Five Things I Learned About Principal Photography
OK, so the moment arrives when you are ready to actually shoot your film. That time is called Principal Photography. When you have your cast and crew and locations and script all come together for THE RIDE (apologies David Allan Coe).
We knew we would be working long hours to get everything “in the can”, but we wanted the cast and crew to have fun doing it. Here are five things I learned:
1. PLANNING PAYS OFF, BUT BE PREPARED. The Director, Producer, Co-Producer and I had been working for months (years, if you count writing the script) to plan this shoot, and we had worked hard to get to this point. As much as we estimated set-ups, how long each shot would take, travel time between locations, and all the other myriad factors involved, we had days where we went well over schedule. The set-up took longer than anticipated, someone got lost between locations, etc. On the plus side, we were able to shoot the film in the exact number of days we planned (some days were just longer than planned).
2. THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS. We needed to be flexible for those times when things just didn’t work out exactly as planned. For instance, the set-up didn’t work as envisioned for the particular location; we were missing an item or “chapeau” needed for the scene; etc. So we had to improvise a few times, but I was impressed with the creativity of the team to “make it happen cap’n”.
3. THE HUMAN SPIRIT THRIVES. As with any working situation, not every person on the set sees eye to eye with everyone else. A misunderstanding about an intern’s role, or someone under pressure not handling a situation in the most positive manner — we had to work through some of these issues and get focused on the outcome. I’m very pleased to say that the vast majority of cast and crew were amazing throughout the long days, and the chemistry between our cast members was electric.
4. FOOD HELPS. We were fortunate to have some incredible craft services partners for preparing and serving food throughout the shoot. Thank you City BBQ, Block’s Bagels, and Taco Dan’s! When the day would go longer than anticipated, and we didn’t have a craft services partner scheduled at that late hour, it was important to be nimble and quick. One late night when the cast and crew grew increasingly hungry, we looked up and next door, “VIOLA”, a Subway!
5. BEHIND THE SCENES PHOTOS/VIDEOS ARE ESSENTIAL. We knew that we wanted to have a large arsenal of behind the scenes photos to share on social media and document our journey, so we took lots. Even with that, we found that we could have taken even more given the long arc of post-production (which I will cover in the next blog item).
Looking back at that condensed period of time, I am so grateful for the hard work and long hours put in by the team. It was more fun than a tub of rum raisin seeing it all come together and working with such talented professionals. It was kept fresh because each day involved a new location and new scene (and some special guests noted in this previous post).