What is Good Enough?

No shot is ever perfectly ready. Sooner or later you have to stop fussing and shoot hoping for the best. There are places to compromise in the fine-tuning of set quality, level of shot complexity, fancy camera moves, lighting etc. where we have to say, "It's good enough, we have to shoot."

Now "good enough" sounds like producing work only good enough to keep our jobs. "Good enough for government work." as the saying goes.

Let's consider the degree of perfection different departments go to, to make their individual contribution "perfect."

If any element is shoddy the whole shot will suffer. But if one element is much, much better than the rest of elements in the scene or it is hardly seen in the shot, then it is money and time down the toilet. That effort spent on one shot could have been spent making other shots better. If money is no object, this is not an issue.

But most shoots have deadlines and budgets. Maintaining a quality of film that is good enough but not a big compromise in quality is a balancing act. Creative people are often not concerned about budgets. It's those stupid producers that just don' t understand that are the problem. They have no idea what it takes to do a job the "right way."

Artists and technicians should have pride in their work and want to be able to show it with pride. But, if any of the expensive details they insist upon are hardly seen, then a lot of excuses will have to be made to blame others why the show as a whole doesn't quite make it.

We have to maintain a reasonable quality of work all the way through a show. In the middle of a show it is difficult to keep the enthusiasm that a show started with. There is often little film edited together to see and little reward for all the effort put in so far. Encouragement by a producer and/or director can sound like a broken record to keep you plugging along. The most common response I get from people in the middle of a long shoot when asked, "How is it going," is, "I just want to just get this thing finished and not screw up."

© Copyright 2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.