The first thing I should mention about yesterdays crazy shoot, is that I am very very lucky! The things I’d worried about and planned for – like children not able to follow directions or being bored or sulky, just didn’t happen. The children and parents were all angelic! If I could go back again though there would be a few things I’d do differently.
We were filming the opening scene of the film and our heroes are leaving school – waiting to be collected by their dad who doesn’t bother showing up. So, we have a wonderful school location and I’ve promoted the event to everyone I can think of who has children that might like to be involved, from chess clubs, Beavers, home educated kids and professional actors and models from casting sites.
People start to show up and whilst of course some people can’t make it on the day, I’m really pleased because we clearly have a very big and realistic crowd of people to fill the playground. I’m armed with props – pictures I’ve painted in the style of a five year old, craft work for some to bring out too – and everyone was bringing out slips and letters from the school to give to their parents. So far so good, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and even though I’m ecstatic with the finished result, if I could do it again tomorrow I’d do a few things differently!!!!
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Nine Things to Know.
- Start Earlier! Having everyone sign release forms and then waiting whilst everyone uses the facilities and then starting to place that many people just takes a LOT of time. We knew we had to be out of the location for 4pm – so we should have got people there earlier! Will definitely plan even more time the next time 🙂
- Check The Weather Forecast – well obviously I checked the weather forecast, but I was looking for whether or not it would rain. The numbers that indicate how warm it’s going to be though are actually a little bit important too. Yesterday we had a bit of an unexpected heat wave and no one really planned for that. Yes the shots look lovely with the sun shining – but today I expect a lot of the cast and crew (along with myself) resemble a lobster! A hat, suncream, some place to get in shade – these things would have been wonderful.
- Get Ice Cream! Massively hot day, scores of hard working children – why didn’t I think to have an ice cream van visit half way? Seriously, they deserved it!
- Really Really Really Plan to Delegate! I find this really hard. I know what I want and it’s specific and I think I can do it all. Really though, I have an ace team and if I could go back and do it all over again I would certainly explain in detail before hand exactly what I wanted all the extras to do.
- Over Communicate with Whoever Owns the Location!!! I thought I’d been clear that lots of young children, including toddlers would need to use the bathroom – but clearly the amount of traffic in and out of the school was more than they were expecting. It was so nice of them to let me come and use their school for my shoot and I wish I had been more clear about the numbers of people involved and how much demand there might be for the facilities. A meeting to chat it over is good – but confirm in writing so everyone is clear and there’ll be no bad feelings!
- Seriously You Can’t Bring Too Much Water!!!! We had over a hundred bottles of water and as I knew a lot of people were bringing food and drink of their own too I thought that was plenty. I was wrong and near the end we ran out! Disaster! I feel really really bad about this – in future I’m going to plan to bring home at least a hundred bottles of water. It’s water, it keeps and I’m never ever ever going to allow anyone on one of my sets to be thirsty again!
- A Hat On The Head Is Worth Ten In The Wardrobe! I’ve often seen pictures of old men directing films, often wearing baseball caps and I’ve thought – they have no fashion sense! Honestly, I wouldn’t have turned down even a really ugly hat yesterday – it would have kept the sun off my head and helped me to better see the monitor
- Plan “The Talk” – at the start of the filming day, especially when there are a lot of new people on set it’s customary to give a bit of a talk thanking everyone for being there, running over house keeping and letting them know what to expect. I wish I had made a list of points I wanted to cover before talking to everyone – but, being a confident girl and thinking the talk is easy and I know everything I want to say I decided to wing it. Of course, I forgot to mention a bunch of stuff…..
- Enjoy the day! It’s fun making films – heat waves, crying babies, dehydration – these are but small obstacles and the day is always over too soon. I thought it was a wonderful, fun and exciting day working with so many people. I do think I had a lot of luck on my side. My crew were ace and every single person on set, down to the youngest baby (8 day old Willow) behaved. I know a lot of people say it can be difficult working with children, but honestly I love it and as tired as I am today, I can’t wait to do some more!
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Love and Lollipops,