The Shooting Schedule of
“special night”


    The actual physical production and shooting of this film lasted two days.  As I’ve said before, it was 2 wonderful days of amazing productivity for me.  A big thank you to all involved, because I couldn’t have done it without any of them.  Take a look at the schedule and see how we shot our short. 

March 17

8am:  I get off work after an overtime night shift.  I went to sleep to rest up for the day.

11am:  Wake up and go to pickup our rental equipment (lighting kit and mic).  A bit groggy but excited.  Mike, the cameraman, is ready for the day. 

12pm:  Steve arrives with more equipment and I just get back to the apartment.  Mike helps Steve unload everything and I run to the store to pick up last minute snacks and drinks.  Ronit arrives to start setting up her makeup room.  She is doing the makeup in my bedroom, which has been cleared out and is also being used for all the production equipment that needs to be hidden.  This includes the audio mixer, small monitor for me to watch while we’re shooting, and holding room for all those not needed.  Needless to say, it’s crowded.  No special treatment going on here.

12:30pm:  I get back from the store.  Mike and Steve have the lighting set up started.  Jon arrives.

1pm:  Natalie arrives for makeup.  She also brings more outfits for me to take a look at.  We decide on her beautiful dress and stuff the rest of the outfits in my overcrowded closet.

1:30pm:  Justin arrives for his makeup.  Natalie isn’t quite finished yet, but Justin won’t take nearly as long. 

2pm:  Lighting set up is complete.  We are waiting for the actors to finish their makeup, so we can do some last minute tests.  This is right around the time that I took my last minute before shooting freak out.  Tim is setting up the microphones and the audio mixer.  Without his help, this audio wasn’t going to sound as clean.  I begin freaking out because the audio mixer wasn’t pre-tested at our tech shoot.  We’re all excited to use it though, so we finish the hook-up and test it out.  It seems to work out fine and I’m able to monitor it in the other room.  Success. 

3:30pm:  Makeup is done and the actors take their places for the final lighting check.  Mike suggests a quick camera test to make sure that all is working AOK.  We do a short test record and then digitize the footage into the computer to make sure it’s good all the way through.  A camera problem is found, because we encountered a dirty lens.  Steve quickly cleans the lens and another test record is done.  I find it to be acceptable and we begin to move forward. 

5pm:  We get the first shot off.  We’re approximately 2 hours behind my crazy schedule.  We started with a full run through from beginning to end and then break it down later on.  We shot 3 full run throughs before we broke it up for a variety of close-ups, two shots and multiple lighting resets.  I couldn’t believe that we moved the lights so many times.  I was really underestimating the time it would take to set up each shot and we were falling incredibly behind for the day. 

8pm:  Reinforcements, Scott and Ed, arrive with dinner.  Subway subs are served!  We really needed a break to just socialize and get our energy back up.  I’m very quiet at this point as I huddle with Jon and Mike to discuss what shots we have to have tonight and what can be put off until tomorrow.  We finish eating and get ready for more shooting. 

9pm:  We’re back at it.  We’re thinking of quickly adding a second camera while we let Natalie and Justin get their makeup freshened up and rehearse a little.  Ed will shoot and we can maybe get more of the shots we need tonight.  I put the kibosh on it and decide to just go with one camera.  I’m a little bit worked up at this point and really nervous that this won’t get done. 

10pm:  We’re really doing some high quality work at this point.  The actors are firing on all cylinders and I love the footage we’re getting.  We grab a few shots where we see the outside since we’ll need it dark. 

11:30pm:  We end the night on an emotional high.  Everyone feels great about the work that we’ve done and we call it a night.  We leave all the equipment right where it is since we we’ll need it again tomorrow.  Everyone goes home to get some much-needed rest.

12:30am:  I decide that I can’t sleep until I assess some of the footage that we’ve gotten.  I log and digitize almost every single frame of footage that we shot.  I got about 3 hours of sleep that night.  I slept on the couch surrounded by the equipment. 

March 18

9am:  People starting to arrive for more shooting.  Fred’s groggy, but can’t wait to start.  Steve stops by to check out the lights and give us some pointers. 

11am:  Pretty sure we were shooting by now.  Everyone falling into their roles.  Very relaxed set.  Only Jon, Mike, me, Ronit, Justin and Natalie.  Which makes it a bit daunting, since we don’t have a lot of help.  But we’re moving quickly. 

12pm:  We’re shooting the scene in the kitchen.  Can hear lots of mowers outside which sucks, because I’d been monitoring their gardening schedule for 3 weeks and they’re about an hour early.  Justin is on his 4th of 5th Coke by now.

2pm:  We’re moving at a good clip.  Nothing is going to slow us down now. 

4pm:  Breaker blew.  That was a good take, which now we need to do over.  Fred’s panicking a little.  Can’t remember where we need to go.  Mike can’t understand me.  We’re both frustrated.   Jon intervenes and like a good producer gets us back on track. 

5:30pm:  We finally take a lunch break.  Pizza Hut.  MMMM.  Fred breaks out the cookies. 

7pm:  Still amazed that these actors are soo good.

8:30pm:  Showing signs of fatigue.  Scott arrives and takes Jon’s place at the boom pole.  Jon shoots some behind the scenes footage. 

10pm:  Jon has to go home to his family.  We’ve got our footage.  We take a group picture.  The actors amazingly ask for one more run through.  I agree although I can’t believe it.  It’s incredible.  I’m on the floor, just marveling at their performances.  They perform like they’ve been doing these characters on stage for weeks. 

11pm:  We’re finished.  Justin and Natalie get their makeup off.  We start to break down the equipment.  Steve returns to get his lights.  We say our goodbyes.

12am:  Fred eats leftovers and is so happy.

12:30am:  Fred digitizes the rest of the footage like a maniac.  Promises himself to get some distance from the footage before beginning any cutting.  Love the footage that we got. 

3:30am:  Finally, calmed down and went to bed. 

I loved every second of this production.  Amazing people, working together toward a common goal.  I’m very happy and I feel energized.  Now, comes the life sucking moments and the amazing breakthroughs in editing, as well as, the agony of finishing.