View Full Version : First film - Principal photography done.

10-24-2005, 07:45 AM
Well, yesterday I finished principal photography on my first film. This was a one day shoot. My challenges were:

The lead actor called late the night before to say he would be late due to a re-shoot on a feature he had done at Universal (which is about an hours drive from our location).

One of the other actors had to leave the set by 1:00 PM.

After shooting around the lead actor we reached a point where we could do no more wouthout the lead. So after about an hour waiting, milling around, telling jokes, eating etc. someone suggested that one of the crew try their hand at the role. The person in question very clearly had the look - And as it turns out could act to boot.

So we jumped back in with both feet and got all of the shots for the actor that had to leave by 1:00 PM at which time the catered lunch arrived.

After lunch was done, we finished the day and got all of our shots before we lost the light (this was all exteriors).

What did I learn from this shoot as my first experience?

I was prepared and it paid off in spades. I was actually over prepared. I brought grip equipment that would handle any contingency and ended up using very little of it as the light was mostly in our favor. But I was ready had it not been.

All of the numerous rehearsals that I did with my sound guy and my DP made a huge difference as did the single day full crew rehearsal. Setups were fast, people knew what to do and where to be.

I had NO surprises on the set other then the issue with the lead actor. All of the equipment performed flawlessly even though I brought backups of everything in case of a failure.

We were able to move from setup to setup very quickly. It was well organized and well planned and that is to be blamed in large part on my producer.

Everyone had a great time. It was a very relaxed atmosphere on the set and at times we had to make a concerted effort to settle and get everyone to stop laughing so that we could get a take.

Today, I am tired, but pleased. 3 months after starting down this road, I now find myself in post. Having read all of the horror stories about people not being prepared I was making an effort to ensure that I learned from their mistakes.

Special thanks to all of the folks on here who have answered all of my dumb questions. You all have contributed to the success of this day as well.

Jeremy Ordan
10-24-2005, 09:31 AM
Hey congrats. Your experience just proves that what you do in preproduction has an immediate impact on how things go for the production phase of a project. On the projects where I have more meetings and more time with my cast and crew, those are always the projects that end up being the smoothest. A great example is to look back at the stuff Hollywood cranked out just before the never happened but much anticipated actors strike. These are all crap films that only got the greenlight because of the strike. You can pick up the flaws in them as easily as getting a 12 pack at a gas station. It proves, whether large scale or small scale, preperation is priceless (or is that mastercard?).

Congrats on your project. Be sure to post some screen grabs or the project as you progress through post production, and keep us updated as to how things are coming along.

10-24-2005, 11:49 AM
And tell the crew-turned-actor that that's pretty much how John Wayne started, too. :)

10-24-2005, 02:57 PM
Congrats. Over the years I've noticed a direct correlation between how much fun a shoot is, and how prepared the director is. Good job.

Chris Messineo
10-28-2005, 11:49 AM
Excellent. I was prepared for the typical sob story and it was really nice to here that things went well.

Post some footage when you get a chance.


10-29-2005, 03:20 PM
Yeah, lets see some footage

10-30-2005, 09:27 AM
Well, I have a rough cut with temp music in it. I am going to re-do a few of the shots in it. I can link you to it if you PM me. I don't want to post a link in here because:

A. My DSL line would choke

B. I dont have rights to the temp music.

Thanks for all of the encouraging words here :)

Be gentle. 1st time out and no clue what I was doing :D

10-31-2005, 01:46 AM
First time or not, you apparently had the foresight to do your homework in pre-prod, thereby making your shoot go as smoothly as possible. Sounds like you've got the ability to improvise on set as well. Off to a good start, I'd say!

I can only hope my shoot goes as well when we start shooting our first feature next year!

10-31-2005, 06:12 AM
you apparently had the foresight

Read: Paranoia