“I can hear every note coming out of your amp, Rolfin”.  This is what a wonderful and disciplined Italian man once said to me.  After reeling from the shame of realising I’d been a bit of complacent dick for a number of months, and in typically defiant fashion I thought “Alright, you fucker.  I’ll show you”.

What followed was a religious schedule of rehearsing for rehearsals so this talented drummer never had cause to utter those words to me again.  He set the bar because I was dreaming, imagining I knew where it was and all I had to do was show up.  Wrong.  What was never in question was my passion for the project and that saw me through in the end.  Here are a few thoughts on working with people that are better than you.

Passion

Doing anything artistic is almost guaranteed to leave you out of pocket.  If you break even then my heart felt congratulations.  Film is particularly brutal in this regard.  A theatrical release and ongoing revenue leaves the distributor approximately 35% of all takings.  Production costs and any minimum guarantees you’ve secured all come out of this and whatever is left over you’re at the bottom of the pile.

But none of that matters as if you get there far, well done.  Still the principle applies that regardless of the project:  if you’re working with people that don’t want to be there or whom are not pulling their weight then kick them off the project and find someone else that shares your commitment and work ethic.  If you don’t you’ll be left picking up the workload and they’ll think they still deserve a credit.

Preparation

Even projects I’ve been involved that turned out well in the end need not have been so stressful – and compromised friendships – had the preparation and pre-production been better organised.  Nail your script.  Do not leave costumes, props, logistics to the last minute – ever!  It will save you a lot of financial and emotional pain.  If you can, get everyone together and ensure people have already ‘broken the ice’ before you turn up on set.  Film is a collaboration and rapport is essential as there are a hundred different things happening on set at once and nobody need misconstrue curtness for practical necessity.

Discipline

Good luck.  Keep at it and understand how you and others you work with ‘tick’.  Patient and consistent application is the only way.  Try not to get too frustrated that things aren’t moving as fast as you would like.  You’ll get there in the end and time away from the project for short periods may usher in some much needed objectivity.

Tenacity

Don’t give in.  You’ll hate aspects of the process and wonder why you’re doing this to yourself.  However, once it’s done you’ll feel so elated that you’ll want t start straight away on the next thing.