The Shoot

So, last week I finished the principal shooting for the pilot of the TV Show I’m developing. There are a couple of pick up shots and a whole lot of post work to be done. but the raw pieces are there. How did I do it?

I am surrounded by amazing people. This is the first creative venture like this I have ever attempted. The last two days of the shoot were grueling. We finished one night after midnight and started the next by 8:30AM and then went all day. no money, no perks. just people giving their time and talent to make my dream a reality. Overwhelming, when I think about it.

I am blessed with gear. This time I rented nothing. I borrowed from friends or the church, or used my own equipment. I had access to a boom mic, a full dolly and a slider, DSLRs and lenses, lights, stands, diffusers, sandbags and more.

There are always challenges.

Getting unpaid extras is the absolute hardest part of the whole deal. I almost didn’t reshoot a scene that was also in the preview project because almost no one showed up. I needed to redo it for several reasons, so I pulled a couple of crew people and used them as extras. Which meant we shot that scene on a skeleton crew.

To shoot on locations for free, expect to be flexible. I spoke with the manager of a local place, and arranged to shoot on a Monday. He said that mondays were normally not that busy, so things should be quiet for us. Turns out that Monday’s are always Mexican Salad Special night. The place was slammed during the dinner hour. but thinned out enough for us to get the two scenes shot before closing time. It would have been better to be able to pay the shop enough that we could be in there when it was closed. And then to bring in our own staff/extras for the shoot. But we couldn’t, and didn’t.

Another location, we were locked out. It had taken until the day before the shoot to work out all the details about how to get in, and then on the morning of the shoot no one was there. We finally worked it out, but there were some moments where I wondered how long it would take. we were shooting four scenes in that location and had to be done by 4:30 PM. An hour delay could have been disastrous.

Gear will break. We started out with four lights at our disposal. By the end of the shoot we had two working lights. One has what we think is a bad ballast. The other blew a bulb in the middle of the last day of shooting. We had no spares, and our time table didn’t allow for stopping to try to find a place open on the weekend. I think I can make everything work, and fix it in post. Luckily that was all that happened.

What’s next?

Post! All files have been converted and imported into FCP. I will be cutting the scenes together, and then finishing the show.

Release! I plan to have the whole show released by mid May.

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One thought on “The Shoot

  1. If u don’t already, u should try to find a casting director who believes in what you’re doing to help you with actors. But my experience with extras has taught me to always cast TWICE as many as u actually need because only half of them will show up.

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