The pressure to get films home for the holidays often makes your holidays stressful. You’re not alone. After the rush is done, we think “man, can’t do that again! I’ll be more on top of it next year”.
Yet the cycle never seems to end.
It’s not your editing skills creating this stress.
Or your work ethic.
It’s your turnaround.
September is one of the most scheduled months of the year. Most of our filmmakers are filming every. single. weekend. with a double header at least once.
If all of those weddings are due 8 weeks from their filming date, they are due one after another after another after another. Unless you have no other plans in October than to edit, keeping up that pace is challenging, even for the most efficient editors.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Years of speaking, meeting and working alongside filmmakers, I truly feel many of us in this industry have two brains: a “booking brain” and an “editing brain”, and our “booking brain” is often not thinking about its other half at all. And if it is, it’s wishful thinking!
We treat our bookings like a small business: book what we can, hit that target #. That’s a good thing. Especially in years where bookings seem hard to close, and we may take whoever is willing to actually follow through, doing what we have to do to stay afloat is essential. Years that our industry is in high demand, and we can book for record-breaking profits, this can later cause pure editing chaos.
We forget when we’re closing sales, that we’re also the ones who have to handle that work order later. We’re optimistic that we’ll simply “do better” than the previous year when Fall hits again. We may not even be thinking that far in advance as to what our editing workload is going to look like. Not to mention, we never expect the unexpected: family emergency, illness, opportunities we can’t pass up.
What I’m proposing is a change in your process with turnarounds. Something that gives you leeway to actually breathe when you need to:
ranged ETAs (estimated turnaround) or staggered CTAs (contractual turnaround).
A ranged ETA gives you flexibility, without forcing you to edit ASAP. You anticipate setting a few weeks aside, or know you’ll have an opportunity to stay seated in the editing room to get through a few edits. This is not great for procrastinators (myself included) who may turn leeway into a pressure cooker for every edit anyway (back to the same issues).
Let’s say your ETA is 4-6 months. This gives you the ability to turnaround close to 4 months (or before) at the start of your crazy season, while allowing you to go closer to 6 if you’re in the thick of post-production.
If you prefer hard deadlines, specific dates to deliver, a staggered turnaround is your better option. In this situation, every booking you take, you extend that film’s turnaround by an additional 3 weeks, maybe longer. For example:
– July 4th, 8 weeks, due 08/29
– July 11th, 10 weeks, due 09/19
– July 18th, 12 weeks, due 10/10
and so on for back to back weddings. Have a 2 or 3 week gap between bookings? You can consider resetting that next wedding’s CTA to 8 weeks.
This allows you to book all the weddings you want, and provide not only a fair turnaround to you but also a more accurate one to your couples. Allow yourself or your editor a grace period for stubborn films, sick days and all the unexpected roadblocks that happen.
Remember, couples are booking you. You’re booking your editing commitments too. Give yourself a chance to regroup after each edit for a fresher mind and enjoy the process again.