July 26, 2023

Apocalypse How? Recovering from Embarrassing Professional Mistakes on Set

Every seasoned production professional has a horror story from set about their most embarrassing mistakes. From minor office foibles of sending the wrong email to ordering regular gasoline for a diesel-only production vehicle or forgetting to label boxes of film sent to the editor so they are accidentally x-rayed at the airport and completely ruined, forcing you to book costly reshoots with an A-list actress (two real-life examples witnessed – but NOT committed! - by the author).


It never feels good to make a mistake. But since we are human and the generative AI algorithm does not yet exist that prevents humans from making mistakes, let's explore the art of recovering gracefully after committing a major blunder in the film production office.  

Own It like a Director

Once you realize you've made a major mistake, don't run and hide in the editing room. Instead, take a deep breath and face the music head-on.

Remember, every successful film professional - at every level of production - has made their fair share of mistakes, but it's how they handle them that sets them apart.

Admit your error openly and honestly, without pointing fingers or making excuses. Show your colleagues that you're accountable and willing to take responsibility for your actions. Note: this will probably

Learn from Your "Cut" Mistake

We all know that mistakes are a part of life, but in the film industry, they can sometimes feel larger than life. Use your blunder as a valuable learning experience.

Reflect on what went wrong and how you could have avoided it. Seek feedback from your colleagues or superiors to gain insights and perspectives that can help you grow.

Embrace the lesson learned and make a mental note to never repeat the same mistake again. Remember, even the greatest filmmakers make edits to their work.

Embrace the Power of Humor

Laughter is the best medicine, even in the face of a major blunder. Approach your mistake with a healthy dose of humor.

Humor helps lighten the tension, shows that you're not taking yourself too seriously, and can even bring your colleagues closer together.

However, be cautious with your humor, ensuring it doesn't undermine the seriousness of the situation. A touch of wit can go a long way in diffusing tension and rebuilding camaraderie.

Don't Dwell on the Cutting Room Floor

When a major mistake occurs, it's easy to get caught up in feelings of guilt, shame, or regret.  

But remember, dwelling on the cutting room floor won't bring back lost footage.

Instead, channel your energy into moving forward. Accept that the mistake happened, learn from it, and focus on how to improve moving forward. Dwelling on the past will only hinder your ability to grow and excel in your role.

Seek Support from the Production Crew

In a film production office, you're part of a team. And just like a well-coordinated film crew, your colleagues are there to support you.

Reach out to your teammates and seek their guidance. Share your experience and ask for advice on how to recover.

Remember, the film industry is built on collaboration, so don't be afraid to lean on your crew for support.

Develop a "Shot List" for Improvement

Every film production needs a detailed shot list, and so does your recovery plan.

Identify specific actions you can take to prevent similar mistakes in the future. It could be implementing double-checking procedures, setting reminders, or developing new protocols.

By creating a personalized shot list for improvement, you'll be better equipped to navigate potential pitfalls and set yourself up for success.

Rebuild Trust, One Take at a Time

After a major mistake, rebuilding trust can feel like a daunting task.

However, with persistence and consistent effort, you can regain the confidence of your colleagues and superiors! Deliver exceptional work, meet deadlines, and go above and beyond expectations.

By consistently demonstrating your dedication and professionalism, you'll gradually restore trust and prove that you're more than just a one-take wonder.


Working in a film production office can sometimes feel like more drama than the film you’re creating! Mistakes are bound to happen, but it's how you recover from them that defines your professional growth. Remember, the film industry is all about collaboration, innovation, and resilience. So, cut! Take a deep breath, learn from your blunders, and get back behind the camera with newfound wisdom. Your blockbuster success story awaits!

The Revolution Team

Recent Posts

See All

Navigating the World of Production Accounting on-set and in corporate set-up: Interview with Amy Chew

Read More

From USC Film graduate to Vice President Ryann’s Inspiring Journey – Part 1

Read More

Are film schools/ business schools important for Entertainment careers? How do you establish your own production company from scratch? – Ryann's Inspiring Journey – Part 2

Read More
Have a question? You can reach us at (866) 618-9428 and [email protected]​.