Monday, May 5, 2014

Moving a Shootie

Hey, so I realize I haven't existed on Blogger for over a week, and that's because I've been in heavy pre-production-- and as of today, production!

Pre-production: the god-awful nitty gritty scheduling/coordinating/hiring/permit-filing tediousness of preparing to shoot. Pre-production is like the nasty amass of bugs that make up the Oogie Boogie Man's insides.

My bugs! My bugs!
Production: The awesome fantastical act of actually being on set and solving problems using wooden boxes and gaff tape instead of permit applications and wire transfers.

Obviously, you can tell what aspect of film I prefer. Some people are all about pre-pro (the shortened film-savvy way of talking about pre-production), but to that I say no-pro. I absolutely hate pre-production, which is why I will never be a good producer. I'd much rather be the weird production designer who stands in the corner and spends 15 minutes rolling a pair of boots in the mud so they look like they've been in use for years*

*has actually happened, and not just with boots.

Today, and for the next 17 days, I will not be a producer OR production designer. I will be the... wait, what the fuck am I? 

On sets, roles are usually very specific and have specific responsibilities attached to them. Such as:

Director: Instruct the actors, approve all choices made by the cinematographer, gaffer (lighting person), production designer, costumer, etc.
1st AD (Assistant Director): Draw up schedules and call times; keep everything on schedule and timely; know where everyone is on set and where they need to be next
2nd AD: Print sides (the scenes being done that day); alert cast and crew of call times; accommodate talent
Boom Operator: Be really tall

 I, however, am not any of the traditional on-set roles. I'm the director's assistant, which, from my experience today, seems to be a combination of 2nd AD, UPM (Unit Production Manager), PA (Production Assistant), and random liaison between the director and whoever she feels like talking to who's out of ear shot. I was actually pretty cool with this role. I got to walk around with a walkie and headset and engage in the fun and gratuitous jargon of film production. You can tell everyone feels super cool when they cross their arms, lean over to the 2nd AC, and mutter something like, "We gotta dirty up that frame to match eyeline. Anyone got eyes on grip? Someone's gotta fly out that genny in 5 or we'll have to call grace." So obnoxious, right? YEAH EXCEPT IT'S SUPER FUN. Film lingo ain't got shit on those decoder activities on the back of cereal boxes. You can convey a 20-word sentence in like 4 made-up film terms!

I need to hit the sack so I'm going to leave you hanging with that small, completely unbeneficial bit of information, but I'm hoping I'll have another opportunity or two throughout the shoot where I'll be able to give more mini-updates.

Oh yeah, today overall: was good. We went 1 hour over the 12 hour maximum workday, but people were generally okay with it and we were fed a second meal which isn't typical, so it was aight. The talent were super chill guys and it was funny to see how well they worked together. Who was on set today, you ask? I'm not sure if I'm at liberty to say, but one of them is associated with one of the all-time greatest freeze frame moments in movie history-- let's just say he has a look that says: "Don't you forget about me." The other one is as incredible as he is hulky (the original).

It's not name-dropping if I don't drop their names. Good night.