Last week my boss and Director of Integrated Production here at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, David Rolfe, shared a reflection with our team that was too good not to share. It deals with preparedness in producing, but has such cross-over goodness for editors as well. Usually the producer is our closest companion and strongest champion in the work we do, and I know that my projects would never have reached the point they do without the diligence and support of Gina Vorman, who I have to give a shout out to as we have collaborated on 8 projects here together. We share in the same periods of waiting that the producers do and we can be just as involved in the acts of preparation. As in chess, we should be looking 6 moves ahead and solving problems before they ever occur. Here is what Dave shared with us.
I’m not sure waiting should exist, in producing. There is no real room for it. We don’t have time to wait and producers are not waiters. If a situation is coming forth that smells of waiting, then counter it by planning. Why do we wait? We wait for feedback. We wait for “approval process.” And we can feel not in control. Take control. Take time that could be passive and set a course. Fill the encroaching vacuum with preparation for when there is movement (approval, non-approval, feedback, course)- this can be one of the most enjoyable things to do as a producer, a form of invention: we take course A if this happens, course B if this comes up, course C if we need to do this. BUT MOST IMPORTANT IS TO REALIZE THAT YOU ARE GOING TO MOVE, IF YOU KNOW THIS AND MOREOVER WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO MOVE, THAT’S WHAT WILL CONVERT WHAT COULD BE “WAITING” IN TO PREPARATION.
Then, per moving and action, if you find a situation where you have to reverse your direction, then do it. Speak to what needs to be done (calmly and confidently) and be confident that things will proceed. But don’t regret this, don’t let others affect you that production has put us in a bind. This is the brilliance of producing- you are never off your toes, your job is so simple in that you are naturally on your toes (you’re the only ones), and that’s all that needs to be done (that’s all you can do).
You will be great because of your reaction and planning skills, NOT because a project went perfectly or formulaically. And others indeed dictate what happens, but you control the elements. ALWAYS.