PDA

View Full Version : Problems on set. Somebody please tell me if it's normal



GeneralO'neill
07-08-2005, 10:41 AM
I just recently got done shooting a 40 min film. This is the longest that i have ever done, and I also had the most problems during this one. Problems that ranged from actors going out of town without notice during shooting, to the buffet table being tipped over by clumsy crew on an outdoor location. Am I doing something wrong, or is this normal?

Zordon Film
07-08-2005, 01:52 PM
I was the clumsy grip that tipped over the table.
Sorry general

BTW, any pick up days?

Erik Olson
07-08-2005, 02:30 PM
A show is a living, breathing thing. Your experience sounds like nothing out of the ordinary. You can chalk it up to skill, luck and the grace of God that you're done and nobody died.

Every show has its challenges and they all end eventually.

e

mrblue1022
07-08-2005, 03:11 PM
Curious questions, was your actor working for free? Chances are that's why they weren't as committed to the project as you were.

Rob

GeneralO'neill
07-08-2005, 03:37 PM
Everyone was working for free. I guess that there are those that act for money, and those that act for experiance and fun.

mmm
07-08-2005, 03:51 PM
Hey, if those were the only problems, you are a lucky guy!

Barry_S
07-08-2005, 04:23 PM
LOL. Perfectly normal--directing is an excercise in constant problem solving. Your backpocket should be stuffed with Plan B, because things large and small will go awry.

Rosestar
07-08-2005, 04:36 PM
Is that all that happened. Wow, you lucked out and sounds like a great shoot. Every heard of an Irishman named Murphy? He's got a law named after him and in filmmaking, it is in effect 24/7. If something can go wrong, it will. Just be as prepared as possible (always have a plan B) and learn to go with the flow. Also, keep up your sense of humor.

Some of Murphy's antics on projects I've worked on include:

PA's digging a large hole in the ground, that an actor had to jump into, dug right into a buried horse, a decaying buried horse. Because of time constraints, had to use the hole. Most of the crew almost puked from the smell.

2nd AC, responsible for bring raw stock to location, left raw stock back at office (over 50 miles away).

Camera operator forgot his glasses. Whole days shoot was very soft.

Forty percent of camera original was scratched at the lab.

PA walked through a door-wall (sliding glass door) on the set.

Lead actress got sunburn on day off.

Actor got a hair cut.

Actress has asthma attack in middle of scene.

Wide angle adaptor knocked off front of camera.

Police showed up!!!

Guns malfunction. Guns malfunction. Guns malfunction. Oh, did I mention guns malfunction.

Car load of models, with costumes (for a fashion shoot) were turned back at the border by Canadian customs. Something about work permits, oops.

OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) undercover arrested main male model, who proudly showed them his new penis piercing. (Same shoot as above, not a good day.)

Store front plateglass shatters from heat of light. (That was my bad, I thought it was far enough away, oops.)

Road construction re-routes traffic right by location scouted for its lack of traffic noise.

Plus the run of the meal flat tires, keys locked in cars, cars broke down, people getting lost, actors not knowing lines, "I forgot we were shooting today", "I thought you said nine o'clock", airplanes circleling the location and on and on.

Your experience is not unusual. Get used to it.

wabbit
07-08-2005, 05:14 PM
General, if that's the worst you get...your actually unlucky :)

As you work in the business and get around more seasoned professionals, you start hearing the craziest of stories...like Rosestar's. They become war stories, that once you get thru them, they are great fun to regale others with over some drinks,"You think today was bad....".

That being said, 90 percent of productions suffer from Murphy's law. What pisses a lot of us off is the 10 percent that get all the luckiest breaks are the one's with the most boneheaded producers/directors. Some people just fall assbackwards into things, and it's never the nice guy/gal. Despite that, the best you can do is put a lot into pre-production so you can try to be prepared, leave yourself extra time (if it seems it should take an hour, plan for 3), and communicate, comunicate, comunicate. Most issues arise because the exact person that needed to know something didn't.

Also, rent "Man From La Moncha". :)

Erik Olson
07-08-2005, 06:15 PM
I worked with a SFX fellow at ILM who had his team individually hand-carry the Ewok talent into the woods because they couldn't get them in there any other way. Resulted in amazing overtime issues and a run-in with the Teamsters, who claimed "jurisdiction".

I've already told the story of how we jumped a stunt car directly into a city stoplight post on Nash Bridges. The driver was cited by a SFPD cop in front of the entire crew.

Same show, we several times blew shrapnel into our talent with balsa squibs.

Different show, which shall remain nameless, saw our lead actor arrested on-set for aiming a rubber prop gun at a child bystander. Lost another full day because he had an outstanding traffic warrant and the cops didn't like him.

Very, very recently had a PA drive Z1U batteries over thirty miles to my remote location (in the country) after completely forgetting to bring extras. Note to self: 5 hours, 31 minutes on an InfoLithium is without the tape rolling.

These stories are everywhere! Have fun, don't take it too seriously.

e

Jay Rodriguez
07-11-2005, 10:50 AM
PA's digging a large hole in the ground, that an actor had to jump into, dug right into a buried horse, a decaying buried horse. Because of time constraints, had to use the hole. Most of the crew almost puked from the smell..


LMFAO! Holy shit that was funny as hell! BUAHAHAHAHA :laugh:

Barry_Green
07-11-2005, 02:01 PM
While you had the dead horse there, did someone at least beat it? I mean, can't let an opportunity like that go to waste, can you?

thematthewbone
06-07-2006, 05:53 PM
those are definately not out of the ordinary.

-zach-
06-07-2006, 06:43 PM
actors going out of town without notice during shooting

Damn actors... If we didn't need them for our movies I would definitely not use them.

imageonepictures
06-10-2006, 11:28 PM
And that is the problem unfortunately... when people are not being paid your film is not on the top of their priority list... I am working on my first feature and most will be working for free or deferred payment... so I expect hassles...

imageonepictures
06-10-2006, 11:30 PM
Is that all that happened. Wow, you lucked out and sounds like a great shoot. Every heard of an Irishman named Murphy? He's got a law named after him and in filmmaking, it is in effect 24/7. If something can go wrong, it will. Just be as prepared as possible (always have a plan B) and learn to go with the flow. Also, keep up your sense of humor.

Some of Murphy's antics on projects I've worked on include:

PA's digging a large hole in the ground, that an actor had to jump into, dug right into a buried horse, a decaying buried horse. Because of time constraints, had to use the hole. Most of the crew almost puked from the smell.

2nd AC, responsible for bring raw stock to location, left raw stock back at office (over 50 miles away).

Camera operator forgot his glasses. Whole days shoot was very soft.

Forty percent of camera original was scratched at the lab.

PA walked through a door-wall (sliding glass door) on the set.

Lead actress got sunburn on day off.

Actor got a hair cut.

Actress has asthma attack in middle of scene.

Wide angle adaptor knocked off front of camera.

Police showed up!!!

Guns malfunction. Guns malfunction. Guns malfunction. Oh, did I mention guns malfunction.

Car load of models, with costumes (for a fashion shoot) were turned back at the border by Canadian customs. Something about work permits, oops.

OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) undercover arrested main male model, who proudly showed them his new penis piercing. (Same shoot as above, not a good day.)

Store front plateglass shatters from heat of light. (That was my bad, I thought it was far enough away, oops.)

Road construction re-routes traffic right by location scouted for its lack of traffic noise.

Plus the run of the meal flat tires, keys locked in cars, cars broke down, people getting lost, actors not knowing lines, "I forgot we were shooting today", "I thought you said nine o'clock", airplanes circleling the location and on and on.

Your experience is not unusual. Get used to it.
Ha, ha... Murphy and his law... in effect 24/7? Isn't that the truth. The problem with making a film is more things go wrong than things go right. Sometimes I wonder why we stick it at all.

Maybe because we're passionate about the story?

Chris

imageonepictures
06-10-2006, 11:31 PM
While you had the dead horse there, did someone at least beat it? I mean, can't let an opportunity like that go to waste, can you?
Yes, can't miss that. Beating the dead horse.

Sometimes talking to crew about showing up in time and knowing your lines is like beating a dead horse...

jpbankesmercer
06-11-2006, 04:58 AM
Problems are half the fun...wait till something truly horrendous happens...
Actors pah!! Get Poser...we don't need them...

sean90291
06-11-2006, 12:18 PM
On my recent short film shoot, one of the actors, who happened to be a very close friend, called me two days before the shoot to say she couldn't make it because she had to go to a party! I re-cast. And have never really forgiven her.

pheboglobi
06-11-2006, 01:41 PM
Those are great, Rosestar!

One feature project in particular I worked on for a short time was pretty bad. They hired an army of free P.A.s, and then promoted them on set to positions they had never done before because they never bothered hiring people with any experience. (i.e. the ACs, G/E crew were all PAs)
Some of the highlights from that shoot were:
50% of the 16mm was out of focus, and what wasn't rendered useless that way, had been flashed and/or double exposed for various reasons.
A super 16 Canon zoom lens got dropped and busted, and it got tossed into the trash with all the food. The rental house needed the busted lens back (for insurance reasons), so someone had to find it and dig it out of all the trash - when they returned it, it had some burger inside the lens.
They tried blocking off a street without hiring any cops from the city, got caught, fined, and had to hire a cop for the rest of their shoot.
For a ten day shoot, they shot 25% of the script the first 7 days (14 hr days), and ran out of money the 3rd day. They never finished the project, and they never shot any useable footage.
A number of the gaffer's HMIs got destroyed due to stupidity (they hot striked them), and only by luck did no one get hurt.
They bought the cheapest food possible, not even feeding people every 6 hrs - and one day, they got some Really cheap Chinese food - shortly thereafter, everyone started puking and got really sick.
A PA who didn't know stick drove into a building with a truck.
After the 7th day, production had to stop because no one would work for zero money anymore - surprise! - and the next day the camera truck with all the camera gear disappears. (because someone parked it in abandoned mall parking lot somewhere on MLK blvd with the keys in it)
The director's assistant and another P.A. (both white) drove through Compton for a day looking for the missing camera truck and found it... sans camera gear. All the other props were there, including the crates of the really crappy energy drink that was sponsoring the shoot.
The insurance company decided not to insure the camera theft because it looked and sounded really fishy. The police even commented that it looked like an inside job.
The last I heard of it, the director and producers were being sued by basically everyone involved. (rental house, the prod manager, the gaffer, the City of L.A., a hair salon, etc)

zeke
06-11-2006, 02:05 PM
Now I see why they use sound stages.

emile
06-12-2006, 07:38 AM
it is constant learning experience. It seems you chose wrong people for this one though. It always has to be realiable people. What also helps is having a producer or assistant director person who will split your problems and also give hard time to people who are late or don't show, so it doesn't look that it is only you unresenobaly bossing everyone around. I suggest taking everything more simple as well.

Loki
06-14-2006, 12:53 PM
aww now I feel the need to tell a little tale of my experience of my last short film..

I was boring equipment from my school (oh which I was already a graduate) for a weekend shoot. I was supposed to take the equipment out on the thursday afternoon to have it for our 7:30am call the next day.

I got 1 flag, and a monitor on the thursday. I had reserved the P+S Technik 35mm Adaptor. The adaptor I was renting usually came with the XL2 as a package, but I was just getting the adaptor. So I had to get the connection piece for my DVX, which was coming from the only other person in town that rents the unit.

After I get that adaptor, I find out that it won't work with the lens adaptor because it is for the newer model and the one I am getting is the older model(eek). Onwards to rent equipment we needed that the school wouldn't give me. (HMI, Dolly mount etc..)

Firday comes around, arrive on set late cause of traffic and picking other people up. Still no equipment, minus the few lights we brought over the other day. Previously, my lead actress calls me and says she can't be on set past 4pm cause her boss said she had to work. This if for the first 2 days.

Get to my school and wait in a huge lineup to get the equipment. Huge Cricket Dolly, boom arm, many lights, some grip stands etc.. heavy stuff. Don't get back on set until 12:30 with the equipment. Keeping in mind that we had 44 shots to get through on the first day, and absolutely nothing had been shot yet.

First shot off at 1:30 pm and my actress has to leave in 2.5 hours.. shot one scene with her then she had to leave.

Ironically most of my shots did not work out for that scene, things were so rushed I didn't end up using half the shots we got.

My fashion gal needed to head home for the evening, so I called a dinner break for an hour and I drove her while my crew ate. Big mistake that was, I wasted even more time as there was a huge traffic jam on the way back.

(Insert Heart attack).

In Total, 17 of 44 shots on the first day when we wrapped. It may not sound "that" bad.. but keep in mind I spent $2500 of my own money on this project, and time when you are not shooting is just like throwing your money away.

This is with all kinds of planning and pre-production work. I was far better prepared for this film than my last one.

Worked out eventually.. have a beautiful film... full of blood sweat and tears.

peas.