So, you’re getting ready to shoot and you’ve taken advantage of my earlier post on how to shoot DIY Smart? Consider these ten more hacks to make your next Cinema 2.0 production a success.
1. CAST YOUR CREW CAREFULLY.
Pick your team as you would your cast. Look for attitude over big boy or girl credentials. Avoid prima donnas and the industry know-it-all. Reject the bored, the drunk and the person doing you a favor. Bad manners and attitudes are a poison that can infect everyone. Avoid spending time with people you really cannot stand to be with. Avoid gear snobs, star-f*ckers, the know-it-all and the superstar. They aren’t team players. You need love not lectures.
2. MORE HANDS DO NOT EQUAL LESS WORK.
The more people you have on set, the longer it takes. Keep your team light (see my upcoming blog on #SealTeam7) and give everyone multiple jobs. Everyone humps gear (except the actors). They will offer. Give them light stuff if they insist. All crewmembers pack trucks and cars – even me. Everyone drives. Nobody shirks. The words, “Not My Job” do not exist on my show. Everything’s my job.
3. NEVER LIE TO CAST OR CREW ABOUT LENGTH OF THE DAY/ NIGHT.
The day has turned to shit or bad weather is coming in. You’ve lost the location or other calamities ensue (you’re being held up by a gypsy tow truck driver trying to tow a picture car (100% true)). Tell everyone what’s happening – and deal with it. If you need to go longer on the day – ASK EVERYONE – if it’s okay to go longer. If they so no, go home. If you have to keep absolutely shooting, send home the folks that must go. The shame alone will keep them for abandoning the ship most times. Just don’t go longer than fourteen hours – because everything you shoot after that will be crap. Believe me, I know. #shitafterfourteenhours
4. BE POLITE & PATIENT. LEAD YOUR TEAM.
Directors lead the floor in microcinema. There are no Assistant Director’s to marshal the troops. Have a town meeting at the beginning of the day to review the call sheet and then get it done. You climb that mountain of broken glass one set up at a time.
5. FIRE ANY TROUBLEMAKERS!
Occasionally, your spider sense may fail and a dissenter will appear amongst the ranks. Send them home. They are not worth it. Poison spreads quickly on set. #killyourcritics
6. NEVER PUT ANYONE IN JEOPARDY. EVER.
Years ago, a Transport Captain on a TV movie asked me why all Executives were always such assholes, “It’s not like we’re putting the heart back in a baby.” I never forget that piece of wisdom. Never risk anyone’s life or well being for a shot. It’s NEVER worth it. What we do is important to us – but it’s not doctor, police or fireman important. #knowyourrole
7. DON’T BRING AN EXPERIMENTAL WEAPON TO WAR.
This was a James Cameron quote (when he was shooting the follow up to his hit movie series) from Terminator 2 3-D (1996) and it stuck with me. Test your gear before you go or pay the price. You should be able to field strip your weapon and make it work blindfolded, soldier. If you can’t, practice until you can. There is no excuse for you not knowing how to operate your equipment under any circumstances.
8. KEEP YOUR SHIT CLEAN AND TIGHT.
Clean out your ditty bags, knapsacks, backpacks and Pelican cases on a regular basis. Check for bugs, dirt, trash and half-finished sandwiches mixed in with your stuff. Lock your gear in your trunk and watch where you put your laptops and other personal bags. #keepitclean
9. USE CARRY CASES AND BAGS WITHOUT FILM LOGOS
Avoid cases and bags advertising expensive camera. I live in Chicagoland. The bad guys love bags that advertise gear. Use cooler bags and black non-descript safety cases or rolling luggage adapted for film gear. #stashyourshit
10. TRAVEL LIGHT AND FAST
I can pack my big boy camera, an assortment of lenses and batteries in a large messenger bag – complete with a boom pole and microphone. My favorite cameraman in Chicago travels with a ‘Hot Rod’ RED that is stripped down to a body and some fine prime lenses. You’d never know it from the number of bags he carries. Other film folk who work fast favor knapsacks and sling cases they have with themselves at all times. And all of their work is breathtaking. #packlight #shootfast
Stick around for next weeks TOP 5 VIP TWEAKS that you can do right now to add to your DIY Cinema 2.0 game. #shoothard #shootfast #shootsafe #shootsmart