Be Nice

By Greg Pak
Even when everyone around you has transformed into a total moron, be nice. Seriously. Disregard stories about John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock humiliating cast and crew to good effect. You’re not working for a studio and paying people tons of dough for the privilege of being abused by you. Most likely, your cast and crew are working for very little if any money at all. Even when they screw up, they will respond best to firm but civil correction.
This is particularly true when dealing with places like post houses. When they screw up your dailies (as they eventually will), you can pitch a fit, whine and groan, insult each worker and his or her family with scathing, satisfying rancor. But this will not get you better service — and in fact may cause you to lose the little bonuses you could get.
The reality is that most labs will readily correct any mistakes they make — for free. And the mistakes are seldom permanent — I’ve made six 16mm films and only one roll of negative has ever been scratched by a lab. Instead, typical lab mistakes include scratching a print (not the negative), making video dailies with the image off center, etcetera. Your best strategy is to clearly point out the problem and request a redo. Now if they want to charge you for the redo, you may need to show a little more fire… But all the shouting is seldom necessary.