On Friday we had an early start in Ellen Terry. We met up to collect the equipment and started setting up. Andrew and Leyla added last touches to the set design, with props we had all brought as agreed. Then Tom, Gov and Andrew started setting up the camera and lighting, while I was filling in a risk assessment form for the shoot and setting up the microphone. Everyone was on time, and whoever had to be late was in constant contact with me – so we didn’t have to stress out about missing crew. I brought a bottle of water and paper cups for the day – you’d think this is insignificant, but from previous shoots I know how much of a difference some water and refreshments have on set. As Producer, it was my responsibility to keep track of everyone, who is doing what, who is taking a break, who needs what, etc. I think I was handling this quite well throughout the day.
Another task I had was to look after the equipment. Even though I didn’t have a technical role on the shoot, as Equipment coordinator (and quite an experienced user of most of the equipment), I was making sure everyone was using the right settings and helping out if they needed help.
My most important role, however, was Assistant Director. I was supporting Tom Barnes and helping out with the shooting order, decisions about changes in the script and schedule, helping out with technical details such as framing, light, etc., and shouting out the takes. Andrew was taking notes on a log sheet which proved invaluable. I thoroughly enjoyed my role as I wasn’t in charge so I wasn’t stressing out about the whole concept (I left that to Tom), but was rather more concerned with keeping the project together and running smoothly.
We only had the actors and equipment for a limited time, so we were trying to keep tight to the schedule and get all our coverage before the time runs out. We had some issues with one of the actors who needed lots of direction and wasn’t delivering his part the way it was intended, so we spent quite some time trying to work with that. We ended up changing the last part of the script so we won’t need to change the location to add him demonstrating the editing process – instead we decided to record his voiceover and then create a screen capture clip to add to the video. We were also adding and changing bits to the script at this point, and we were trying to make sure we had all of the lines covered. Since I am more confident in sound recording and directing voice actors, I took charge of this bit of the production and directed the takes we needed.
We managed to wrap up on time with all important parts of the script covered, and we arranged what was to be done during the weekend. I took the task of editing together the voiceover bits for the ‘how to edit our video’ part and send it to Govie – he would then create the screen capture clip and send it back to me.
As decided, we had a laptop and an external drive on set, so while we were recording on the second memory card, we could transfer and back up the footage from the previous one etc. I think it worked quite well that while the rest of the crew was focused on production, I was in charge of additional tasks like this which made us work really effectively.
In reflection, I was very pleased with how our production day turned out. I think we worked very well together, we worked according to plan, had good communication, and managed to do all the crucial tasks we had set out to do. Personally, I gained a lot of confidence in my producing and AD skills and learned the importance of having someone like this on set. I also thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with a director who knew what he was doing and was open to suggestions from me. It was a calm and fun shoot, where we worked to the best of our abilities to produce something good.