Four minutes before I yell action to start the movie, one of the producers pulls me aside in a panic. I tell him, whatever it is, don't tell me now. I'm about to direct. Tell me in six hours. Producer: We need to shut down the movie tomorrow.
Me: What now?
Producer: We need another $11,000 to pay the actors.
Producer: We have to pay the actors their rehearsal days.
Me: Why? We read the SAG handbook - there's nothing explicit on rehearsal days. Besides, in their auditions, all our actors specifically agreed to work for free. Why are we suddenly paying them all this money?
Producer: We didn't get the actors' contracts signed in time. Now that we're shooting, their managers have us over the barrel. Two of the managers won't back down. One of them won't have their actress come on set tomorrow if she doesn't get her own trailer and makeup room.
Me: A trailer? Are you kidding me? That's more than our entire budget. How did this happen?
Producer: I'm trying to work it out with her manager.
Me: You need $11,000 by tomorrow morning?
Me: I'll get it for you.
Me: Don't worry about it. I'll get. Now don't bother me with this stuff before I'm about to direct! I'll talk to you in six hours when I'm done for the night.
On our first day of shooting we still haven't signed actor contracts.
It gets worse
As the actors take their marks and I prepare to call action, the homeowner pulls me aside and starts yelling at me. It seems one of the producers lost the garage clicker. The homeowner swears he will shut down my production if we don't find his garage clicker.
I patiently listen. I nod my head. Everyone wants to shut down the production today. Even for a garage clicker.
I make sure the actors are still pumped up for a 100 minute take. I slap fives with the actors and call action. What else can I do?