To Sacrifice or Not To Sacrifice
Nothing! Sacrifice nothing for your story.
In a perfect world, that sentiment works. But if you work within the independent film world then you already know that you are faced daily with a choice of what to sacrifice. Whether it's a scene or a line of dialogue. Maybe it's an extra round of coverage. Something inevitably crops up threatening your plans and you must make a compromise.
For me, there are certain items I will not sacrifice. Sound. With the exception of bad acting (which you can control in the casting process), there's nothing that will destroy the connection between your story and its audience faster than bad sound. A bad sound mix in a movie is like someone screaming in your ear while you watch. You notice it. It affects you. You grow to hate the experience.
With apologies to cinematographers and directors of photography, you can get away with sub-standard visuals if you have a good story and you're telling it well. But you cannot overcome bad sound. I've watched plenty of indie films where the acting is phenomenal, the story is compelling, but the visuals are not clean and crisp. And it worked.
Sound is something I won't sacrifice. What about you? What are you willing to preserve? What are you okay with sacrificing?