The Shoot – Directors Account

The Shoot

Today was the day of the shoot. We were all quite nervous as it was the first time we had done this before but we stayed positive. The transport came on time and we arrived at the location with enough time to set up in the stock room before we moved to the shop floor.

Before we began shooting Gergana and Shaun set the cameras up and the rest of the equipment making sure that everything was set accurately. They did a great job at doing this and worked fast so we were kept on schedule. Anka set up the sound and made sure that it was clear, Anka worked quickly and tested the sound at all times to make sure that it was perfect she did a great job, she also made sure that the refreshments for the actors and crew was set up. Jambo also helped set up the equipment and set up his camera that he was using throughout the shoot to take photos, he also helped make the actors feel at ease. Everyone worked well as a team to prepare for the shoot.

Whilst everyone was setting up I spoke to the actors to prepare and let them know what we will first be filming. I handed each of the actors a script and explained the story again so they definitely knew what it was about. Due to the fact we were on a tight schedule as Marek had to leave early, I told the actors what shots we were going to shoot first due to the fact that we could not do them in order as Marek was going to leave. This did disrupt the shot list as I had created the shot list in order of scenes so it was easier to follow and also meant that we could run through it consistently and not have problems with costume change. Thankfully Jambo had colour coded the shot list to what shots we needed to do before certain times, which was very useful, however the order of the shots we filmed did change a lot but this helped us stick to the timing schedule Jambo created. This made me learn that sometimes even if you have a plan of what you are going to film, it doesn’t always be filmed in order and you have to be prepared and work fast to change it. I made sure that Marek’s scenes were first to be filmed, as well as the extra who lived in Nuneaton, due to the fact that they had to leave. Even though it disrupted the orginal schedule, we was able to film fast and got everything done.

I asked the actors if they had any questions about the shoot and prepared their costumes. I gave each of them a shot list and explained that first we were going to jump to the ending scene with Marek and Elina arguing. I explained to each of the characters what sort of mood and expression I wanted them to perform in the first scene that we were going to be shooting and allowed them to get into character. I made sure that they felt comfortable with me due to the fact that I would be telling them what to do.

It soon came into realisation that I had to hold the filming together, at the start I was nervous and thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it because I haven’t really directed before but I grasped it quickly and made sure that we worked fast and productively.
We moved all of the equipment to the shop floor where the shooting was going to be and made sure that everything was set up in the right place for us to begin filming the first shot. I decided what the first shot would be and let everyone know in the crew. The cameras were adjusted and it was decided that the lighting of the shop was going to be left natural as it was lit enough.

I set the actors up in each of their positions and made sure they knew what they were doing. I role played the actions with Jambo to show where I wanted the actors to be; they followed instructions and grasped it well. The cameras got into position and I was consulted about the opinion of the shot, giving clear directions of how I wanted it. I then asked the crew and actors if they were ready and shouted ‘ACTION’ to queue that we had began to record. The first shot took quite a lot of takes to film due to the fact that it was the first shot and the actors were trying to get into character, the directions of where the actors were stood also had to change a few times, as it needed to flow on to the next shot. The first shot made me realise that we needed to work faster due to the fact that it took ages for them to grasp the action of the shot I wanted. I made sure in the next shots I showed the actors the direction much clearer so that we didn’t spend too much time on each shot, considering there was 90 +.
The actors soon got into role and the shots began to be filmed quite quickly. The crew worked really well to create good shots we all worked as a team to make sure that everything ran smoothly. I made sure that the crew and actors took breaks so that they were able to relax from time to time, the shop was also very cold so they needed to warm up at some points. We filmed all shots that Marek was in by 2am, meaning we were on schedule. Marek then left leaving us with the rest of the shots to shoot. Sometimes the shots got a bit confusing as I had to change the order of the shots meaning the costumes were changing all of the times, so I needed to make sure that the remaining actors were wearing the right costumes. At some points of the shoot, I thought that we were going to run out of time but luckily I managed to make the crew and actors work quicker so we kept on schedule. I learnt that as a director you have to keep everyone going, even if they become negative, if the director is negative, it effects everyone else.
Some of the shots had to change due to the fact that it didn’t look right. Thanks to Vish, the person who let us film at the shop, he allowed us to use the tills and a lot of the equipment in the shop; this allowed the film to look realistic.
The hardest scene to film was the final scene, where Simon created a picnic for Elina. I decided that we would film this last due to the fact it would take the longest to set up and Shaun who was in charge of lighting also said that the lighting would take ages to set up.
The picnic scene was prepared and once again I gave stage directions and emotions to the actors. They followed instructions well but sometimes I had to get Elina to be more emotional and happy, due to the fact that these feelings weren’t coming across on the camera. The lighting was not perfect in the final scene, and it was hard to match both of the shots as first the cameras were focused on Simon then they were focused on Elina. This meant that the direction of the camera was in a different place and the lighting of both of the shots was affected. Due to the fact we were coming up to the last half hour of the filming schedule I decided that we would just have to film the shot. I wasn’t completely happy with the final scene but it should be amended in the edit.
Overall everyone worked together to create a great piece, the filming schedule was tight but we kept to it and the actors and crew worked extremely well to make the film happen. I enjoyed filming and being director was fun, even though there were a few problems, they were overcome and we gathered all of the footage needed. I’m glad to have decided to keep the amount of shots, as they will be very important in the edit. It is better that we will have more shots than less.

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