On Set (A Shoot Day Primer)

On set today for another reenactment drama, to play another daughter of someone who was killed or stalked or what have you.

Arrived for the courtesy van in midtown at 8am. Too early for someone who generally doesn’t get up early. The cast van was heavily populated– four wives, three daughters, two cops, one best friend– and we set off to Montclair.

Like the last shoot for Discovery ID, we shot at a large house in NJ. The living room served as an equipment depository (if you’ve never been on a film shoot, here is what will surprise you– there is a LOT more equipment than you think possible or necessary, and there are way more crew members than you ever thought possible. And yes, they all have different jobs, and Hayes, they all are crucial.)

We nestled up in a second floor den and a third floor bedroom, cooled only by tiny fans and a thin breeze coming through the open windows. Crafty arrived around 10:30, and we bustled downstairs to get coffee and granola bars and bagels and donuts and apples (crafty, or craft services, is the best. On both shoots for ID I’ve done, we had crafty from Trader Joe’s, which includes things like chocolate covered espresso beans and trail mix– yes!).

Around 11, we daughters were instructed to get into wardrobe for the wedding scene. The shooting of the scene basically involved the family (man/wife, 2 daughters) standing together and pretending to get a wedding photo taken. Getting these shots took about 45 minutes. Yes. On-camera stuff is slllooooowwww.

Since then, I have just been bopping around on location. It is 6:30pm,I’ve been here since 9am, finished my shots at 11:45am, and I have literally nothing to do.

This is how film stuff goes, I suppose, I just wish I wasn’t missing rehearsal for it. I also wish that I wasn’t also called tomorrow. For another day that I can GUARANTEE will be exactly like this.

There are worse things, I suppose, than sitting in the backyard of a house in New Jersey reading, chatting, and eating.

Do you guys have any questions about what shoots are like? I am by no means an expert, but I am also incredibly bored. 🙂

Rolling: the camera is recording
Speed: that’s when the clapper is hit, so in post they can make sure that the sound syncs
Action: my turn!

Post: post production (editing, etc)
Pre: per production (casting, scheduling, location scouting, etc)
Location scouting: visiting locations to be able to accurately gauge if they’ll work for a shoot, and to preliminarily look at possible shots

Call sheet: all the information for what will happen on a shoot day. Arrival/departure time and location, all crew/cast info, scene breakdown and who is called in each scene.

One thought on “On Set (A Shoot Day Primer)

  1. I love reading about your work. It seems so, I don’t know, glamorous and exciting.

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