One of the biggest advantages of being on set to stream/tape “behind the scenes” footage is that one gets to watch the film making process as it happens and soak up lots of knowledge in the process. “Working with Actors” is the first in a series of posts I have planned about lessons learned while streaming from the set of Marty Rosenberg’s indie supernatural theater. The “talking points” style I’ve been using has been well-recieved so far, so I’ll keep that format for this series as well. My publication plan is as follows.
- Working with Actors: It was amazing to watch Heather, Jake and Mackenzie at work. And, I learned a lot from the way the Marty and crew supported them to get the best possible performances, particularly on a tight shooting schedule.
- The Professional Crew: Watching seasoned filmmakers at work was a real eye-opener. It made film-making both magical and accessible at the same time.
- Recruiting Talented Beginners: When I walked on set, I thought all of the Production Assistants already had film experience. They didn’t. But, they listened, learned and worked their butts off.
- Practical Visual Effects: Not every VFX needs to be rendered CG. A can of compressed air and a spool of monofilament can go a very long way in the hands of Marty Rosenberg or Peter Bailey.
- Lighting for Effect: Marty Rosenberg is a well-respected cinematographer and his ability to plan his lighting and adjust on the fly was a wonder to watch.
- Managing the Production Schedule: The budget and schedule were tight, but the production value remained high for a “$0.59 cent movie”.
- The Dinner Table: Napoleon said “an army marches on it’s stomach” … so does a film. In addition to fueling the cast & crew, the dinner table is an opportunity to build camaraderie on set.
- Transferable Skills: This film was the first for Producer Peter Adams, but it did not show. The way Peter brought his skills from other businesses into play is a lesson for all first-time producers.
- The Fourth Character: If chosen well, the location itself becomes another character in the film. This was certainly true for Preston Castle.
- Make-Up is More than Lipstick: In addition to creating realistic bruises and open wounds, Margaret Caragan made me cry.
This list is more of a guideline than a formal plan. The order of publication may change and I may add, delete or consolidate topics as I write. So, stay tuned over the next month or so as I digest my on set experience and pass it on to you.