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Every single filmmaker, whether it be on a large or minuscule scale, has to have a production meeting with their cast and crew weeks before their set shooting date. The purpose of these meetings is to layout the foundation of your project, solidifying small details, and breaking the ice between strangers to ensure a fun and laid back set. But how does one organize a production meeting and what is there to even talk about? Lets find out.
In order to have a successful turn out at your meeting, you will have to schedule it in a fashion that works with all of your crew member's busy and full schedules. This may seem troublesome but worry not, this situation is easily remedied by just looking at YOUR schedule first then by talking to each and every single one of your crew members individually to see what time works best for them. I usually schedule mine late in the day, in case my crew members have work or other obligations they can get through those first before attending my meetings.
If someone cannot attend, just make some time after the meeting and make sure you get them up the speed on what was addressed at the meeting.
The most intimidating and daunting question is "What do I even talk about at a production meeting?" I usually like to start off by introducing myself by name and position on the project that I am making, then passing the spotlight to the closest person to me. They pass it on to the next person and so on. I feel this is the best way to break the ice and the most efficient way to get everyone on board familiar with who is doing what. From there, I start reading off of a checklist that I made weeks before the meeting. The checklist consists of small topics of interest and minor issues that I feel like are necessary to bring up. Instead of telling the entire room what the issue is, I usually direct it at a certain department. For example, on my upcoming project that I had a production meeting for recently, I had an issue with our lighting situation. I wanted to work with tweenies and LED's but I was worried about not blowing a fuse in the house that we were going to film at. I spoke to my grip and electric team and we worked out a solution. By addressing a single department about a certain issue, we all as a team can work to find a solution. And lastly, don't forget to hand out scripts and explain in detail what your project is about.
Making sure your production meeting is as professional and formal as can be is a top priority but this does not meant the meeting has to be business professional attire and everyone has to speak in turns. I keep my meetings casual and relaxed and I encourage everyone to speak up if they have an issue or concern. I make sure everyone is taking notes and I try to get everyone involved. If I miss a detail, my fellow directors or assistants will briefly address an important issue that flew over my head. This way, I am not worried about screwing up or forgetting anything. Making sure everyone in the room is relaxed and comfortable while keeping it professional is a top priority.
My Production Meeting
In this video is a production meeting that I had a few days ago. I am at the head of the table alongside my co-directors. We had a few people not show up on time so to keep everyone on the same page, we decided to wait until everybody showed up. Notice how everyone is dressed in casual attire and talking amongst them selves, everyone looks relaxed. Scattered on the table is an outline on what I planned on addressing at the meeting, call sheets, and other legally binding paperwork that the crew had to sign. Once I had everyone show up, I call the room to order and begin the meeting. I have everyone introduce themselves, starting with my co-directors and then going around the room. From there, you can see me reading off of a checklist and addressing certain people. Notice how at times people randomly chime in with questions and I happily answer them. As the meeting goes on, I still only speak to certain departments, only speaking to the whole room if necessary. Once the meeting is over, I encourage anyone who has questions to come up and speak to me or my co-directors personally. We stay behind for at least twenty minutes answering individual questions before we adjourn the meeting.
Well there you have it. You've seen how I organize my meetings and have the knowledge to build off of my template to organize some of your own. So go forth and meet up!