If anything can go wrong it will go wrong, and- I might add- at the most
There is an addendum to Murphy’s law particular to the production business. If business is slow, the
sure-fire way to increase it is to plan a vacation or family event. No matter if it is the end of June and it is
97 degrees, plan a trip and you will be inundated with projects. The more expensive the trip the higher
the budget of the shoot or project. You will be forced to decide. And apparently they all “have to have
you to make it work”. The science behind this is limited but I assure you it is true!
What a playground for Murphy our business is! Take our show “South Beach Classics” that we are
currently working on its fifth season. The show is all about buying, selling and trading classic cars, so we
are working with 60-year-old cars in the hot Florida sun, with two cameras, several wireless mics,
wireless monitors, professional talent Ted Vernon and not so professional talent like his customers. How
could anything go awry there?
When shooting a few weeks ago, wouldn’t you know it the AC broke the morning of filming! Lovely. We
didn’t know if it was hotter outside or in the showroom. As many of you know the cars of 40, 50 and 60
years ago were not near as reliable as today’s cars, so we are constantly behind schedule due to “car
problems”. And it’s not just us! Seinfeld and Leno also have these problems and they showcase them on
On our History show, “It’s How You Get There” we encounter Murphy at every turn. You throw in the
cars, motorcycles, trucks and ATV elements with public streets, and possible safety issues? And if you’ve
worked with us you know safety issues is a zero tolerance area for Accord Productions’ projects, so
Murphy has to be met head-on (sorry) so that he is not allowed to make a dangerous situation. This
involves exhaustive preparing for every “what if” under the sun.
When I first started in the production business ( a day or two ago) the equipment was a constant active
spot for Murphy. With today’s equipment, Murphy has fewer areas to strike but he is still there,
especially with the wireless gear. Some areas of the country (Miami being one of them) it is very hard to
find “available” channels i.e. bad audio or malfunctioning video equipment. Cameras today have
fewer technical problems but more menus and settings that if set wrong can create problems with
matching or editing, so our lead DP’s are always double-checking.
In the “olden days” I would worry on every film job as to whether we got what we needed, if it was
scratched, about gate problems or any of a dozen other things that could happen with film. I would not
sleep well until we got our film back from the lab. Those worries were reduced by the advent of tape
and now by media cards. But Murphy loves to wreak havoc on those too. The weapon against it there is
a good media manager and a system of backing up and redundancy. I promise you that the minute you
do not back something up or have redundancy, you are going to have “corrupted data” and your day,
week or month will be ruined. Accord even offers recovery of corrupted data but we strive not to have
to use this service for our projects!
Have a shoot on location? Murphy loves locations! You are guaranteed that whatever location you are
shooting, it will have the once a month yard work happening that day with loud blowers, or major road
construction or loud building maintenance- or all of the above- at the time you are shooting dialogue shots.
Murphy will also make sure that if you are shooting near an airport that the wind will blow in such a way that they will
re-route planes right over your location. Murphy is really good at that one.
Currently, more shows are in development and more of our crews are working on two or three projects
at one time. What could possibly go wrong? A big part of my job is to answer that question before it
happens and to have a solution. I’m in the production business, Murphy is practically a coworker at this
point- one I’d like to fire but for some reason we just can’t shake him. My advice? Prepare for the worst,
hope for the best, when given the option between laughing or crying and pulling your hair out- try
laughter. Or go bald. Either works.