Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Day Two – Sand Point

Sand Point is an old decommissioned Naval Air Station on lake Washington that for really cheap will allow films to be shot in some of its old Admin Buildings. The company was scheduled to be here for 2 days to shoot interiors of Arthur’s office, Mr. Yu’s Office, Arthur’s college dorm, Hallways and a lunch Room. Today we were scheduled to shoot Mr. Yu’s office as we had Gedde only for the one day and he had a flight out at about 7. Then we had some hall way stuff and the college dorm room.
The call was fairly early, 7:30 AM at Pacific Grip to pick up the truck. We arrived at the set about 8:30 and began setting up. The first stuff was in Dads Office and the day promised to be a hot one.
Now when scheduling a film shoot one does so in pages of script. Each scene is measured out into 1/8th page units so a typical scene could be 1 5/8th pages. When the crew is new to each other and or there are multiple setups and scenes or complex camera moves to be made, you try to schedule somewhere between 3 and 4 pages of script a day. A scene may be only 1/8th a page but it will still require a relight and rehearsal and coverage of the different shots required to make an editable scene. The production staff, due to time and money constraints, had a very ambitious schedule. And this is where they began to not so much fall apart but they had to start cutting things in order to get the necessary footage. This in turn turned the day into a 13 hour day which over the next couple of days began to take its toll on the crew. We are all Volunteers and some hold IA union cards. It was not so much taking advantage of us but there were a few times when if felt that they were going over pre production issues that should have been decided before we started working. Having said that, when you sign the deal memo, you really are committing yourself to long hours of hard work interspersed with boredom, particularly on a low/no budget short. I am proud to say that the production was never held up on the part of the technical departments.
Working Electrical or Grip is great fun. I was on the call sheet as an Electrician but we also had to do a number of rigging jobs including building a big tent to block out the daylight for the Dorm room which was supposed to be a Night shot. Basically you build a 12 x12 for frame using screw tight corners and these things called ears that slide into a Lollypop or C Stand Head. You then take a 12x12 foot black sheet of Duvetyn that has elastic corners and strings attached and tie it to the frame. You mount the frame Via the Ears to a couple of Combo stands and rise it up to above the window flush as possible to he walls. This is done outside BTW.
You then take a 20x30 foot rag of the same material and attach it to the table top so that you create walls. Plug up the edges with scrap Duvetyn and viola, you have night in the daytime. You can then add lights to the spec of the scene. In this case we put in a Baby to act as a street light through the window.
The key to doing the job correctly is IMHO being there when your needed and running away when your not. And keeping the gear tidy enough to work or be wrapped up as situation requires. And listening. Once the scene, whatever it is, is lit and they begin rehearsing he camera and actors, Hang out just out of the way and listen to your boss as they work stuff out. He may be talking to the gaffer or key grip and say that he wants a lensor to take a flare off the camera or a particular light to be tweaked a bit. Being there and paying attention allows you to get the stuff in with minimal fuss and time so they can do the job that is key, shooting the performance. That is why you are there.
We shot 6 Pages and cut about 3 scenes that were really inconsequential.
Tomorrow Day 3 Still at Sand Point


At 11:27 AM, Blogger Grish said...

Now first off, it's cool about being able to use the naval station.

13 hours a day is a long time at work. Not so long if you enjoy it but still a lengthy spell.

I don't think I understood correctly about the scene being measured into 1/8th units though. Do they take a page of script and divide each page into 1/8th of a page and then shoot each page this way?

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Eric said...

Each Scene is basically the Same People at the same place at the same time. So you mark the scene as Scene 1 Bedroom Nigh Interior.
Assuming the script is formatted correctly you take a standard ruler and measure from Scene 1 to scene 2 the number of ruler widths and the count is roughly the 8ths of a page. Low tech and effective.

At 6:02 PM, Blogger Grish said...

I think I understand where your getting at now. Thanks for explaining to me. <- thick headed hehe


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