Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lists and Piles and Other Fun Stuff

We are less than a week from the teaser trailer shoot. Thus, today is all about lists. There are lots of lists necessary for a shoot. There is even a list of lists. That is what I'm working on right now. The Master List has items like:

  • Cast List (contact information, clothing sizes)
  • Crew List (contact information)
  • Equipment List (every piece of rigging and the support items like batteries, gaffing tape, etc)
  • Wardrobe List (listed by character and by scene)
  • Prop List (listed by character and by scene)
  • Set Dressing List (listed by scene)
  • Make-up list (items listed and character make-up schemes, fangs, blood, etc.)
  • Shot List (ever scene that is to be shot and who and what is in each scene)
  • Still Photo List (the must have images)
  • Podcast List (questions that must be covered)
  • Craft Services list (food, beverages, snacks, plates, cups, trash bags, etc)
  • Miscellaneous (First Aid Kit, cough drops, mints, gum, cigarettes, toothbrushes)

Every production, regardless of size, has lists like these. On large productions, it is the responsibility of the department heads to make sure that they have everything they need and to check off everything on the list. On our feature, it was the line producer and the 2nd AD who made sure that all the department heads handed in their lists with everything check off. On this shoot, it will be my job to go over each list and make sure all the items are where they are supposed to be.

To make filling everything out easier, it's a good idea to have a timeline during which all the items on the list are checked off. For example, I have either ordered all that I needed for the shoot, or I have a shopping schedule that allows for a leisurely and sane acquisition of everything. The timeline also has tasks that must be completed by certain dates. For example, last week, I scouted the location for the photo shoot and made a list of props and set dressing that was on hand and a list of what was needed. Today, I contacted all of the actors to make sure they had kept their availability open. I also needed to verify clothing sizes and find out if anyone has been getting very tanned in the summer sun. This was of particular concern where Simon was concerned. Adjustments in make up would be necessary If Owen turned up in shades of George Hamilton. Tomorrow, Jon and I will scout the location for the teaser. Then, we can complete the prop and set dressing lists. The scripts go out tonight (Saturday), so there is ample time for questions and, possibly, adjustments.

This all sounds very reasonable and trouble free. However, I know from experience that on the Wednesday before the photoshoot and the Friday before the teaser shoot that I'll be running around all day. There is something staring me in the face that none of us can see right now. It's happened with not just every shoot of mine, but every one I've seen from ringside. There is always someone running around looking desperately for something that got missed on a list. As of now, I am not planning on running around too much.

A spoiler free pile. That was difficult to put together.
Once there are lists, soon there will be piles about our home. Piles are inevitable as the items on the list are acquired. They can be inconvenient and even a safety hazard, but piles are far preferable to leaving something behind. Following this sentence was a fifteen minute, mildly intense search for a set of fangs. As it turned out, they were in a bag with some of the items that arrived earlier this week. Turns out, we're more on the ball and far early than is the norm. I still think we need an extra set of fangs. At any rate, it is preferable to move the piles to a staging area at the location as soon as possible. However, that's often not practical. If the location is being rented by other productions, we would have to rent the place from the moment we put down a single bag. And even if that weren't the case, stuff gets lost at a soundstage. Things get moved to make room for other people's things. Then, there is the fact that one producer's bag of props or set dressing is another producer's bag of trash, and out it goes. The move from home to location is a chore, but it's far better than discovering that items on the list have gone missing. The great box and bag relay is just part of the gig like the gallons of coffee and dozens of bottles of water.

That's it for now. There will be some photos posted of the shoots next week, but it won't be a full blog. There will be a blog about the shoots the following week. If all goes well, there will also be a podcast with the actors from the set.

If there are any questions that you want asked during that podcast session, you can submit them in the comments below or via the contacts listed in the menu on the right side of this page. 

Until next time.

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