Crossing "I"s and Dotting "T"s

When I went to produce my first film of any scope, an action short full of fights, gun play, blood, FX-makeup, custom costumes and three locations shot over four days, one of my co-conspirators asked me, "If we're going to spend money on anything, what should it be?"

"A copy machine," I told him. He didn't believe me and we didn't buy the copy machine. We probably would have saved a bit if we had. As it turned out, thrice daily runs to Kinko's gets pricey. When all was over, document duplication was the third biggest part of our budget, behind only equipment rental and catering.

Most people think of film making as and almost entirely artistic endeavor. While the artistry of movies cannot be overstated, even the smallest production is also an administrative bear that must be wrestled and tamed.

As evidence, I offer the following image, taken on my last job.

This is the final shipment of paperwork that we sent to the studio to be archived. These fifty-six boxes contain tens of thousands of pages of records pertaining to the production of a motion picture. Every single document has been checked and rechecked for accuracy. Due diligence has been met in the likely case that the show is audited. Ultimately, every dime, every day, every object, every person involved in the production must be accounted for in detail and here is said accounting.

I want to emphasize that this is simply the final shipment of records. While it is the most substantial such shipment, three other large collections of documents were sent off in the two weeks preceding this one and this pile constitutes a little less than half the records for the whole production process.

Just a visual reminder that it's not all Lights, Camera, Action.

submit to reddit


Marsha said...

That's a lot of paper. Wow, amazing.

nursemyra said...

all those trees.....

Ily said...

That's a side of the industry no one really talks about. Thanks for sharing...and damn, that's a lot of paper!

Beekeepers Apprentice said...

That's even more paper than I have after a idiot co-worker closes a loan for me while I'm on vacay and makes triplicate copies of everything and prints every stupid email at least twice, and most of those emails were from her being stupid with half the city.

But that's a heck of a lot of paper you got there! :)

renalfailure said...

...and my friends thought getting release forms signed for the National Film Challenge was a pain in the ass.

Ricardo said...

Thomas, people fail, time and again to understand that this is a business full of paper pushing. I am not shocked at all and have seen much too much paperwork already as an actor. Not as bad as the SATs but arduous to fill out.

waldo said...

Ha ha remember the paperless office concept?

Ansd surely this is an example of film industry padding?