Guest: Jeff Brookshire, Writer/director/editor
Project: Awaken The Dead (Horror)
I thought Jeff did a really nice job tonight. If you watch the show you know my exec producer for Filmnut, Brian Gramo, was the first A.D. on the film. I’m kind of pissed at myself for not asking Jeff for any dirt on Brian but the time just flew by! Ah, Brian is too efficient and good at what he does so I’m sure there wouldn’t be anything juicy anyway.
One of the things that came up during the interview was this eighteen hour day that Jeff had on ‘Awaken The Dead’ due primarily to trying to light a church scene and trying all different ways to get the scene lit just as they wanted. Not only did this day take eighteen hours but it also put them behind schedule and they had less time to shoot other scenes thereafter.
I want to explore that for a second and pretend this occurred on day 10 of a hypothetical 14 day shoot. (14 is the number of days they had on Awaken) Now lets pretend it’s day 3 of your shoot and you’re the director. Your first a.d. comes up to you and says we’ve got the scene shot as planned in pre-production and that morning’s meeting and advises to move on. But you as the director are feeling creative and either want to shoot from another angle or want to get an even better take from one of the actors and you remind your a.d. that you are slightly ahead of schedule. Now, if you choose to get ahead here, on day 10, you’ll be in better shape. If you don’t get ahead by day 10 that will put some pressure on those last 4 days to catch up or you will need an extra day, and if your daily cost of production averages about $18,000 (as it would on a $250,000 budget). You’re looking at that cost and crossing your fingers that actors, crew, and locations are available.
Okay, this is an example of where a first a.d and a director can clash. Ultimetly it is the director’s call but whenever you have an opportunity to get ahead of schedule it is advisable to take it as you never know when a scene might cause you to get behind. Getting behind and or shooting beyond the allotted budgeted days is simply not an option for many. (If your crew, actors, locations or any combination are free well then you have more leeway for many it’s also a consideration of losing pieces who have booked other work). It’s also another reason why a good first a.d. will often try to schedule the most difficult or challenging scenes first… to know where you stand once those scenes are done.
So shoot those challenging scenes first, get ahead and stay ahead and if you must you will have time in the bank when you truly need it.
More good stuff in tonight’s show, download it if you missed it live. And if you want more information on ‘Awaken The Dead’ you can check out:
Thanks for tuning in!