6 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL DAY OF FILMING
You show up at 8:00AM and leave once the sun has set. A day of filming is usually long and can be draining. Constant movement and work can lead to stress and fatigue. However, you can combat stress and fatigue by following these 6 tips.
1 - ARRIVE EARLY
The best piece of advice I can give you is to arrive at the film set early. If you’re an independent filmmaker, embarking on the creation of your own masterpiece, your days are about to be filled with problems, questions and chaos. There’s always a new problem and you’ll need to find a solution. Everyone has a question, you better have an answer. Chaos...that’s just part of it. So much happening, so many moving pieces, it can weigh on you and quickly.
By arriving early, I allow myself time to take in the film set without distraction. It’s just me and the location. Quiet, calm, peaceful. I can take a good look at what we’re filming and plan out the staging without distraction. I can set lights and equipment ready in record time. I can organize my thoughts and prepare for a successful day. It’s the literal calm before the storm and you will learn to appreciate this time more and more. Be a leader and be the first one there. Trust me on this one.
2- STAY ORGANIZED
You will start the day with all of your equipment organized and in one place. By the end of the first scene you have shit everywhere. The extension cords are a fucking tangled mess, you can’t find the marker to your $12 film slate and you had a shot list near you at one time or another. Hell sometimes you can’t find the boom mic and it’s literally sitting right in front of you.
Try to stay as organized as possible. Something as simple as, putting the lens cap back in the lens bag can really help make a difference and keep you sane. Designate a place to put that marker and try to remain consistent and when you reset lights, take the 30 extra seconds to untangle the extension cord mess. These simple things will help keep you from losing your goddamn mind during the day.
3 - ALWAYS HAVE A SCRIPT
It’s inevitable, someone is going to forget their lines. Hell, I’ve even had moments where I forgot and I wrote the shit. Anyway, you will always want to have a script on set. You will need it to review lines, look at scenes and how they’re written and analyze the pages to ensure your staging is as you want it.
Not only should you always have a script, put that shit in a binder and put your fucking name on it. There’s nothing worse than loose paper flying around all day. You will get unorganized and quick. Not only that, someone is going to take one of those pages for review and misplace it. Then you won't be able to find the little bastard when you need it. Get a binder, put your script in it and put your name on it. Make a declaration on that mother fucker.
4 - DON’T OVER EAT
I made this mistake on Saturday. Breaking for lunch, we sat down as a team and enjoyed a meal. Naturally, I was in a bit of a hurry so I could set up our next shot while everyone else finished eating and relaxed a bit. In all the craziness, I never monitored how much I ate and thus I was left full, lethargic and ready for a nap.
Lunch seems to drain a film set often. Don’t let it. Try to eat several small meals during the day to keep you energized and moving effectively. When you overeat, you’re left fat, happy and ready for a nap. Try to avoid carbs. I would stick to whole foods, like fruits and veggies, as they provide you with the proper nutrients and energy needed to get through a tough day. Did you know you get more energy from eating an apple than you do drinking a cup of coffee? Just sayin.
5 - STAY HYDRATED
This one has never held more true than it did over the weekend. For my first time filming in a Texas summer, the days are hot and I sweat a lot. Add in constant movement and you have a recipe for disaster. Hydration is key and it will help keep you healthy, moving and in the game.
Get a water bottle, fill it up and have it nearby at all times. Make sure you’re always taking small sips here and there. The last thing you want to do is fall over from heat exhaustion or dehydration. Work hard, play hard and drink a lot of water.
6 - HAVE FUN
Having fun is essential on a film set. You will go through a range of emotions in a day, filming and navigating through the chaos. Remember to take a moment to have some fun. You’re making a movie and an amazing group of people. You will NEVER have this same exact experience in your life. Slow down and take a moment to appreciate it.
Looking back at films I made, I never took a moment to just look around and appreciate what we were doing. I didn’t build a strong enough bond with the people involved, as I probably should have. These are the days you will remember. These are the days you will look back on, appreciate and certainly miss. Slow down, smile and have a little fun.
Momma said there’d be days like this...and she wasn’t fucking joking. Good days and bad, do yourself a favor, follow these tips and set yourself up for more good days than bad.
Is there something you do on a film set but isn’t listed above? Leave a comment and share it with your fellow failures! Knowledge is power and we love sharing at The Failed Filmmaker.