Last week I spent three more days with the same nervous agency and indecisive clients. We shot four new commercials for them in three days. A total of 134 set-ups resulting in 37 pages of script notes. It was loads of special effect element shots and a tough shoot: Wednesday 14 hours, Thursday 16 hours and as a bonus OT dance, they gave us less than a 10 hour turnaround on Friday so for two golden hours Friday morning we got OT then pulled a 12 hour day.
Sound like the devil’s own film shoot? Well, yeah pretty much. It could have been worse. Shooting special effects requires a lot of matching and with a nervous agency/client they want to review EVERYTHING so your video playback dude HAS to be good. This particular job…the video playback guy was a newbie. It was his VERY FIRST film job. Lucky for me, he was young, computer savvy* and caught on quickly. I was particularly impressed when when I’d come to my newbie to look for a matching action shot from a previous take, I’d tell him what I was looking for and he’d actually…wait for it...with out me telling him mind you…he’d actually freeze-frame it on the match action! I KNOW! Not to complain about SOME (not all mind you) senior video playback guys. But, I can’t show cleavage to get them to play back only the match action much less freeze frame it. God love those computer savvy youngsters.
On the less-than-memorable side, we had the client pickiness/agency indecision multiplier added with a difficulty factor of a prima donna hand model (I’ll pause while you absorb the concept of a prima donna hand model). She drove production crazy with all her requests, and made the director wait for her on several occasions...PLUS...The director would tell her how to move her hands and she would fail to comprehend. Now I assume she’s had these hands for a while now, they looked like the factory originals. You’d think she would know how to operate them. But no, the director would say, “Move your hands apart like this.” (moves hands apart), and she would say, “Like this?” Um….No…..many takes later…you get the journey.
A very important prop that was FedEx’d from the manufacturer turned out to be the wrong one, sending a scramble to find the right one in the area and that’s what they found: ONE. It got its own trailer.
Finally a bird flew into the stage and sent the boys scrambling to catch it while the make up artist (who apparently had a fear of birds that bordered on a psychological disorder) hid behind a chair with her hands over her head and screamed like she was in a Hitchcock movie. (the bird ended up flying out guided by the grips unharmed)
On the last day of filming the director and AD caught the indecision bug and set up a shot which was quite complicated (three hours of set-up thank you very much) only to decide not to shoot it then… but to come back to it later. So, camera, grip, and I took extensive notes so we could recreate the shot. When it was time to come back to the shot we had set up previously, we all started to go back to our notes... and then the director and AD decided it didn’t matter, no need to go back. Well there’s three hours of my life I don’t get back.
But the craft service rocked the house, which in my book is enough to make any shoot good. And the OT dance makes it even better.
*(we filmed with the new hi-tec, super cool, make all the boys drool RED ONE camera)