Some more thoughts on production

I spent part of my September on a photo shoot for a german car manufacturer.

I had the privilege to work with a really good photographer and crew. I hired a couple of new P.A’s and I should have sent them this notes in advance. Since I did not, I send them now.

– don’t fuck it up on your last day.

– don’t sit.

– don’t give ideas unless stated otherwise.

– double check but do not ask things twice.

– write things down. and if things are just said on voice, write them down and send them by email.

– do not expect nobody to understand that is hard to get internet on location.

– truck drivers will always come up with difficult requests. be ready.

– have always sweets on set.

– they can maybe drink alcohol. you cannot.

– give the people you are buying things to the sense of emergency and importance that your boss will apply to you.

– eat faster than your clients. sit the last one, stand up the first. the average lunch duration should be 12 minutes.

– the only way to control a situation is to send more frequent emails than your client/boss.

– when you need to be a booss, be a bit of a pain. everybody remembers everything until they forget it.

– save yourself the hangovers. they are hard to work with.

– always work considering you will not get paid before 60 days.

– if you are on set; 1) work, 2) pretend or 3) hide.

– your voice should be always lower than the one on top of the pyramid (photographer or director)

– your chat should always be kept under a security distance from the maximum concentration area (camera).

– people talk a lot on set. increase quality by talking less. and yes watsapping counts as chatting.

– use the walkie talkie as it would cost one euro each time you press the button.

– papers are meant to be read, carefully.

– if you think your job is to forward emails to other people , you are doing it wrong.

– the only one who can forward an email without reading and understanding it is the executive producer.

– if your assistants fails, you are the one responsible.

– pressure handling is the only valuable scale to evaluate how good a film/tv professional is. all the rest is wind.

– you need to know what you are not good at. hire people who are better than you doing that.

–  if you are not an executive don’t Instagram, Facebook or Tweet any graphic material from any job you are doing.

– lots of this rules don’t apply to executive producers. they can decide the way then want to lose a client. you don’t.

– you will always think a production designer is doing few and getting really well paid. this might be a good sign of him being good.

– treat a bit bad the camera department and they will get back to you strong and all union and rights for the working class and overtime warriors. treat them like pure shit and they will accept your conditions.

– don’t try to make a gaffer understand you. he is a knight of the light.

– a gaffer will always take one spark more than the ones necessary. you should do the same with PA’s.

– try to get always at least a girl, a big guy, a guy who understand tools, and a guy who understand computers in your production/location/ad team.

– AD’s are overrated.  AD’s are overconfident and they need that so they can do their job. AD’s want to be  your alpha in the pack. Let them be.

– sound recordists smoke and suffer often. Take care of them well.

– ask your DIT to deliver you a copy of what is in each disk so you never have a the most horrible discussion; the one on missing files.

– you will know a bad camera crew because they will hire a hot and lousy female VTR.

– make up people get often bored. Their fee compensate their deep and constant boredom.

– wardrobe people need to be rock stars.

Guys , welcome to this business

Quan em comparo amb

En Mark Zibert és un canadenc alt, musculat, ric, amb talent i tantes coses a fer que no li queda mai temps per estar enfadat.

Conec en Mark des de fa set anys i encara que m’agradaria que fós més amic meu del que és, puc dir que si el truqués m’agafaria el telèfon i que veure el que fa em serveix com a estímul per no beure més del compte.

Per un extra de motivació un cop cada uns quants mesos comprovo la seva data de naixement i la meva.

Quan en Mark tenia trenta anys va fer una campanya per les olimpides de Beijing que és una de les millors campanyes que he vist. Agafa la Xina i la transforma en un anunci. Segur que en Mark ja era en un bon lloc prèviament perquè sinó ningú li hagués fet aquell encàrrec. Però la va clavar i tot va explotar.


El Mark fa anuncis. Si quina cosa. La qüestió és que els fa d’una manera que per exemple el meu amic Jeroni és capaç d’identificar. A mi no em passa perquè una veueta dins meu em diu “no siguis ridícul, el fet que l’anunci t’agradi i que admiris el mark no vol dir que necessàriament l’hagi fet ell”. Bé , doncs moltes vegades sí.

Voldria veure una ficció feta pel Mark. De la mateixa manera que tinc pendent de veure la que va fer en Romain Gavras. Són mestres del visual i seria fantàstic si tinguèssin una bona història d’un bon guionista.

Una darrera pastilla motivacional

**Paul Thomas Anderson (1970)**
Boogie Nights (1997)
Magnolia (1999)
Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
The Master (2012)

Tota civilització ha tingut herois. La seva existència és necessària per tal de tensar-nos, estirar l’espina dorsal, treure pit i aixecar la barbeta no com un gest de vanitat sinó per poder mirar amunt i veure els qui ja hi ha.

Nota: Sé que molta gent té la paternitat com un mèrit. Bé, sembla un munt de feina i una font de coses boniques i amor però com a excusa per no arribar em sembla poca cosa.


Last month I was in the Art Director’s Club Conference in Hamburg.
I will not go there next year. For 250€ I can get tones of books.

The quality of the talks was low. Nowadays the trend is to hate TED. That’s a good thing since it means people become more and more selective and experienced. As artificial as they are, as empty or full of fake enthusiasm you can expect some work behind any TED talk. You better don’t expect the same in a ADC talk.

Most of the professionals talking there were:
1) giving success examples. the problem with success examples is that they are hard to reproduce.
2) putting tones of improvitation, jokes and energy to pretend they were not just talking about themselves.

Besides that, some funny notes for a conference facing the digital tread/challenge:

No wifi in the conference room.
No tables of any sort where to place your laptop.
No plugs.

There was a bit – just a bit- of tecnology (adding real value) when they spoke about how Nike is making any human being into an athlete. And Marc d’Arcy was fresh and interesting and absolutely facebook centered.

The general feeling was being in a conference of an afraid, aging, self-centered industry that is unaware of how much people tend to hate advertising, specially the kind of advertising so crafted and so branded that lacks any personality.

And please, guys, really, no need to speak in german or make jokes. No real need.

Art Directors club

Some of the talks