I'm curious, forgive me if it's a random question.

For a larger production, if you were told "Get all foley done by (blank)" and you weren't done in time, what would happen?

Do you ask for an extension from the Supervising Sound Editor? Do you get deep-sixed? Do you get docked pay? Gallows?

I've never really thought of this.

Just curious.

6 Answers 6


A properly managed & supervised soundtrack should not have any 'suddenly missing a deadline' moments - the supervisor should have had run throughs to see the current state of the foley, in the weeks prior to the deadline. And would be in constant contact to know where you are up to in terms of meeting the deadline. If the deadline was in jeopardy then the supervisor should manage that situation.

Other than an actual disaster, missing a deadline is not an option. For a film schedule, the predubs are scheduled one after the other (& sometimes in parallel) so you can't not be ready when your predub starts, or it may put the entire films mix schedule in jeopardy & there may be delivery deadlines (for festival or market screening or premiere) that cannot be missed out the end. No one wants to lose a day of final mix time because you werent ready for your predub.

Obviously no one predubs a whole films worth of foley (or whatever) in one day, so part of your job is to reverse prioritise ie foley predub starts with Reel 1, so it should be completed ready for predub first, then R2 etc... if the schedule was so tight you had to work a weekend to be ready with the latter reels then so be it. Another option is to predub what is ready & return to areas that need additional work - this happens with late ADR sometimes...

But I can also say this: putting together a good team of people involves trust and trust is developed over time & with experience - you are being trusted to deliver your work to a deadline, and if you let the team down then I would suspect your future involvement in that team could be put in jeopardy.

  • Exactly. Pre post meetings are crucial to the film- especially when it comes to SFX editing and foley. This helps you to understand the film, what feel is required and that the entire team is on the same page. Deadlines are deadlines and they are budgeted for accordingly. Not to be messed with.
    – oinkaudio
    Oct 1, 2010 at 8:48

Here are my thoughts:

There are two kinds of deadlines: real deadlines and false deadlines.

Real deadlines involve money. For example, you're working on a mix for a TV spot where the air time is already purchased. Or you're working on a mix for a film that is already booked in a festival. Or you're doing voice production or sound design for a game that has a hard ship date.

Generally, when people have already spent money and made commitments for things that happen after your step in the production process then you're up against a real hard deadline.

If you're part of an audio production team like in a film, then your short term and long term deadlines affect every other member of the post production team.

If you have either left the studio or slept in the days leading up to a hard deadline and you miss that deadline then you've made a huge error that will have significant impact on your career and business.

Even if you haven't slept or left the office you've made the same error, but your wrongdoing is more on the front end of the project than the back.

If you find yourself in a situation where you're up against a hard deadline that you can tell you won't be able to meet, then you have to call in help. Break the project into a couple of pieces and outsource them to get it done. Even if it costs you money in the short term, it'll cost you less over time.

Really, the rule of thumb is to never miss a hard deadline.

The other types of deadlines are false deadlines. False deadlines are still good to hit, but the consequences are far less dire.

False deadlines are when the client would like to the audio mix by tomorrow so that he can have a few days of buffer before he has to send it out on his hard deadline. Or when you ask for a deadline and the client really doesn't have one at all, so he just spits out an unrealistic date because he doesn't know what it takes to make his works sound good.

False deadlines are negotiable, but they must be negotiated explicitly and well in advance of the deadline passing by. Also, no one calls them false deadlines, and you shouldn't either. Just try to find out exactly what happens once you deliver the audio, and you'll get a sense of how real your deadline is.


I'm not sure, but as Transducr said - will vary greatly on who you're dealing with and the situation. If you have a good relationship with your client, it will probably be less of an issue. Or if someone else screwed up, causing you to slip and there was nothing you could do to salvage it, then again, the political situation is manageable I assume.

However, and I really hope this doesn't sound patronising (and I'm stating the obvious anyway), hitting deadlines is of course your own responsibility, no matter how tight the schedule - if you sign up to the task, you have to deliver. So in that light, there's no such thing as not making a deadline.


Haha...Well, I'd expect it might vary greatly depending on who you're working for and what the overall situation is.


It might be okay the first time (depends) but if it happens more than once you just might not be approached for work again.

  • the first time is often the last time in my world.
    – Rene
    Sep 29, 2010 at 13:27

General rules for Game studios and publishers - missing a milestone deadline you are jepordising the studios income for that milestone. Miss a submission deadline then you are talking the loss of lots of money and the product shipdate being moved. Miss a shipdate then your screwed :) If you've passed submission then the game ships whatever state it is in. But in reality Audio plays quite a small part in the bigger picture or game development deadlines, and you have to be doing a pretty bad job not to realise a deadline is going to be missed a long time before it happens - and in these cases you should always have a plan B and C.

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