A film set is an amalgam of unpredictability. It’s an organized chaos. There’s a randomness that’s part serendipity and part Murphy’s Law, yet despite copious amounts of the unexpected rearing its head, everything can still work out. Problems big and small make their way into every production. Most will require a decision to be made. An immediate decision. How quickly and how well it’s chosen will dictate how successfully the dilemma is addressed.
I obviously can’t tell you how to successfully deal with every quandary that arises, but I can tell you how quickly to deal with it – immediately. Decisiveness can be one of your greatest qualities on a film set. If you don’t have it, get it…fast. If your director doesn’t have it, invest in a pair…and then invest in “a pair”.
When I was directing my second film, The Casino Job, the Executive Producer came up to me during a break toward the end of the production and paid me a compliment I wasn’t even sure was intended. He said to me, “I just can’t believe how many decisions you have to make every single day and clearly most never crossed your mind before that moment and you make them on the spot. And they always seem to be right. It’s amazing.”
Well, it’s certainly great that the guy funding the film felt I was the moviemaking equivalent of The Amazing Kreskin, and I certainly never dissuaded him from that belief (until now when he reads this article), but the fact was that I didn’t always make the right decisions. My trick, the one that I learned serves me quite well, is to be decisive.
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