WE FINALLY SHOT OUR FILM. I REPEAT, WE SHOT OUR FILM IN ONE WEEKEND. I cannot put into words how much better I feel. I am ~glowing~.
Obviously we made mistakes this weekend, some of which could have been prevented early on. If we don't learn from our mistakes, how are we going to get better at anything? So, I compiled this list of some issues we ran into and how we can fix them (for next time).
1. Insufficient budget - Our third day on set was very low budget when it came to crafty, and when the people need crafty, they need crafty. Perhaps we could have set up an Indiegogo campaign like Stopover City did. Then we wouldn't have to worry about paying for food.
2. Poor(ish) location - I threw the 'ish' in there because there were some great things about our location. For one thing, it was a two minute drive from campus--this made it super convenient to haul equipment, cast, and crew there and back. It was also Connor's friends apartment, which made coordinating times to shoot fairly easy and we didn't have to pay for it. However, Danby is a highway where cars drive by at 40 miles per hour and I could hear every single one. This is going to make my life a living hell when I try to edit the sound. I tried to prepare for the damage by putting lavalier microphones on our actors. Next time we'll have to look for a place in a quieter neighborhood, far away from any main roads.
3. Bad timing in the semester - Due to group members' commitment to various other projects, this weekend was literally the only weekend that worked for everyone. What sucked was that it was Cortaca weekend, which meant people's friends from home would be visiting, loud music would be playing, and people would want to take a post-game nap (understandably so). There were a number of times we had to hold for people moving in and out of the house, and I felt terrible keeping these people from sleeping at 3:00 in the morning. Next time we'll have to figure out more than 3 long shooting days and break it up.
4. Bad time of day - We shot our exteriors at Connor's house in the morning and it was cloudy, which was a great thing. But the next two days we were seriously rushing to get in all our daytime shots because there are only so many hours of daylight this time of year. This gave us ample time to shoot our night scenes because the sun went down by 5:00 PM. Next time we should definitely make sure that the call sheets have sunrise and sunset times on them and factor that in to the shooting order.
5. Production design - This also goes along with location scouting issues. Most of the walls in the house are white, which made production design a bitch. This kind of went along with our story though, because our antagonist is supposed to be obsessively clean. If we could do it again, it would be better if the location had different colored walls; this would also make lighting much easier.
6. Call sheet errors/lack of info - Our call sheets looked super professional and that's just dandy, but they were lacking information. Maybe it was because we were trying to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time, but for me they were hard to follow. I would like to see the specifics of what we're shooting on them. Instead of the scene number and a couple word phrase explaining it, I want to see the page number in the script that coincides with the scene, the exact actions the actor takes in the scene, and which actor(s) are needed for that scene. We realized after arriving on set that the call sheet for our first shoot listed both actresses, but we only needed one to be there.
I don't mean to be a negative Nancy, I just want to make sure that I or my group doesn't make the same mistake twice.