One huge tip I learned over the years to really appreciate, was from Josh “Listmaster” Mellicker – the CEO of DVcreators.net. The tip may seem extremely basic, if you’re like me, you may even initially scoff it off, but later you’ll remember these words and find them to be invaluable.
The tip, before every shoot – ALWAYS MAKE A LIST.
In the office anytime you heard “Make a list!” you knew something important was about to go down. Before we run out the door to any shoot, we print a copy of our checklist. Every item is physically picked-up and checked off the list, and then more importantly, everything is double-checked again. I can tell you from my experience during hundreds of productions that the simple checklist has saved me from disaster numerous times.
Seems simple? Yes, it can be. Video production isn’t like going to the grocery store where you can keep a mental checklist without serious consequences. Most of the time, when a gig is going down, there are no second chances – no take two – or time to wait, go back and get a certain item. You either “bring home the bacon” or you don’t.
I vividly recount the horror story of a new hire saying “Ya ya, I personally checked it all off.” He checked it off alright – only to arrive at an important event with NO TAPES!
Professionals and experts learn from their mistakes. One difference between the Pro and the Amateur is that the Pro often learned the hard way and won’t make the mistake again. Just like the Boy Scouts, you’ll benefit from their motto, “Be Prepared.” Sometimes you have to take a few arrows in the back and remember the pain for it to really sink in. Do you think that new hire will ever forget tape stock again?
Consider the checklist to be one of your most valuable professional tools. Learn from our mistakes so you don’t forget an important item. Make it easier on yourself. You’ll be more relaxed when you know you got the goods.
I’d like to share with you one of our lists called the “DV Gear Checklist.” You can download our printable PDF version or the raw Excel Spreadsheet to customize. Don’t have Excel? Check out the open source software NeoOffice.