The trick to successful film and television production (and pretty much everything in life) is planning, then step by step execution. Production, at its best, should be art by the numbers, not a freeform experiment in hoping something good happens in front of the camera. You make the spot long before you make the spot. Production comes loaded with variables: talent, weather, overages. A tight plan is how you reduce your variables, you lock down what’s lockable, you know what’s knowable. A shoot day can easily cost $250,000. That is not the time to plan. It’s time to execute the plan. Along the way, you’ll be faced with new variables. (Hailstorm. The talent shows up drunk. The monkey bites the handler.) Get the predictable stuff nailed down ahead of time and you’ll be in better shape to handle what happens next. Because it will happen.