How do you plan a film shoot? – Uncsa Filmmaking Summer Intensive 2020

The whole film is divided between a number of meetings during each day with all the crew, so the first meeting is always the hardest. Then there are lots of meetings, and then the camera guy comes in at 6 a.m. with a proposal of the last picture he’d need and lots of other little conversations. The last meeting is the most important. You have a deadline, so you have to make an offer to the director or producer or a company, and they have to see what you’re going to do.

We have to go through quite a few meetings before we are allowed to do the whole operation. The most important one of course is the first. They ask if anyone wants to be on every day, and you can think of it as the “take a break for lunch and do a walk.” You’ll go back in and get some additional details, but you’re all back in the same room talking and laughing.

Do you guys just hang around, do you try to plan all the action?

No, we are a very open team. Sometimes we’re shooting at a big farm with cattle or with a trailer, and it’s more of a crew of six people, but the same rules apply about what we are allowed to shoot, and we may also use a crane with some actors on set in a crane cab.

Most shooting we do with the tractor is done by two men, and it varies. One is our director, who has his head covered and who’s the one in charge of the shoot. The other man is the guy who knows how to do everything, the guy who works in the back. It’s like the old days; there was a director and a driver and a lookout. In the old days everyone is shooting together on different days, now everybody is shooting on his own, so there’s no need for supervision.

In our case, the tractor has two rigs and the rigs and our driver are all on the same set for a long time, until it’s time to shoot. It’s not easy to set up the rigs, and there’s lots of shooting involved and the day’s not going to be long, so we have to have a lot of people on the set with me to keep everything going.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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