Noellia. ©2015 Kirk Tuck.
Fun but not related to the content below...
In the aftermath of the great recession businesses are having to re-learn some old lessons. One I had to re-learn last week is that it's very possible for a one person business to be too busy. In fact, it's very possible for a whole town to be too busy. Let me explain.
I am booked on video and photographic projects every week day this month except for a little chunk of time that spans the 19th through the 21st. I try not to book work on the weekends because invariably that becomes the time when we repair stuff that broke the week before, and it's the time that post production always seems to spill over into. But having lived (barely) through the Great Recession I still find it hard to turn down work. Even if I intellectually understand that it would be better to do so. We're always trying to make hay while the sun shines. We're always trying to offset those lean years in the past and put away a bit more for the future lean years that seem to come as regularly as tax season.
On the 22nd of the month I begin a large, corporate project that will occupy my every waking moment until Monday the 26th. The job has lots of moving parts, is partially in conjunction with Formula One, and is a high profile assignment. I need to do pre-production on this one to make sure all the parts work. And, it's been on the books for months.
But, of course, someone called from a production company in the mid-west with a very large project and the shoot dates would be the 19th and the 21st. The project is for a very large technology company and would require me to use a number of assistants and no small inventory of rental gear to do correctly. The creative brief is still in transition, which is also a very scary thing.
At first I thought I might be able to handle it but before I committed I wanted to walk through all the steps with my video guy because, even though the project is still photo-centric, all the pieces will be edited together as stop frame video. We agreed on a lighting design and the staffing requirements and I got on the phone to check on those resources. Well, my two favorite groups of grips and other crew members are all booked on movies, TV shows and on a giant trade show, that week. I also needed a grip truck and 12 four by four Kino fluorescent lighting units. Only eight of the lights are available in Austin. We could truck in the rest from Dallas or Houston....
The more I looked at pre-production the more the job seemed to grow in scope. While I would love the prospective client's money, and might have been able to sub out a lot of the moving parts to unknown and unproven contractors I knew in my gut that I just didn't have the bandwidth to do this project justice. And I couldn't think of anything that would be worse than going into a job half-assed and then having to leave the client in strangers' hands as I rushed off to start another tough and lengthy project. Too much to go wrong.
I called back and declined the project. But instead of just walking away I spent some time putting together the information I'd distilled about process and also gave the production company the names of the people (other than me) who are best suited to do work of this scope, here in Austin. I wish them luck but I know they are better off with someone who can focus all their energy on getting the job done. You can't accept everything. You can't do it all.