“A Goal Without A Plan Is Just A Wish”

PLanning, planning, planning 

Oh, do I love planning.  If I didn’t think I was Liz Lemon before I entered the workforce in August, I am 100% certain, I am the incarnation of her now. Spreadsheets, color coding, binders, and sharable calendars are my best friends. I am not saying that my life is perfectly planned out or that my apartment is OCD clean (because I can assure you, IT IS NOT), but I do believe that in business, where time is money, organization / planning / efficiency will put you miles ahead of your competition and allow for WAY LESS STRESS in production.

One of my favorite scenes from 30 Rock: 

At a Triangle Film Community mixer, MSP made a new friend from the area, Jim McQuaid, who is a indie film veteran and is extremely knowledgeable. He mentioned his article, “Fix It In Production.” An extremely informative article picked up by FilmmakerMagazine.com about the importance of planning in filmmaking and I wanted to share some of the points emphasized in the article.

Fix It in Production: A 1st A.D. Tells You What Mistakes to Avoid when Shooting an Independent Film


  1. Time: the critical resource: “When money is in short supply (almost always) and goodwill is a key resource being spent, running a production smoothly is even more important.”

  2. Collaboration: “Well, if the director and the producer and the DP (at least) are not working together in planning, on-set collaboration will become much too time-consuming.”



  1. Feeding the production:“Feeding the cast and crew is important. The more demanding the schedule, the more important this element of planning becomes. Planning how to keep everybody nourished and happy must not be an after thought”

  2. Company moves: “Company moves are inevitable and expensive. Obviously, loading everything back into vehicles, finding the new location and unloading and setting up again is extremely time-consuming.”

  3. Multiple takes: “This is not a problem per se; it’s obviously necessary and typical. However, in a production under pressure, running behind, the cost of each additional take grows. It’s a tough decision but the fundamental job of a director is to recognize when enough is enough, instead of doing “too much” and then planning to locate “enough” in post.”

  4. Coverage: “However, in a production under pressure (all of them, in other words), the director’s job includes knowing what coverage is needed and what coverage is not needed. Always shooting a basic set of shots for any scene is a default approach, but not necessarily the most efficient (or artistically sound) approach.”

  5. All problems are leadership problemS: “In other words, if the location gets upset because they did not understand what was actually going to happen, it is not their fault. It’s your fault for not ensuring that they would be happy with the actual production plan. The leader (producer or director typically) owns the problems. Rain is only a problem if you planned that rain would never happen. The leader who always complains about how others messed up has failed. All that matters is what enables your cast and crew to do their best job to tell a worthwhile story. Enabling that, however, is a complex and challenging job, a job that requires planning.”

**plenty more in the article about COMMON PROBLEMS IN INDIE-FILM planning in the article HERE**