Patrick Tucker is one of Europe’s most experienced film directors with over 400 shows broadcast on television. At the end of a Take you shout “CUT!” – then what do you do?
1: Did you like the take?
On balance, were all the major elements in place? (framing; camera movement; lighting; design; properties; costumes; make-up; script; editing – will it cut to and from the surrounding shots; and DON’T FORGET TO THINK ABOUT THE ACTING.)
2: If you are not happy, go for a re-take.
Always give notes as to why you are going again (perhaps pretending it is for sound when you want a better performance from an actor).
3: If on balance you are happy, what about your crew?
Is you crew happy? Camera; sound; script – and, yes, the actors.
4: Weigh up the pros and cons of going again
Balance the wishes of the crew/actor requests on one side, and your knowledge of how much must be done today (and what is coming up) on the other. Is it better to correct something now, or wait to fix it in post-production?
5: You either go again
or move on to the next phase.
6: The 10 Second Rule
Oh – all the above decisions, from #1 to #5, should be done in less than 10 seconds after you shouted “Cut!”. Longer than that, and you and your crew will lose momentum.
7: Stop before you move
Before moving the camera (and so needing changes in lighting, dressings and design), make sure there is no other shot needed for this scene that could be done from here. Also, see if there is any other shot you can squeeze from this set-up for only a few extra seconds of shooting.
8: Walk to the spot
If you are moving on, where possible you should march to where the new position of the camera will be, and quickly announce what the shot will be, and which bits of the set will be seen, and roughly what the dialogue will be.
9: Look ahead
As the crew start to prepare for the next shot, check what is left to shoot for that location or day, and if necessary start to change the shots in scenes coming up to reflect how much time you have left (adding or removing fancy time-consuming shots).
10: Reality Check
Remember, as far as your Producer is concerned, it is always better for you to finish on schedule and so not need overtime or pick-ups, than for you to get a better shot or a better performance. You won’t want to believe this, but your future employment may well depend on it.
How many times should you read a script?
Read Patrick Tucker’s Film Directors Check List Number 2