It’s shooting day! Before you get to your location – whether that’s the local town, an industrial area or out in the bush – here’s what you’ll want to have on you…1. Your crew and callsheet
If you’ve been to one of the REC Ya Shorts workshops you’ll already be across this. Usually you’ll have a crew well before getting to location, but make sure that your 1st AD is on top of who’s supposed to be where, and when. The 1st AD is the director’s right-hand person, taking care of the practicalities so that the director is free to focus on the creative stuff. This includes drawing up a call sheet, and a shooting schedule, and making sure that it’s kept to.
2. Your vision
Cool phrase, but we don’t mean a cinematic dream sequence – we mean “your vision” as in your script (definitely take extra copies), your storyboard and your shot list. As the shooting day progresses it can be easy to get absorbed in finer details and decisions about every single scene and shot. Make sure you hang on to your shot list and check-in with your script so that you never lose sight of the original idea and the bigger picture.
3. Your film equipment
It sounds obvious – but as well as the bigger items such as your camera and microphone there are the little nitty gritties – spare batteries, charger, lens cleaner, cables, monitors (and a fold-out table to stand it on). Then there are all your props and costumes too.
4. Your lists
Since you need lots of stuff, you’ll need lots of lists. Even the most seasoned professionals need lists. So prepare a checklist of equipment well in advance, and at the end of the day when you’re packing up, tick all the stuff off the list too, to make sure you don’t leave anything behind on location. Do the same for your props.
5. Your common sense
This goes without saying – avoid doing anything risky while filming, be courteous to other people if you’re in a public place (that includes things like not blocking a footpath or driveway) and ask permission before filming in front of houses or businesses.
6. Your practical bits and pieces
We mean the things that don’t sound so cool but are very uncool when you don’t have them – food for yourself and your crew, water (plus a flask or five of coffee usually goes down well!), plus sunscreen, wet weather gear and phone chargers. And even though everyone’s mobile has a clock on it, it’s great to bring a bigger, battery-operated clock that’s visible to your whole team – you won’t believe how fast the time goes when you’re on location.
7. Your plan
This follows on from your need for a clock. The first few times you shoot, it’s easy to underestimate how long it takes just to get everyone assembled and set up. Have a plan – and keep it realistic. The reality is that within the first hour of getting to location, you will not have filmed a single shot. Also bear in mind the changing sun and fading light. Are there shots you need to get out of the way first up? Are there some that can wait till the end of the day? Plan ahead and you’ll save yourself stress and hassle later.