Archive for June, 2010

Haiku: “Film Production”

Script and budget meet
Art and business harmony
Create life on screen

Feel free to create and share a haiku of your perspective of film production!



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“Food will come, Remy. Food always comes to those who love to cook.”
– Gusteau (Ratatouille, 2007)

There are several quotations that I love in this movie, this is only one of them. Remy’s stomach is growling while Gusteau gives him this hope. It reminds me how a career in this industry alternates from true famine at times to veritable feast at other times. The famine can really humble you after a good feast. Gusteau here doesn’t talk about waiting, either. He reminds Remy that his talent and his passion for cooking will bring him through… and that is in his control. So… have hope. Shoots always comes to those who love to film.

Best wishes & a healthy shoot-feast to you!

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1. Breaking Your Fast is Re-energizing

After a long night of not eating, breakfast is when you literally “break your fast”. It tastes great; it takes care of that morning stomach growl; it re-energizes you. How – after a long time between projects – working on a new production feels like the same thing. It’s the same re-energizing feeling. Enjoy it. The day has begun again.

2. Who Needs Variety at Breakfast?

We can have the same coffee, same toast or same cereal every morning – our fixed morning routine, yet for lunch or dinner we crave variety. Lots of variety. Some film shoots hire 2 catering companies to alternate weeks just to keep up the variety… not for breakfast but for lunch! It’s got to be because we’re sleepy in the morning. So, we really need that breakfast to help us wake up and get the brain functioning (on set) for the rest of the day! Set time is so valuable, you don’t want to waste it being sleepy.

3. For Some People, Coffee Is Breakfast

Some folk can eat a full bacon-n-egg breakfast every day, while others will find that a cup of coffee is quite sufficient to get the day started. Whatta range! Taking that to a film set, it takes a range of people and skills to put a production together. Assembling the right mix of people in the right roles can be quite a challenge, but how satisfying it is to do so… as satisfying as the first, fragrant cuppa joe on set on a cold morning? Hmmm…

Cheers & a good breakfast to you on the next shoot!

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After the organic writing process of creating the script, it’s time to reformat the script in preparation for the shoot. Make the script what it is: a road map for making a film production.

What if the action moves from one room to another within a scene?

If the plan is for the set of rooms to be open concept, then one scene label in the script is fine; however, typically you need to breakdown the scene into several, labelling each scene separately, i.e. Int – Living Room – Day; and then Int – Dining Room – Day; and finally Int – Kitchen – Day… giving each one a different scene number. Even if the plan is to shoot a long take, moving the camera from room to room without cutting, it may be worth breaking down the scenes separately. Best to discuss the shooting plan with the 1st AD and Director in order to prepare the script appropriately.

What if there is more than one descriptive name for a location?

Sometimes you’ll see the same location described in a variety of ways: Int – Living Room – Day; and then Int – John’s Living Room – Day;  and then Int – House – Day;  and even with slight spelling differences like: Int – Livingroom – Day. Script formatting software is picky about how you name things, and presumes if you make a slight spelling difference to a script location, then you expect to shoot each one in a different set location. In this case, the software would expect you to shoot in 4 locations instead of 1. Do one complete pass of the script combing through the script as you are numbering the scenes for the first time to check for these script location references with multiple names and spellings and fix them. Your focus on this one (very common) error will be time well-spent.

Since the script is a interim product – and not a final product (like a book is) – don’t worry about changing the formatting for the shoot. The goal is to capture the writer’s intention… and to do that, you need a good road map.

Cheers & happy script formatting to you,

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