First 5 Things A Producer Does On A Movie Set by Zeke Zelker

Film Courage: You’ve said you run a tight ship on set?

Zeke Zelker, Writer/Director/Producer of the transmedia project BILLBOARDOh…I do.

Film Courage: That’s great. What are five things a director needs to do when they first arrive on set?

Zeke: Okay…so are you referring to just as a director? Or are you talking about a director-producer?

Film Courage: Let’s try a directorproducer.

Zeke: Okay, because that is what I do. I’ve never had the luxury of just being a director. That is why I have to ask that question because being a producer you are worried about money from day one.

What I do is I make sure that everybody’s on time. I’m extremely tough about that. I’ve fired people because they arrived late, straight up. Just because you have a key [grip] that is late and you have 10 people standing around even if they are 15 minutes late. 10 people times 15 is basically two and a half hours of time you’ve lost.

When you’re dealing with minuscule budgets, that kind of stuff adds up very quickly and that means money lost. I take that stuff extremely seriously.

I rehearse my actors. I know what I want. I don’t vacillate onset. I know what I need to cover because I’m thinking of the edit. I shoot for the edit and then I give some freedom. I’m very much a stickler upon my script, very much so. I don’t really allow much improv because again it comes down to budget.

With the web series we’d let a lot of improv jokes we had at different budget structure for that then we did for the feature film.

The one thing I try to do too is make breakfast for everybody. Just because 1) it puts me in the mindset of what I need to do for the day just by the repetition of doing things. Also 2) it’s a matter of welcoming people to the set that day and then also the idea of….(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

Check out the Billboard movie tour here!



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SAWGRASS on Youtube by Jack Peterson. Jack is an American filmmaker based in Chicago. He’s been featured in the New York Times, the Daily Beast, and ABC News for his work as an activist. His first feature film, Sawgrass, is a psychedelic journey through Florida, featuring an extensive interview with the brother of the Las Vegas shooter. Sawgrass also features a performance by the Rock-afire Explosion, a vintage animatronic band created by famed inventor Aaron Fechter. Jack’s next feature film, My Perfect Everything, tells the story of a magician chasing an imaginary woman he met in 1989. My Perfect Everything is currently in the early stages of pre-production.