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7 Tips For Keeping Your Production On Time & On Budget

Do you ever find yourself scrambling at the last minute to meet your production deadlines? You might even be dropping money on extra edits…
7 Tips For Keeping Your Production On Time & On Budget

Do you ever find yourself scrambling at the last minute to meet your production deadlines? You might even be dropping money on extra edits because your boss wasn’t happy with what you thought would be the final cut of your video. Or maybe the scope of your story changed and your footage has to be reshot.

Any of these scenarios are just going to cause you stress, as well as cost your company time and money. Don’t worry, though — a lot of production problems are entirely preventable. Here are a few tips to keep things running smoothly:

1. Hire an experienced producer.

Generally, hiring an experienced producer (if you’re not one) is a good idea — they’ll find crew for you and manage the whole production. If you are producing the video, find a production crew that has worked with each other before or freelancers that are familiar with your company’s voice and brand.

2. Communicate your timeline.

Whether you’re working with a freelancer, producer, or production company, you need to let them know your deadlines and expectations. Your production timeline should include pre-production, production, and post-production as well as outline exactly how many rounds of feedback they should expect and what the turnaround on that should be. Feedback is one of the main factors that can slow down production, so let your filmmakers know what to expect and who the feedback will come from. Plus, make sure you’ve added extra time for yourself, so that the piece is delivered to you earlier than you need to publish it.

3. Create a contingency budget.

Set aside part of your budget when building it in case something goes wrong, such as having to reshoot footage or ask for more revisions. This should typically be around 10% of your total production budget.

4. Request a treatment.

While some elements of your story might change depending on what’s possible for your production, you should request a treatment from the filmmaker so that you’re both aligned with the style and structure of the video. The treatment should detail what the audience will see and how the story will unfold. Working out all the details in pre-production will prevent spending more time and money on pick-up shots, reshoots, or extra editing later on.

5. Present a unified vision for the final product.

If you’re working on a team to manage a production, there are bound to be disagreements and different visions for how the story should be shot or told. However, your team shouldn’t bring those disagreements to the filmmakers — your shooters and editors need to know who the final authority is for the video, so that they don’t waste time trying to cater to multiple voices.

6. Give feedback early.

As soon as you get the rough cuts for your story, you should take a look and send feedback to your editors. They might need more time than you think to make the changes you want. And if you don’t give them as much time as possible, you could end up behind schedule.

7. Don’t change major details at the last minute.

The easiest way to get your production off track is by deciding to make last-minute changes to major details in the story. Whether you’re already halfway through production or are ready to start filming (for example, you’ve gotten film permits, shooting dates, etc. worked out), changing things up will make meeting deadlines more difficult.

What else helps you stay on time and on budget? Tell us in the comments below!

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By D. Simone Kovacs, Storyhunter Editor