First Shoot Day

5 TIPS TO SAVE SANITY AND TIME ON THE FIRST DAY OF PRODUCTION

– by Claudine Marrotte

Your actors, crew, schedule and
locations are locked and now it’s time to actually shoot. From my
experience the most exciting part of filmmaking is being on set
making the script come to life. The first day of your shoot sets the
tone with cast and crew and here are some tips on how to build the
confidence of your staff and “make your day” (which in the AD
world means you shot what is on the schedule successfully.)

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Tip #1: Schedule a “make-able day” 

This is the
most important thing to do on the first day. The cast and crew is
invested in the project creatively and if they do not believe the
people steering the ship are in control they will be tentative in
sharing their talents freely. With that in mind if you have a smooth
day that wraps on time the crew will feel confident and energized
that they are in good hands and will give everything they have and
more to make it the best project possible. Respecting people’s time
and talents are the key to building that trust.

Tip #2: Avoid company moves 

Moving from one location to another, whether it be stunts, driving shots or large crowd scenes, all of these things take time and tremendous
logistics to run smoothly. If at all possible wait a few days for
the actors and director to get there groove before you add logistics to performance.

Tip # 3: Call Sheets

Set an intention that you share with
the crew top of day so they understand what they are required to do
to make the day a success. Most people will use a Call Sheet to give the crew
exact scene numbers that will be shot for the day so they can prepare properly. Here is an
example:  http://howtofilmschool.com/free-call-sheet/

Tip # 4: Organize Rehearsals

Blocking rehearsal with department
heads also aids in making sure that the crew is clear on the
director’s vision for each scene and gives them a chance to clarify
any open questions and to fix any problems on the the fly so there is
no delay once the actors come to set.

Tip # 5: Wrap Early

I know this sounds
counter-intuitive. However, it really is a confidence builder and
allows the crew to rest up. Most of the crew are running on
adrenaline from prep and need a good night’s rest. Give them the
space to do that and they will be ready to run the marathon that is
filmmaking with you.

And that’s a wrap on Day One!

 

Follow Claudine Marrotte on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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