So, the film is ready to go and it’s time to get it distributed, but wait, there’s a huge, massive headache of a problem with it. Unfortunately, some of us forget to tie the loose ends during production. In fact, films don’t even get finished because these loose ends turn out to be epic disasters, as we saw in ‘Midnight Rider’. Without proper safety procedures, filmmakers take risks, and often, they are unnecessary.
So here’s a list of things that are certainly not to be ticked once production is finished :
1. No location permits
Without permission to shoot in a location, whether private or public, film producers can face costly fees, or lawsuits if they are distributing their work without the proper contracts in place and of course, on-set location permits and safety crews are a must especially in live-stunt situations. (This counts for re-shoots as well)
2. No soundtrack licences
Going to film festivals with a commercial soundtrack might be ‘ok’ for a short film with close to no budget and no distribution figured out, but once that’s ready to be sold, those licences are required. Music labels, indie artists have the right to ask for certain royalties on distributed films or if the soundtrack is produced for it, there should be a contract in there as well.
3. Ignoring media requests
Just being ignorant in this area is silly because the media can provide a way to promote films for free. Distributors as well as producers need to keep an open mind when they get contacted. Free publicity is good for low budget films, and sometimes the people behind them have no idea how to deal with media requests. That’s a recipe for failure.
4. Not using release forms
Release forms for actors are essential as they cover the image rights of on-screen talent. Failure to have this in check could result in lawsuits or demands for compensation once the film comes out.
5. No insurance
This could ruin a film from day one, and getting to post-production without having any cover on a documentary or feature is filmmaking suicide. What if someone steals the camera, takes the laptop, spills water on the hard drive or an actor gets injured? Again, lawsuits or even bankruptcy.
6. Rushed editing
Sometimes this part of the production can get rushed. This is a real shame because bad editing, hasty ADR and other effects make the film less appealing and distributors will get turned off. Production values have to be matched with other films if it has any chance of success because audiences have zero tolerance for bad sound, dubbing or visual mistakes.
7. Huge continuity errors
If there’s no plan for re-shoots and there are limited shots, then these errors can have huge implications in the editing stage. How does one get around an actor wearing two different sweaters in the same dialogue scene, that was shot 2 weeks apart if there’s only one or two different angles? There are so many continuity problems in post-production, and not all of them can be resolved easily without spending more money or re-shooting scenes.
8. No marketing budget
This is most likely to affect lower budget films, but relying on a Facebook Page with 17% engagement and a Twitter account with 2% engagement is not going to get the word out easily unless there are advertising budgets in place to reach those audiences.
Well there you have it. There are of course many other factors that can sink a movie before it ever comes out but these are some of the areas where failure can catch up with people months ahead. We are reminded of how tragic it can be when there are inadequate procedures in place to prevent on-set tragedies. This video below will highlight some of the dangers film crews have talked about after what happened on ‘Midnight Rider’. Make sure you guys are prepared before you shoot and don’t let yourself get caught in post-production with a lawsuit!