5 Ways to Add Value to Your Next Production

Tomahawk Pictures leverages military experience into methodically executed media production

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

Written by Mike Brown, Writer/Director, Tomahawk Pictures

After leaving the Marine Corps in 2012, I came to NYC to become a filmmaker. After meeting other veterans in the media industry and realizing the advantage our shared operational experience gave us, I founded Tomahawk Pictures. The production industry is tough to break into and convincing (the industry) that veterans can be creative is quite a challenge. Believe me - we get it, our old job was to get close with and destroy the enemy - so certainly our previous skillset doesn’t translate. But our culture does. Here are a few points from a Marine’s perspective that I think can add value to your next production.

For some folks this might seem basic. Brilliance is in the basics.

Build a team, not just a crew.

The low-budget production world functions much like pickup basketball. Players show up for one day and then vanish. Key members like your sound guy or cinematographer might meet for the first time on set. This is a recipe for disaster. Two professionals may do things totally different, making coordination a challenge. But a team with a shared vision and shared processes are much more efficient. When you meet your crew for the first time, in pre-production or on-location, take the time to lay out the entire plan for them, set expectations, then get their ideas and buy in on that plan. Adjust as necessary and execute. It takes some time upfront, but saves lots of time and aggravation throughout the day.  

Projects are made in planning, and perfected on set. 

Start your planning with the endstate and plan backwards - this speeds everything up. Identify what the must-haves are. Be detailed.

Make a shot list and a flexible shooting schedule. Know what you will cut when you have to before you’re engulfed in the chaos. We used to say that "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face." Your production plan must be flexible enough to survive the realities of filmmaking.    

Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.  

You will never have the time to get everything you want. Never rush. It causes more problems than it solves.  If you have a good plan in place you will be ready when you slip behind schedule. Move a shot until later. If you can’t move it, cut it. Make these decisions quickly based on the plan you made. Indecision only wastes more time.

Humility is creative.  

Whether you’re in charge of a platoon or a production, you’re not responsible for all the good ideas, you’re just responsible to pick the best one.  And make sure it’s well coordinated and well executed. Learning to truly tap into the talent of your team is crucial in order to reach new levels of creativity.  Ask questions. Don’t just give them a task, tell your team what you want them to accomplish and let them figure it out. You will be surprised. Remember your role is to ensure their success not look like you’re in charge.

Relax.  We’re just making movies.  

Staying calm is a deliberate choice. In order to keep communication flowing freely and your crew humming along you must be calm. Nothing shuts down productivity quicker than a frustrated temper tantrum. There is always an excuse to lose your cool. Don’t do it. Crack a joke, address the problem and smile.  

I hope this helps. If you are looking for a merry band of warm hearted creatives with cold-blooded efficiency on your next video project, connect with us at Tomahawk Pictures.

About Tomahawk Pictures

We are a New York City based video production company that leverages our military experience into methodically executed media production. A team of warm-hearted creatives with cold-blooded efficiency. Operational excellence is our baseline. Sarcasm is our love language.

ProductionHUB ProductionHUB Logo

Related Blog Posts
Film Production Resume Writing Guide
Film Production Resume Writing Guide
Are you a film student thinking of applying to your dream job? A perfect resume will help you land the job with relative ease. Everyone that makes a film possible, from screenwriters & actors to directors and editors, falls in the category of film production.
Published on Wednesday, November 25, 2020
A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO LIVESTREAMING IN 2020
A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO LIVESTREAMING IN 2020
Livestreaming can be a great way to tell your story and engage with your audience, and with social media and other streaming platforms at our fingertips it’s easier than ever. With nearly a decade of experience livestreaming videos, we’ve seen it all - the good, the bad, and whatever you call it when your cat jumps up onto the desk and shows his b-hole to your entire audience. Below is our comprehensive guide to livestreaming videos - and while we’ve tried to include everything you might possibly want or need to know, everyone’s experience is a little different, so be sure to contact us if you have other questions or concerns, and (shameless plug) we’re available to help facilitate or consult on your livestreams.
Published on Monday, November 23, 2020
HELP! There's a green screen in my living room!
HELP! There's a green screen in my living room!
On March 9, 2020 I was riding high. I had just wrapped up a busy job with a major financial company and my 1st quarter was turning out to be the best period for my 4-year-old business yet. It seemed like my young production company was turning toward a bright and busy future and as the weekend came I was planning on celebrating with my friends. I was also turning 34. As the week rolled on and the Coronavirus was coming into view in the Bay Area, upcoming clients began canceling one by one, starting with a live streaming conference the following week. It surprised me at first how quickly all my work was evaporating but by the end of the week with the economy closing down and shelter in place beginning it seemed inevitable that everything on the books would be canceled.
Published on Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Comments

There are no comments on this blog post.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.