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View Full Version : Consecutive days shoot vs. shooting on weekends



908media
01-26-2006, 08:40 PM
I am planning a 16 day shoot for my first feature.

I did research on a consecutive shoot (16 days straight ) or a scheduled shoot (weekends over the span of two months). Both have clear advantages and disadvantages.

The locations, crew, and cast are flexible.

I would be interested in the pros/cons of each.

Thanks.

Blaine
01-26-2006, 08:44 PM
I think your continuity is going to be a lot easier on the 16 day shoot plus it's easier to keep the momentum going. On the downside, depending on how much shooting you're doing things can get a little frayed (nerves and such).

David G. Smith
01-26-2006, 08:52 PM
I've done it both ways and have noticed a distinct difference between the two methods. The ones that were shot consecutively are now on video store shelfs and the ones that were spaced out are not. Just my experience. If you do chose consecutive, please have a couple of break days... trust me, on this one.

david_kuznicki
01-27-2006, 06:08 AM
I've done it both ways and have noticed a distinct difference between the two methods. The ones that were shot consecutively are now on video store shelfs and the ones that were spaced out are not. Just my experience. If you do chose consecutive, please have a couple of break days... trust me, on this one.

It's interesting that you say that, as I've found the answer to be somewhere in between. If you need multiple days at one location, PLEASE shoot them consecutively. Otherwise (especially in the world of zero budget filmmaking) I never shoot for more than 4 consecutive days.

The downtime has sometimes allowed me to put together a rough assembly & determine if I'm not shooting as much coverage as I should be. Plus it gives the actors some extra rehersal time. It's easy to think that we're working inside a vaccuum when we're shooting a film. I always try to reinforce the fact that we're not.

And be smart-- set up a specific day or two for reshoots/pick-ups.

Good luck. Everyone likes to work their own way, and I encourage you to find what's right for you.

David Kuznicki
Production Manager, WGTE-TV30

Blaine
01-27-2006, 09:44 AM
I've seen a lot of talk about storyboards, shot lists and such. You ask about consecutive days v weekends. "The locations, crew, and cast are flexible." What no one seems to bring up is the importance of scheduling and stripboards. On a short, shot over a couple of days, you can probably wing it. But on a feature that is going to last any extended time it is imperative to put together a shooting schedule which, if you're using "unpaid" cast and crew, is going to be updated, probably on a daily basis, to take into account the unexpected. Even when you're paying them, things happen. When a critical cast member suddenly has a "event" they must attend, it's time to scramble and reschedule. But now how does that affect everyone else? Sixteen days can quickly turn into twenty as you scramble to make it happen.

It (shooting schedule) will also have to be fine tuned as you discover you were too agressive, figuring you could shoot 6-7 pages per day. (OR maybe your shooting will go smoother that anticipated :undecided stranger things have happened.) I'm not suggesting that you can't do it in the allotted timeframe, I'm just suggesting that you will want to have a work around plan in case the inevitable problems DO arise. :) (especially if you are doing any exterior shooting where weather could be a factor in matching scenes.)

I'm only bringing this up because I went through it last fall. With some good scheduling/budget software and Excel spreadsheets, we were able to finish pretty close to "on schedule". Towards the end, we were moving a little faster than we probably should to make up time but it all worked out. We had originally planned on finishing on August 27 and actually finished on August 31. The juggling was a lot of hard work but it was also very satisfying when the shoot was over. The the REAL work started. :thumbsup:

david_kuznicki
01-27-2006, 09:51 AM
I've seen a lot of talk about storyboards, shot lists and such. You ask about consecutive days v weekends. "The locations, crew, and cast are flexible." What no one seems to bring up is the importance of scheduling and stripboards. On a short, shot over a couple of days, you can probably wing it. But on a feature that is going to last any extended time it is imperative to put together a shooting schedule which, if you're using "unpaid" cast and crew, is going to be updated, probably on a daily basis, to take into account the unexpected. Even when you're paying them, things happen. When a critical cast member suddenly has a "event" they must attend, it's time to scramble and reschedule. But now how does that affect everyone else? Sixteen days can quickly turn into twenty as you scramble to make it happen.


I assumed this to be a given. Perhaps I spoke too soon!

Scheduling (and REALISTIC scheduling) is also an important part. Storyboards, shot lists, etc. can help you to move a little faster... and I find they aide me in determining a schedule. It becomes obvious how many set-ups are involved per location, and how different they may or may not be lighting-wise.

You can never schedule something "too well." There will always be a detail that you've missed, so be as smart as you can about it!

David Kuznicki
Production Manager, WGTE-TV30

Luis Caffesse
01-27-2006, 10:04 AM
I would highly recommend to shoot consecutively if you can.
But, like everyone else has mentioned - shooting 16 straight days is just asking for cast/crew burnout. The most rigorous features I've seen are shoot on 6 day weeks - I don't think I would dare shot 16 days straight. You'll get sloppy by the end of that... and your crew will be exhausted.

That said, I think shooting weekends is setting yourself up for different problems.
it's nearly impossible to build up any sort of momentum when shooting on weekends.
You're starting out cold after a 5 day break. People seem to feel things are taking too long..and lose interest. If you shoot over weekends, I woudln't be surprised to see half of your crew drop out of the project by the end...I've seen it happen before.

My advice - listen to David(s) and to Blaine - shoot consecutively, try to keep it at 5 day weeks, and do the proper preproduction work. It'll probably be the smoothest option and give you the best end product.

But, as david mentioned - everyone likes to work their own way, and you need to find what's right for you.

Owen
01-27-2006, 11:17 PM
6 on and 1 off or 5 on and 2 off would also help you with some cushion assuming you could use the off days as emergency shoot days should you be forced to cancel/move a regularly scheduled day.

P!body
01-31-2006, 01:02 PM
Shooting consecutively is always better in my opinion. You'll work harder, but things will be more consistant. And it's alwasy much harder to jump back into things after lengthy breaks between shooting.

Unsomnambulist
01-31-2006, 07:28 PM
There are very few advantages to shooting over the course of a string of weekends.

You might be able to get cheaper rentals by picking up stuff late Friday and returning early Monday... but this would mean sixteen pickups and sixteen dropoffs vs. just one if shooting consecutively.

Actors and some crew who have day jobs may be able to work free or cheap only on the weekends... but people will flake naturally on the occasional weekend, and be burnt out from a normal work week. Plus, as other obligations pop up they may end up bailing completely. In addition, your actors may go through drastic appearance changes, largely hair length and color.

Locations, such as businesses, may be more available or quieter on weekends. Others, like parks, will be louder and more crowded.

Being spread out over time will allow you to potentially raise money throughout production, and perhaps gain additional donations. You'll also be able to review footage throughout the week, and also hold periodic rehearsals for actors. And the last advantage I can think of is if you want locations to show a seasonal change... perhaps shooting through the fall so you can the full span of foliage change.

Also remember that even the best of crews, after a week break, sometimes take up to a day to get back in the groove of a shoot. So your 16 weekends may unnecessarily become 18 or 19 weekends due to lost momentum.