I recently worked on a film challenge project where I was in charge of post sound. I can make all the excuses I want, but in the end, I ran out of time and the project suffered severely for it. The ADR didn't blend, didn't have time to do a proper mix pass, and sound effects didn't fit the scene at times. The only thing I could be proud of is the first scene, which was great.

My question is how do you mentally recover from such a failure.

5 Answers 5


To quote Thomas Edison "I have not failed. I've just found 10000 ways that won't work."

It's always a horrible feeling when you look back at something at realize it wasn't as good as you'd hoped. Look at this as an opportunity to discover some things about yourself. Maybe you don't want to work under those sort of conditions in future projects, so that will help you choose projects accordingly. You've also learned a great deal about how fast you CAN do things. Also take this opportunity to look at what was most important to the project, versus those things you did that made little to no difference. This will help when you do have a tight deadline in prioritizing the things that will make the biggest impact. All of this basically is, as Ryan says, to help you learn from those mistakes.

Finally this thought. You DID finish... and that counts for something in itself - especially in Film Challenges. I help organize one of those around here, and I guarantee you, for every film that's on the screen - there were 2 or 3 that got started and never finished.

  • The quote from Edison really sums it. Progression and things that work come from finding out things that definitely don't work. Commented Jul 4, 2013 at 23:30

It's all like what Ryan said, but laced with my own experience.

I went through a similar experience at the start of my career. I took on a tv project that I thought I was prepared to handle but when shit hit the fan, and things didn't go the way I wanted it, I was basically praying/hoping that whatever I did would get through tx without actually knowing if whatever I did was what was needed to get it approved. It got to a point where I was sleep deprived and getting massive panic attacks throughout the day.

What I got out of the whole horrid experience was that I got better. I didn't finish the project, but I continued to work on others, and slowly my confidence returned. It's like getting into a car accident. We can't stop driving just because we almost died or killed someone. It doesn't make us a better driver to stop. But to continue driving, we'll slowly and surely get better at it, and the fear of getting into another accident will fuel us to be better drivers. So similarly, messing up on a project isn't a life and death situation. Move on by letting it go and taking on new projects.

A wise gaffer once told me 'we do what we do because it's the only we're good at and can do'. So if you believe in that, then maybe it may be easier to drag yourself through this mess.


i have always thought it is far more dangerous, personally, to under budget a project, than to over budget it. If you over budget, and have good communication with the prodicer then you can find ways to reduce it to a workable budget, and when you do that the producer knows what he isnt getting. But to underestimate means there is the potential to be compromised to the point of the project not being viable, and that sounds a bit like what has happened to you.

Confidence is good, but it does not replace experience, which is why working in an experienced team, and with a mentor is VERY important. You get to see what works, and what is mission critical. And if someone suggests you compromise those critical aspects and workable time resources, then alarm bells will start ringing!

Regardless of the outcome you will have learned some lessons you will never forget, and that is not insignificant. We all make mistakes, its only a problem if you dont learn from them and remember to never repeat them. I also try to learn from others mistakes, and you will realise with time you not only learned a lesson but gained an accute awareness that will bode you well forever more.

As homework, have you worked out what was actually required to do the job? People and time? That would be a valuable thing to do, so if you are ever presented the same scenario, you have a reference as to what is required to make it work.


As the old adage says, "You gotta jump right back up on the horse." We are human and make mistakes - what is most important is to learn from those mistakes. It is easier said than done I know, but the same things your parents, coach, teacher, etc. told you as a kid rings true throughout life.

The fear of failure is a driving force in good work, both because you want to make your client happy, but also because success feels good. Challenge yourself and you will be a better person for it. Good luck.


The others have it right, but if you acknowledge the points that went wrong, then you're already on a great path to success.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.