A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to shoot a personal project. In my last post (Plan The Shoot Part 1) I mentioned the Plan The Shoot aspect. I would now like to switch the focus and talk about the other side of this quote, Shoot The Plan. My script was not the easiest project to shoot as it involved multiple characters, multiple locations, and multiple times of day. I had to plan strategically in order to capture everything in just the three days we had to film. Yes. Three days of filming. In prep I allotted more than enough time to capture everything I needed. I did not stray from the plan. Shoot The Plan combats one of the biggest challenges filmmakers face...time. Shoot the Plan ensures you budget your time accordingly and use it wisely. It confirms you are focused and able to shoot all the necessary shots required to tell your story. It all does more. The time management plan allows you to shoot more efficiently and effectively. In some cases, it even provides you additional time to incorporate an extra shot or two, or even to try something different with an actor that could dramatically improve the scene and, ultimately, your story. In essence, if you have a solid plan, you are making room for you to continually be creative on set. This was the outcome of my most recent shoot.
One scenes involved our lead actress, Bethany, receiving a text from her father while she was driving. She was supposed to react briefly to the text message before making a u-turn. I then realized we were approximately running about 45 minutes ahead of schedule. I also noticed the sun was setting and it would be dark within an hour. I decided to have Bethany get out of the car, walk towards a bench and receive the text at that time. The sun ended up providing us with an incredible backlight and we were able to capture a beautiful oner, full of Bethany’s raw emotions as she received the text and reacted to its message. Compare this to the boring visual of Bethany in the dark car, where she had been for the majority of the film, receiving the text and probably just skimming over it. This change of scene dramatically enhanced the story and helped communicate the character's state of mind, simply through the physical location of the scene.
Plan the Shoot - Shoot the Plan is a crucial part of filmmaking. After shooting my personal project I have come to realize just how important having a plan is, but perhaps just as equally, is the ability to stick to the plan.