SCHEDULING YOUR FILM GUIDE: 2. WHAT'S IMPORTANT
Another guideline to keep in mind when scheduling your film is: keep what’s important in mind. This could mean many things but here we're talking about important scenes or important pieces of content that are essential to our production. if you're making a narrative film this could be a climactic scene. Heck, if you're shooting a wedding video this could be getting the right shot of the couple during the first dance or cutting the cake. Whatever it is, it's important to the story that you're trying to tell or it's important to your client, so keep it in mind when scheduling your shooting days.
Using the example of a narrative film, say that we have a day that has five scenes and we're trying to pull off three and a half pages on this particular day. We’re also planning on shooting the climax of the film on this day.
Where does it make sense to put the climax during our scheduled day?
In short, not first, not last and hopefully before lunch.
If you've spent any time on film productions, you'll know that occasionally (or more than occasionally on some productions) scenes will get pushed to another day because of time constraints or unforeseen circumstances. So, we probably don't want to do the climax last in case we run out of time or something else comes up. Neither do we want to do the climax first in a day. Ideally, we'd like our talent to be able to mentally prepare for a scene with emotional depth and the crew to be able to prepare in a way that makes for an ideal environment for talent to do their thing. It also gives the crew the space to offer every single detail that will emphasize the mood and metaphor of mise-en-scene that the director is trying to create. So, it’s suggested to do important scenes right before lunch (and continue after if needed-it will give some time for review, rest and reflection in between). I remember having to schedule an entire pickup day on one film just because the close-up that we had during a climax wasn’t quite right (we were pressed for time at the location and made choices-that's what you do).
Now, this rule is a bit subtle and many talent are professional enough to pull off pretty much anything you want at any particular moment but unless there’s a good reason not to, make sure that build your schedule around important scenes as much as you can. They’re the heart of your product and should be treated with care. Schedule easy scenes around them. Talent especially can become emotionally exhausted from deep scenes so make sure the rest of the day is pretty light. Any scenes after them should be easily moved to another day and relatively simple. We also don’t want to feel the heat of pressure to move on so avoid hard outs or last days at a particular location to give yourself and you cast and crew a break.
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