how i dread the first day of a feature film shoot. everyone is an expert on film making while they are not in production. but once you step onto a live set, even a seasoned director or DP will get tripped up on how to get actor through a doorway efficiently. i have seen a film shoot come grinding to a halt while everyone tries to figure out how to get a car into a frame and have the actor step out and say a line. to you non filmmakers out there, you have no idea all the things that can go wrong when trying to land a car in a specific spot and link it to dialogue. feature film making is not like riding a bicycle, each project is it's own beast. and you don't know what beast your dealing with until your head's in its mouth.
my goal to dealing with the shock of production day 1 is to try to normalize my life as much as possible. a DP cannot control a film production, no one can. but we can all ride it calmly and try to lean in the right direction from time to time. tonight is my first night of shooting, i have three full camera crews and way too much gear to even think about and this is my plan for the day:
- find a really tasty breakfast. indian preferred.
- buy vitamins so i don't get sick.
- play pinball for at least 1 hour.
- buy new ear buds for iPhone.
- go to lab to watch camera tests.
- show up to work in a good mood.
i have found that nothing i do right before shooting could better prepare me for the inevitable shock of day 1, so i should just relax and enjoy a nice day. i don't think you ever really get better at getting an actor through a doorway, you just get better at dealing with it.