Saturday, June 29, 2013

Biding Time and Plotting Mayhem

There is a common image on any film shoot that is also a metaphor for how film works. I've seen it on our first shoot on the Privateers and I've seen it on Demon Under Glass and I've seen it on the last feature that I worked on last month. This is also true no matter the size of the production. The image is of a punch of people sitting around waiting for something to happen. To outsiders, it looks like there is a lot of time being wasted on any given set. While that can be true on occasion, there are reasons for the gaps in action for the most part. Even long gaps in action seldom happen without good reason. There can be technical difficulties with lighting or a piece of equipment. There could be a delay in getting a prop of a piece of equipment. There could be any number of weather problems that grind things to a halt. The most maddening are paperwork delays like the permit or the unions. We had all of those happen at some point during Demon Under Glass. Everyone involved in the shoot understood these delays as part of the business. Still it is tough on anyone who works on a film to sit
Matty waiting for his cue during our tiniest shoot to date.
around and wait. It is especially frustrating when the problems are beyond our control.

An opportunity presented itself a few months back that looked great for Demonspawn as a project and for us personally and professionally. A film came along that offered some work around the time we were thinking of shooting. It was fabulous timing. The money would be of great use for the shortfall in fundraising. We would get some long needed practice working a rigid shooting schedule, and I was able to fill in the missing crew people from the roster of that film. I knew many of them, but didn't know they'd be interested in working a web series. Fortunately, they all were. Also, working for that show had me on a lot of scouting missions during which I found locations that were lifesavers for our limited resources. Admittedly, there would be challenges in shooting around another shoot, but it was something we were looking forward to tackling. Things couldn't be better...until they weren't anymore.

The production we were planning to work is going though just about everything I mentioned above and a few things I hadn't. That is a drag. We need to wait to figure out if our production will be stepping on theirs. We have a lot of personnel in common now from our DP to our Production Assistants and our Art Department. We have to find out what days of the week they're shooting to make sure our crew isn't seven days a week for the entire time our shoot is going. We also need to be certain that we won't have a whole lot scheduled only to find that shoot is on and we're committed to work (it is really, really bad form to go back on a commitment no matter what. Word gets around if you pull that kind of thing). And then, there is still the monetary shortfall if we begin before this other shoot and how to overcome that. None of this is new, but it can be a bit disheartening. There were things we could do. We have to cast three parts. We need to table read and even rehearse. There is a lot to do before we walk onto a location.

So I talk to my cast and they agreed that they would prefer to start when we could work straight through. The reasoning made sense. They get a lot of scripts for auditions or for parts. Even if things are slow that could mean three or four parts while they wait. They would forget and get out of the character's head if there is too long a gap between a rehearsal or table read. It didn't make sense to cast the available parts for much the same reason. Most actors expect that they will be working soon after they are cast. Otherwise, it's a waste of their time. That's another thing that a production company does not want to be known for – a time waster. My lead was really clear that the cast can pull it together on a dime. It would be best to get everything together first and then plow ahead. The caveat to that is that a location may come up out of sequence that we should grab when it is available. He though that was doable as well.

So we're waiting. I was unsure of what to say in the blog, because it could all change the day after it was posted. Finally, I decided to just detail everything and hope it made sense. We think the show will commence sometime in the next week or so with casting and the actual shoot would be a couple of weeks after that. Everything will be documented for readers here to follow. Everyone involved knows that this process will be heavily documented. Spoilers will be clearly marked.

We have no idea what will be happening in the next few weeks. The only thing certain is that it won't be dull. Thank you again for you patience. I'd also like to thank my amazing cast and crew. They're ready to follow us anywhere. That could be interesting.

1 comment:

  1. The difficulties for anyone trying to make a film who doesn't have a studio behind them seem enormous. How nice that everyone is so committed.

    Good luck.