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  • Sarah Colombo

Incorporating Pivots During Production: Strategies for Adaptability and Success

Updated: 5 days ago

Production has always demanded a flexible approach, but now lighter footprints and tighter budgets require us to absorb pivots like adding shots, accommodating extra talent considerations and plussing up graphics. Here’s how we’re incorporating pivots and still privileging the content.    

  • No knee-jerk reactions. When (not if) creative changes come in after a budget is locked or a location is blown (which happened on a shoot last year because President Biden came into town), I never make an immediate call about how that will impact our shoot day. We always take 30 minutes or an hour to ideate and consult with our team. That small buffer of time can change everything. Turns out the President had a successful visit to Los Angeles and we still figured out how to get our day. 

  • Keep it on ice. When a client passes on a concept, creative or location, I still stay in touch with those contacts just in case. I’m always straightforward about our plans, but I also let them know that I will keep them in consideration in case there is a pivot.  Having backups like alternative locations on ice saved me last year when that President came into town. 

  • Loyalty pays off. So do long-term relationships.  I recently asked an equipment house to open up at 9 pm so I could pull some sound equipment that we needed last minute. Our 10 years of loyalty to EVS paid off. They had someone waiting outside when we went to pick it up. 

  • Join the we-can-all-handle-crafty mentality. Nothing is above or beneath my role as a producer. Our guiding question on each production is how can we privilege the content? We’re no longer wearing two or three hats, we’re using all our hats interchangeably. That means I’ve run out to source wardrobe the night before a shoot, and I’ve shown up with a wide variety of chips, bars and fruit. 

  • Feed people well. We all know the last year has been especially challenging for production crews. DPs, gaffers, sound ops, PAs– they’re all asked to do way more than expected, and often to absorb realtime pivots on set or location. Food goes a long way toward showing people you appreciate their hard work. We feed people breakfast, follow union guidelines, and make sure the food is good, even on tight budgets. I’m not talking about three lunch options or blown out catering when the crew size is less than 10. But I will source a great local restaurant that offers vegan and gluten free options.

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