Production Guidelines for a Half Hour Show
6-Day Shoot
by James Jaeger

Shooting Schedule

The film should be shot on two consecutive weekends including the Friday before each weekend. This will give six (6) days of principal photography where the full crew will work shooting major sync scenes and dialog.

So as to not push anyone to early-morning limits, shooting should start each day at 9AM and wrap at 6PM. Target to take a half hour lunch, on the set, each day at 12 noon. If the company gets behind, other locations will be readied while the cast and crew eat and then those who were working to ready the next set will eat.

On a typical day, two (2) sync dialog scenes can be done, one in the morning and the other after lunch. Hence on a 6 day shoot, about 12 sync dialog scenes could be shot with a full crew. The whole film should not be dialog scenes however, otherwise it will just be a "talking heads" picture.

More intricate, or scenes pivotal to the story, will take special care, thus these can be scheduled for the entire day or even over 1 - 1/2 days. Such a scene must be justified and must fit into the rest of the show with a degree of quality that is equivalent to the adjacent scenes of the movie.

During the intervening week, between the weekends of principal photography, pick-up shots, cutaways, wild sound and shots mit out sound (MOS shots) will be made. Also during this week, you will correct and plan for the next days of shooting as well as rent the necessary equipment and lights.

Allow two days, for pick-up shots and retakes. This will give an effective eight (8) day shoot.

Location Notes

The possibility of shooting at a night club is greatly enhanced if you strike a deal whereby you utilize the band or band leader as an actor in one of the scenes. Shooting can be done in the club while it is closed to the public - such time possibly being the band's practice time. Other band members could be used as bits or they could play as musicians. Make sure you get a location release signed with at least a dollar of consideration. Have the band leader get this release signed by the owner of the club as he or she has an established relationship with them and its the band's practice time anyway.

The best time to shoot a disco, for free, is a day the club is closed preferably starting early in the morning BEFORE a night when the club WILL CONTINUE TO BE CLOSED THAT NIGHT. Then you are not as rushed to get out as the late afternoon and evening draws close. Clubs have to get ready for their customers. Saturday morning - not Okay. Sunday morning - okay, IF they are closed for business Sunday night.

Access to offices is easy because you are filming on the weekend for the most part.

Access to apartments and houses should be routine.

General Notes

Access to multiple TECHNICALLY IDENTICAL cameras, can be achieved by shooting with cameras that you know friends own. They let you use their cameras(s) because you will let them use yours. Multiple cameras gives you the possibility of shooting a scene at a crowded area, such as downtown or in an exterior arena or public event, circus, parade, etc., more easily.

If you stagger the use of Extras over the course of a shooting day, you can sometimes wrap their services before you feel obligated to feed them a meal. Example: Let's say you need 30 extras for a disco scene, arrange for 15 to be there the whole day, and 15 to come to the set after lunch. Use the 15 that are there for the whole day to establish them into the shots, making sure the others are only passing through specific shots as background "atmosphere."

Make sure every person who agrees to let you use a location to film in signs a legally binding Agreement (called a "Location Release"). THIS IS A MUST, because 9 times out of 10 the location owner will not have any conception of the amount of work you, the staff and crew will have done in preparation to using their location and it is not cool for you to have 25 people show up to a location Sunday morning to find all the doors locked because "they forgot". Only sue for damages if the crew beats you up.

PR Guidelines

The film you are making is a non-commercial experimental film that may have possible market value. When you are recruiting Talent (writer, actor, actresses, director), Staff (PM, first AD, PAs) and Crew (DP, Soundmixer, Gaffer), represent the project accurately to them - not making it seem too small OR too large. If you represent it to be too small - you will not be able to interest them in working and deferring their pay. If you represent it as too large - no one will work unless you pay them more money than you have in the budget. Here is the ideal PR line to recruit Talent/Staff/Crew, to be said exactly upon your initial contact with them:

"We're shooting a half hour TV show and I would like to know if you would be interested in working on a deferred pay basis as the __________ for the following days:

______, ______, ______, ______, ______, ______, almost all of which fall on weekends."

When they ask "What is "deferred pay" say: "This production probably will not have a commercial value - however if we all do an exceptional job - it just might. Under those circumstance, each person that worked will then receive their deferred pay, plus possibly a little extra. Nevertheless, your main motivation for working on this production should be fun, creative outlet and experience."

NOTE: Permission is granted by the copyright owner to disseminate this article in whole or in part provided credit is given to the author (with a link to the article's source URL)
and this NOTE is not removed.

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