The shoot is the most intense part of the filmmaking process. A Director should be prepared to get asked about 1000 questions on each shooting day. This can be stressful as you are supposed to have the answers instantly for your crew and cast.
As stressed in the earlier tip, make sure that you are prepared prepared prepared with maximum preproduction. Have your shot list prepared. Study your script intimately and have consistent meetings with your crew and rehearsal with your cast, before shooting. You will need to learn how to do this from experienced filmmakers.
On the shoot, the whole crew descends on the set to make the film. It usually takes about two hours before the camera turns over. Be prepared for the following.
When the crew arrives, gear has to be unloaded. Actors have to go to costume and makeup departments The Director then has to go to the set and brief the crew on the blocking and the scene that will be shot first up.
One of the easier ways to show the scene is to block the actors on the set. This is important if blocking is complex. The Assistant Director will bring the actors on set. Then the director will block of the movement of the actors on set. The Director will not work on performance. This will clarify to the crew what the scene is about and the movement of the actors on set and usually only take about 5 – 10 minutes to complete. It is important for you to learn practically how to do this
The Director will have a shot list of the shots that he or she will use to cover the scene. The actors will return to makeup and costume and the crew will prepare for the first shot.
The DOP will direct the gaffer. The Gaffer will prepare the lighting. The camera will be set up for the first shot. This may require the grips to assemble a crane or a track or the Stedicam may be used.
Then when everything is ready the AD will check with actors and makeup and costume. If there is a new costume, the director will inspect the actors costume. If the Director is not happy with the costume for any reason, there can still be a change. Most times the Director will have approved the costume in the preproduction period.
The Sound Recordist will then place lapel microphones on the actors with a transmitter. Once all the actors have their lapels working, the actors are ready to go on set.
After all of this, the actors come on set and start to detail the rehearsal of the scene. This can take time if the scene is complex or take no time if the scene is simple. Some rehearsal and warm up is very necessary.
Once rehearsal is nearing completion the camera and sound crew will simultaneously rehearse till all the focus pulls and camera movements are perfect.
Only then, the camera will turn over. The above takes about two hours and can sometimes be quicker and sometimes longer.
Then the Director will call Action on Take One and watch the scene on a monitor at Video Village. After each take the Director will comment on actor performance directly with the actors. The director will also comment on any camera technical issues. When the director has two takes he or she is happy with, the director moves on. This could take eight takes as the director may be unhappy with six takes and only happy with the last two. There is no set amount but as a general rule do not get caught up with perfection.
The more shots the better the edit. Long shots tend to be shot first and the close ups after the long shots. Once the scene is shot, you move on to the next scene. There are ways to learn how to do the above.
I was personally shooting last week on my feature film Tabernacle 101. We shot Day 34 – 36 of our one hour 40 minute supernatural thriller. Please see photos.
All up the shoot happened over one year (365 days. ) We started on Friday November 6th 2015 and completed a few days ago on Saturday November 5th.
We shot 150 scenes and 100 pages of screenplay. Each scene needed detail and perfection. It takes six to seven weeks to shoot a 100 minute movie fi you are shooting in one unit or a year if you are shooting your feature film on 4 -5 day units once every six weeks.
It takes training to learn how to direct. A Film Course is a great way to learn how a film is made.