Filmmakers Global Network ::
Community Spotlight with Doug Tschirhart
Producer, Director, Editor
I consider myself a Producer, but I have been an AD, Director, Editor, and have worked probably every job in the film industry. Currently, I run a production company, Scatter Brothers Productions, that produces about 80% commercial/industrial videos and 20% creative and narrative projects. During COVID-19 my team has pivoted to more post-production, but we have been very lucky to still have work. We are finding a lot of businesses want to get messages out or share what they are doing to stay open or get customers to still shop or dine with them. On top of this, my Producing partner and I have optioned a script for a thriller/horror film that is currently in the process of getting funding. We hope to be able to shoot it in late 2020 or early 2021.
My production process really depends on the project. And a lot of that has gone out the window with COVID-19. Typically, for a commercial project, it all begins with what we call discovery, in which we find out everything we can about the company or client we are working with. This allows us to help them come up with a concept for the commercial. We find that a lot of clients don’t necessarily know what they want it to look like, they may just have keywords or taglines. From there we work with them on a script and go into pre-production. Every production is different, some are small crews of a couple of people – Director, DP, audio, PA – and sometimes we have a large crew that allows for grips and additional help. Once the video is shot, an assistant editor will put together an assembly. I have a background in editing, so I’ll usually take over post and tighten up the cut and polish it. Our creative projects, music videos, short films, features, etc. have a similar process, but usually take more time and people to execute.
Challenge & Solution:
There’s a ton – I always say that being a Producer is basically just putting out fires and finding to solutions to problems. One that I always think about was on a film I was producing, the script required an Aquarium. We reached out to the local aquarium and they set a meeting with us. When we got to the meeting, the director of the aquarium didn’t even sit down and told us “no” – we couldn’t shoot there. I’ve been declined a location before – but never in person or that quickly. We had to scramble to find a place. We had to think outside the box. Our options were to either build one (not really feasible with our budget) or find a new location. Luckily I found a small children’s museum that had an “aquarium” – basically a big fish tank. It wasn’t the original vision, but in the end it became one of the best scenes in the film!
3 Production Tips:
My first tip is always a big one for me, as much as filmmaking and production are a creative field, I always suggest learning the business side. We spend a lot of time selling our services, our business and ourselves. It’s not fun, but it’s how you will continue to work and allow you to make the projects you want to make. Another tip would be to just keep going. There will be times when you want to give up or find another job, and people will tell you to, but just keep going. The last thing, which is really important, if you are shooting outside on a hot, sunny day, WEAR SUNSCREEN! Trust me…