It finally happened. The first shoot day for my latest short film Return to Sender took place on Sunday, March 11. After holding auditions and weeks of planning, we were finally ready to go.
I needed to be on set at about 8:00am, so before that we needed to pack the car. Then, we had an hour commute to the shooting location. We got there early to begin setting up and make last minute decisions for set design. Luckily, we had a lot of this done days in advance so there wasn’t too much to do.
Crew time was 9:00am. This is when we started working to set up lights, balance the steady cam set up, put markers on the floor, get the boom pole ready. About 30 minutes before the cast arrived, we started setting up the craft services table.
10:00am was the talent call time. I was very glad that we had everything set up and ready to go before our actress arrived. It really saved a lot of time, and I think it made a good impression. It looked like we had our stuff together.
Overall, I think the shoot went really well. The actress we cast as our lead was just as impressive on the shoot day as she was at the audition. I’m really happy with the performance she gave.
There were some pretty tricky shots that we wanted to get for this part of the film. We had spent a lot of time leading up to the shoot practicing them, but they still required a lot of time on the day. These shots included a bit of gear. We had a steady cam rig, a slider, monopods for tighter spaces. I’m very grateful for all of the prep we did for those shots because it helped us be more prepared on the day. I’m always happy to be prepared.
I did end up making some decisions on the fly that diverged from my plans. I was a bit worried about how that would work out in the edit, but based on our rough edits after the fact, it all seems to be working out perfectly.
I’ll talk more about the editing process when we are officially in post production.
As for directing, this is the first time I’ve been in the director’s chair since we filmed 3:03 in 2016. It definitely took me some time to get back in the swing of it. There were a lot of mistakes I made at the beginning of the shoot day that I find pretty embarrassing. By the end of the day though, I think I was good. I think I was back to normal.
Hopefully I’ll still be ready to go for the next shoot. This shoot will be on Sunday, March 18. The upcoming shoot will be in a smaller location with three actors instead of one. It will be a different experience for me. I hope it goes well.