I’ve been building a lot more material onto submasters and multi-cue lists since I’ve been doing more film programming. As always, there are hard-earned lessons to be learned and I’d like to share one with you if you are newer to film like I am. If your Gaffer/DP likes an effect/submaster you’ve made, when they roll cameras, make three copies of it that use three copies of the original effect.
In my experience in movies, they want effects created very fast, with little to no warning, and they don’t want to see it being built. When you finally deliver them an effect they like, BET MONEY they will want it again, but “just a little different”. If it’s a directional effect, immediately make one that goes in the opposite direction. If you made an effect/sub that you included more parameters than you needed (color, for instance), then immediately make a copy without color in it. But make sure to make a few copies that are exactly the same, so you always have a copy you can tweak to suit what they want right now while keeping what they liked last time.
I wish I had thought of this sooner, because the moment I did, it was incredibly obvious. I never should have put myself in the position to choose between giving them what they want as fast as possible, or keeping the version they liked for another time. Hopefully this helps out some of you who are still (like me) learning your way around a movie set as a programmer.