Anything Short of Enthusiasm is NOT ACCEPTED
One of the biggest mistakes that I made with my first feature film was to “convince” certain people to take on their responsibilities. It’s a mistake that ended up costing me a lot of time and money and nearly derailed the entire production. Our movie was very close to being shut down because of a couple of “bad hires.” Early in the process, about a week before we started shooting, I had to ask a very important member of my team who had control over our schedule “not to quit” because I felt like she was going to leave the project and I didn't want it to delay our starting date. Big mistake! I convinced her to stay and gave her a raise – and then, a week into the shoot, she couldn’t take the pressure and decided to quit anyway, leaving the project in shambles and our schedule “up in the air.”
Similarly, I had to convince an actor to stay –the actor, less than a week before principal photography commenced, decided to take on another, better-paying project and break his commitment to me because it was a “better career opportunity.” I convinced him to stay and even moved my schedule around to accommodate him. Big mistake! That actor didn’t show up on time and, when he did, he wasn’t ready to do his job. He was rude, unprofessional, and basically an asshole to everyone on set, myself included. And while he only shot for five days on-set, his character was very important to the movie and ended up being cut from the entire film, not out of revenge, mind you, but because he couldn’t read his lines without stumbling over himself. Something happened to him between rehearsal and shooting that made him freeze up and not remember any of his lines. That experience taught me a very important lesson: if someone isn’t 600% sure that they want the job, don’t hire them – they’ll end up screwing you over.
Nathan Shapiro, or Mike in Pickings, was a constant professional and a pleasure to work with.