Rush Projects: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By Josh Gold

Today, I want to talk about a popular approach to creating video: the fast way.

Some project ideas are part of a long-term strategy, carefully planned, scheduled, and implemented. Others arrive a little more off the cuff. Say you, or your boss, or your client is struck with inspiration. You realize you have a great opportunity on your hands; you see a chance to capitalize on a trend or be a part of current, headlining news.

It’s going to take a lot of effort to get a rush job like this out in time. Sometimes, when a project like this lands in my lap, I find that my clients are hoping to pull it off in just a few weeks, if not less.

Whenever this happens, I always work with my clients to make a list of pros and cons. The upside is pretty obvious: completing the project when and how you intended. If you’re shooting to launch it at a specific event or in response to something time-sensitive, this might just be the way to go.

What I’ve found, though, is that people don’t spend enough time considering the costs of rushing.

My goal is to give you a better picture of all the elements in play so the next time you find yourself in this kind of situation, you’ll be able to weigh the options and be empowered to move forward.

So, what are the downsides of rushing?

Paying more, getting less

Usually, we pay more in pursuit of a higher quality product. Rush projects, on the other hand, run up a bill because the difficulty level is so prohibitive.

Throwing something together at the last minute requires extra ingenuity and resourcefulness. It’s stressful and exhausting for everyone involved.

But while you’re paying a premium, the fact of the matter is that rushing is, on its own, a risky gambit. The creative process takes time; the need for speed means that you won’t have that time. You won’t be able to fully brainstorm, to reflect on your initial ideas, to let them settle and grow to their full potential.

Detail work might need to be sacrificed a little here and there. It can be difficult to manage communication between all the different people giving their input, since there may not be time to wait for the responses you need.

Rushing also means that you’re more liable to make mistakes, and you may not have the time or financial resources to correct them properly.

Less time than you think

This communication breakdown leads us into another issue. Things take more time than you think, especially when they involve multiple parties. You’ll be juggling the schedules of your film crew, the talent, and anyone else who is part of the process. You’ll need to factor in peoples’ other projects, vacations, and unforeseen conflicts.

So when you’re attempting a last minute project, just remember that it’s even more last minute than you realize.

Value earned, value lost

There’s usually a reason you’re trying to make this video right now. No matter the quality of the video, you may think the opportunity in front of you is too good to pass up.

You may well be right. On the other hand, ask yourself what other opportunities you may lose out on because you’ve decided to take this chance. If you spend your resources here, is there something else you’ll need to forego down the line?

What returns do you expect to see for this video? And what returns might you expect to see for a different video that you have the time to properly plan, strategize, and produce – made for the same cost, or possibly less?

This is the way I always end up posing the dilemma for my clients. What has the greater cost: waiting or rushing?

Sometimes, the launch date is out of your control, and a rush job really is the only option. But the next time this subject arises, you now know what questions to ask. You can let your boss or client know your hesitations and make an informed decision about how to proceed.

What do you think? Are rush jobs unavoidable? Are they worth the trade-offs? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Josh Gold, owner of Serio Films, has helped nonprofits raise millions of dollars through video-based marketing. You can follow Josh and his team over at and To get more discussions like these right to your inbox, sign up for their newsletter.