can you give me an advice? I'm making my first short film with a small crew and i'm working with this guy and i'm so upset because he's never at the meetings and i just dont feel like he's conected with my story. I mean, it's only a 4 people crew and I already did his job (eventhough i'm the director) so it wont affect my short but i'm frustrated. does this kind of things happen in the industry and how do you deal with it to feel less sad and upset? i cant fire him bc its a uni thing fyi
Literally my first advice was going to be to fire him!
I’m so sorry you’re going through this Anon, but now it’s time for a little story!
I’m not in the film industry, just a passionate film fan, but I have been fortunate enough to make a few short films through grants. On my biggest one EVERYTHING went wrong in pre-production. I went through 3 sound guys, the person who was supposed to be my mentor abandoned me, actors flaked etc. I literally ended up lying on the floor weeping at several points (never on set though, got to keep up morale). For many months I was miserable as things kept falling apart. But it got done. And so did your project!
So yes, this thing absolutely happens to everyone. ESPECIALLY in university where people are young, flaky, and think they’re too good to participate in someone else’s project. To you and I it happened on a small scale. Sometimes it happens on a big scale. When Lynne Ramsay was supposed to direct Jane Got a Gun she walked off the set and crew and actors walked with her because she couldn’t get final cut. Elaine May had to sue the studio over the way they cut A New Leaf (and lost), Patty Jenkins was fired off Thor 2, and Michelle McLaren was fired off Wonder Woman. I’m sure they felt like shit at the time but they got through it and you will too.
So here are some things you can do: 1) document the ways in which this guy shirked his duties, 2) sit him and down and have an honest convo where you say “I expected you to perform X and you didn’t. I was able to cover for you so it didn’t affect my short, but if you do this to someone else’s project in the future you could really end up hurting them” 3) since this is for university and I assume you’re being graded approach your professor. If it’s a solo grade, then you’re right, there’s little you can do, but if it’s a group grade I think it’s important not to let your slacking team member coast on the good work of you and your fellow students. This is when your documentation will come in handy.
How will you get over it? Time. Allow yourself to feel sad and upset for the present, even allow yourself to cry about it because projects, especially artistic ones where you’re emotionally invested are hard as hell to get through. Then congratulate yourself on handling your problem really well (you got the work done without this guy!) Also please don’t forget to thank the other crew members who did come through for you and did their jobs well.
And think of it this way. You now have a couple of go-to people you know are reliable for your next short and one person you know you won’t use any time in the future. The more projects you do the more good people you’ll collect and the more bad people you’ll be able to cross off your list as collaborators. And one day when you’re in a position to hire, fire and recommend, you’ll be really confident in your decisions.
Big hugs to you and congrats on your short!