10-Hour Days RULE OK!
Many mainstream crews are slaves to the grind of a very long day and you don’t have to be. The average union shoot day is 14 hours allowing for lunch and traveling to set (12 hours work/ 1 hour lunch/ 1 hour travel). Even longer if the gig is out of town. Anytime you work 70 hours a week, your work suffers.
A six-hour morning and a six-hour afternoon (with an hour for lunch if you’re lucky) is a long time to grind away.
Why not work more days with fewer hours?
Why not enjoy what you’re doing and keep your cast and crew happy by shooting effectively and efficiently?
Sure, there are always going to be shit-bag days when you only have the locale for so long or the cast (or crew) is only available for that day – so, suck it up and ‘get’ er done’.
But you don’t have to work like a slave every day to make your picture. You have freedom now. Your day length is up to you. #worksmarter
Why not slow down and enjoy the ride – because this part of filming builds the lumber that shall be formed by postproduction into whatever swanky platform you’re trying to create.
Here’s a breakdown on a good working 10 Hour Day:
0800 – Arrive On Set/ Set Up Craft Services
0815 – Town Meeting/ Blocking/ Light (Town Meeting – Review call sheet for the day, adjust, adapt shooting plan as needed. Blocking – Actors take the floor. Tech Team watches to see what they do and when. Light – Set fixtures as needed based on the blocking. Pre-Light additional sets if need be or have support team work ahead).
0900 – 1300 – Start Shooting Your Film!
1300 – Lunch/ Paperwork & Issue Mgmt. (Lunch – if you’re taking an hour, spend 20 minutes eating, 20 minutes planning and 20 minutes sleeping. Change your socks often).
1400 – Keep Shooting Your Film!
1800 – Wrap/ or Coffee Break if Shooting Later
1830 – Continue Shooting Your Film if needed
2000 – Final Wrap (if going late)
The day WILL VARY as the schedule, locations and actors allow but this 10 Hour Day format allows you to actually enjoy the work without feeling abused – especially if everyone is working for free.
By shooting Friday/ Saturday & Sunday using this scenario over 24 days, you now have 240 hours to make your film. Use it wisely.
PLAN for each hour of the day and then plan for mistakes, boo-boos, slow-downs and any kind of delay. #shithappens
Hell, they work shorter hours in countries outside of the USA and cinema gets made all the time. Why do you have to follow the mainstream’s slavish schedule now that you’ve decided you don’t want to play that game? You don’t have a star anxious to leave or costing millions of dollars. You will have to be cautious of SAG-AFTRA hours for the Ultra-Low Budget Contract but with careful planning, you can make you days with limited overtime because your days are shorter. #enjoythework
As you design your own schedule, you will learn how to estimate how long it will take to shoot each scene and the set mechanics of making the day. I publish my estimated time per scene to keep myself on track and to advise cast and crew on the allotted time. Nothing like a ticking clock to keep everyone on task and me watching how many takes I want versus the coverage I need to complete the scene. #howlonguntilthenextsetup?
If you’ve designed a realistic time and budget friendly picture, this is how you ‘put a clock on the day.’ Movie Magic Scheduling, Gorilla and other programs allow you to estimate how long each scene will take. Learn how to use this software and plan ahead. Know that things can (and will) change — but don’t underestimate this crucial planning step.
Schedule and reschedule as often as needed and keep an eye on the time required to film. Big Budget movies shoot 1-3 Pages/ Day. A TV Schedule shoots 6 – 8 Pages/ Day. Sometimes more.
How many pages a day will you shoot?
You will (probably) lean towards a TV schedule making Cinema 2.0. micro-films. As this is just a general outline, don’t look at this as gospel though – just consider how much time you have — and get to it.
If you’re not paying anyone (or very little) to work, work more days and fewer hours every day. You’ll appreciate it — and the cinema you make will be exponentially stronger.