Monday, 21 July 2014

All new problems: Filming

I think allowing the cast and crew opportunities to vent their inevitable tiredness and nervous energy should be encouraged but, none the less, be kept in check and never be allowed to cause serious delays in filming.

This post comes from a highly regarded dissertation length reflection piece I wrote for the Planning and Making a Film module I undertook in the penultimate year of my BA (Hons). The module's practice was undertaken between October 2011 to June 2012 and it provided me with a hugely enriching experience. For a more detailed overview of the module and the projects I undertook as a part of it, see Planning and Making a Film: The student filmmaking experience.

For One Door Opened we were very fortunate to have complete control over the filming location. This helped immensely in turning the set into a calm and fun filming environment; it was also a huge and relieving improvement on the experience of filming Where will it all stop.
Tiredness and nervous energy, two things that are not surprising on a film set, can cause people to get quite giggly [what I was trying to say is that people can become bloody avoidant of things that intimidate/worry/tire them - beware of willful blindness!]. I think there were points during filming when the “fun” got a bit too intrusive and lead to delays in filming: delays that were felt at the end of both days! 

I think allowing the cast and crew opportunities to vent their inevitable tiredness and nervous energy should be encouraged but, none the less, be kept in check and never be allowed to cause serious delays in filming. Not that we did have any serious delays but we probably would have got things done quicker if we hadn’t side tracked. 

The reason why I have brought it up is because I know at a couple of points it annoyed Helena; at one point she warned everyone to: “Think of your grade, guys!”

I’m not being a killjoy but behaviour like this should be curtailed if it starts to annoy the performers because then it starts being unprofessional. I think for the Planning and Making a Film module this is something, like directing, that might be worth having a Masterclass on. As ensuring the crew is on task and remain in a state of professional focus is, I believe, equally as important as ensuring that the performers do. 

Another time waster we encountered came with communication or lack off. As the front door was thicker than we had first anticipated it proved incredibly hard to communicate with Rich when he was outside and we were filming with Helena inside.

Therefore, we worked out a system where Matt would be on the phone outside with Rich… 

 …and then, on the other end, I would tell them when Tish shouted action or cut.

However, to avoid the microphone picking Matt up on my phone I then had to move to the conservatory…

… and peek through the window waiting for the okay sign from Tish, to tell Matt, to tell Richard, action or cut. It was only after nearly an hour of doing this that I realised I could have just stood on the other side of the window next to Matt.

During the planning stage this “small” problem had been something that we had not considered but we would have saved a tremendous amount of time and miscommunication if we had! Therefore, assessing the logistics of your location in terms of communication between performer and director needs to always be considered and planned for.

Another factor that was missing from the planning stage was a storyboard; I was surprised when Tish said that she didn’t need one. Her reasoning was that because she was going to make a shot list a storyboard would be redundant. On set, though, its absence was felt as it dawned on Taylor and myself how much time it would have saved. Instead of waiting for Tish to tell us what shot we needed to set up we could have just looked at the storyboard for the this information.

Then Tish could have been briefing Helena or Rich while we did this and we would saved quite a bit of time in the process. I think a storyboard is definitely an invaluable piece of kit and, whether or not the director wants one, I think it is the director’s responsibility to supply one for the rest of the crew, as it will save time.

Overall, barring these few mishaps and setbacks, the experience of shooting One Door Opened I found to be incredibly enjoyable and the complete opposite of filming Where will it all stop; of which I have already expressed considerable displeasure. As the shoot was across two days, opposed to just one, there was less stress and this extra time gave us the opportunity to swap roles, which I always love doing. I certainly feel that I have gained much more from this shoot and I know the group enjoyed doing it.

Next: It's Too Dark: Lighting - lighting is important - ignore this at your own peril!

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