The day of any production will be stressful. There are chances that you can’t miss and deadlines up the wazoo. This series of how-to shoot picks up from talent casting and product display. You can begin the series here. Don’t panic. Millions have been through this before and their advice can help. Even the best need a basic refresher. We’ve boiled down the essentials with a few bonus tips so you can make the most out of your studio time.
Let’s break this down into three categories. The first is the list of things to do the day before the shoot. Then the things you must do the day of the shoot. And finally, the things you should never do during a shoot.
The Night Before
Remember to get everyone on the same page. This means confirming arrival times with all cast and crew members and arranging rides for talent if necessary. Gather all your equipment. Itemize any expensive components for insurance purposes. Charge any batteries or electrical devices so they are ready for the long day ahead. Review the contracts. You will specs to cover within the contract with the client. You will want a checklist of shots to procure to fulfill the contract. Any vendors you use such as a studio, talent, or crew will have their own contracts and guidelines. Make sure everything is accessible in case there are contradictions the day of. Your studio contract may be digital. This an awesome convenience. Get a good night’s rest and prepare for madness.
Must Do’s During Shot Days
On Time Means Early
Arrive on set 15 minutes before your call time. This may mean waiting patiently in our near your vehicle but that’s just part of being responsible. Who knows, traffic could hold you up that little bit of time.
Check That List
Make sure all equipment, crew, talent, and products made it on time. This might require the help of a specific crew member tasked with such responsibility. That’s why checklists come in handy, and include phone numbers to crew and vendors for easy contact.
Keep On Schedule
When you book your shoot, you should have a specific working time. Plan for breaks and know what shots you need at each point. Use breaks to review the collected materials and gauge how you are doing against the clock.
Polite and Proper
Be mindful of other productions at work in your area. This also includes the way you treat the facilities you will share with another unit afterwards. We are all a community so work together. Wrapping early to clean the set is always a solid notion. It’s the right thing to do and the best way to ensure you didn’t leave anything valuable behind.
Don’t Do Any of These
Order New Equipment
You’re wasting valuable time and crew labor when you don’t have everything you need on set. Sending a P.A. out to grab lunch or some general item is not a major pitfall. However, relying on him to return on a Saturday shoot with a matte silver lens flag is the sign of an undisciplined production unit. Unless you can get it from 7-11, don’t send someone out for it.
Over Eat or Do Too Much Coffee
The snacks can be outrageously delicious. Have you had these thingies from Costco… Not important. You are here to work. Yes, proper catering can help provide sustenance for the grueling days of a shoot. This can have a positive or negative effect on the mood of the crew and the overall shoot. The point is to be productive. Over-engaging in any activity can be bad. From an experienced stagehand take this advice, cut out the red bull and leave the excessive weed smoking to guys with handlebar mustaches.
It does happen. You don’t always get the day you want and reshoots might be inevitable. Don’t assume you can keep the shoot going through the night. You need to know ahead of time if the studio, your crew, rental equipment, and talent are available. Know these factors and check them throughout the day. If you need overtime and it is possible then you have that window open.
Go Ballistic and…
Freak out! Just remain calm and focus on what needs to be done and what you can control. Being on set can have the same implications as an emergency situation. Even if you are dealing with a medical emergency on set, you follow the same functions. Remain calm, contact a person who knows what to do. Then treat the situation with as much care and attention as possible.
We will wrap up this series next week with Review Photos Before Leaving.