have a long shot of our main character Lucy surrounded by balloons along a corridor… Now trying to strategically place balloons to look beautiful on camera is no easy task, and not a quick one either.

Taking the time to plan thoroughly is worth doing before you get on set. However, as long as you manage to get the episode filmed, which luckily we did, it’s all experience for the future!

Ready or Not

On the community posts, there are really interesting conversations about budgeting and overspending; something we found we didn’t prepare enough for. We pre-planned by collating a spreadsheet based on estimates of how much props, food and pay would cost and used a budget template from a prior production. In retrospect, we clearly hadn’t allowed for contingency in the budget when last minute props, food or drink needed to be bought on set.

Overall, we ended up spending well over budget as last minute additions can mean you are paying a lot more than finding something online in pre-production. For example, running out to source another hard drive on set last minute cost us an extra £60, which all adds up.

We would love to hear any lessons you’ve learnt on set too – how did you prepare to maximise your time on set or deal with issues that arose?

Join us next week to discuss Dealing with Dilemmas – Part 3: In Post.