Tuesday, October 9, 2007

10 Seconds

Every film ends up with a catch phrase.

The last one I worked on, with K, was "The 90 Minute Short", based on the Script Supervisor *coughMEcough* giving an incorrect script timing to the director for her 20 minute short.

On this one, after our boom guy gave us multiple stories about a sound guy he worked with...no matter what you asked this sound guy, his answer was always 10 seconds. We adopted it for our own.

How long before we have sound? 10 seconds

When will the talent be ready? 10 seconds

How long before we can get pizza? 10 seconds


Sometimes, you work on a great film with a great crew and a great director. Sometimes, it's one of the three, and sometimes, it's none or just one. Usually, as the scripty, you are your own crew.

Solitary, no others in your crew.. you are it. The closest person to work with is the A.D. and the A.C.. You work with the first to settle shots, scenes, where the shoot is going... and you call out the shots to the A.C. or whomever is handling the slate to mark said slate.

Aside from that, you sit by the director, only communicating to note continuity errors or when scenes are running long. If the other departments are closed ranked, you will be alone.

I had a great crew, and we stood and bitched about the street noise (Poland won a football game... and you'd think the neighborhood had personally played in it), the MTA, our rents, the upcoming winter slush... the film.

When you are unpaid, people think the crew you pick up is going to be slack, not caring, there to hang around and do nothing.

What isn't understood is that paid or unpaid, a film crew works hard, and is dedicated to the craft, because we love what we do. It's the process, the love of the craft, every department that is involved that will forge the final project.

Oh, we may thing the director is a jerk and the talent isn't talent, but, props that eat. We'll laugh about you on the headset, stand outside and smoke until the last second, stare blankly when a scene is being done, and sit and wait until we are needed. It's boring, it's hurry! hurry! HURRY!!!!

No, wait.

Wait for 47.32 minutes.

Then you shoot for 13.28 seconds. CUT!

Next scene.

We ask for little. Good food. Coffee or tea or cocoa in the morning. Cold drinks on a hot day (if I am in a room with 7 other people and no air movement, and sweat is dripping off my nose onto my script, let me be able to reach down for an ice cold drink), something to snack on during the day to keep me going. Comfort food at meal times.

We'll give you everything we've got. Let us know you know your job. Be a producer that produces, a director that has a vision that is clear and clean, a D.A. that is firm, and we're right that with you. Respect our positions, know we know our jobs, and work with us. Listen, heed, and treat us fairly.

We'll give you all we have, even if we are working for free.

You want that shot set up? No problem.


10 seconds.

7 comments:

Prince Gomolvilas said...

10 whole seconds?! What are y'all? Amateurs?! You should come to Hollywood. You'd get eaten alive!

Bud said...

Some of what you describe reminds me of the recording studio. But free? You work for free? In NY?

Quin said...

prince~this guy said 10 seconds for EVERYthing, no matter how long it took

bud~a gig is a gig, and if it hones my skills, i work it. amazing, eh?

golfwidow said...

Works out great ... as long as the director pays attention and isn't out of control.

modelbehavior said...

I always say "2 minutes."

Not sure why. Rolls off the tongue nice I guess.

Peter Varvel said...

Quin, I say get Golfwiddah to join you as an unpaid coworker, as long as they supply cupcakes . . .

Quin said...

mmmmm, cupcakes.