Film sets are not all action, you’ll spend lots of time waiting around. Here’s my top 5 tips for making use of that down time.
- Crew Portraits – As I first discussed in TT 11, just about everyone on a film set will want some photographic record of where they have spent the majority of their waking hours for the period of the show. Your photos of crew members at work are a great memento for their loved ones and a great addition to their online presence. Your generosity with capturing and sharing great crew portraits will win you favours on set and recommendations for future shows.
- Character shots – I love a good character shot and more importantly so do publicists, producers and actors. The beauty of these images is that you can capture great images while not being on a dressed set. Actors often spend a lot of time at the ready for shooting and will often gladly pose for character shots if only to fill in time. The best thing about shooting character portraits while actors are not in the thick of filming is that you will get the time to work intimately with the actor that you rarely get while they’re in position between and after a take.
- Editing/Reviewing your work – Having a laptop with you on set is a great way to be productive during the long slow setup times or when the crew is shooting another angle on a scene you’ve already covered. I’m often in a quiet corner doing quick selections on my stills to minimise the work I have to do at night after the crew have wrapped for the day.
- Planning/Negotiating – If you’ve read your script (which you should have) and kept an eye on your call sheets (head to TT 06 for a refresh on why call sheets are awesome) advance schedule you’ll have an idea of what scenes are coming up. If the upcoming scenes are important to your planned publicity shots then negotiating with the powers that be (Producers/First ADs) is a great way to improve your chances to capture them.
- Networking – I’ve discussed the importance of networking before (TT 12 Getting work as a stills photographer) the waiting around you do on set can be very social. Its a great opportunity to get to know other up and coming film makers with common aspirations and maybe even score a job or a referral for a job on a forthcoming project. Remember – networking is not just about how others can help you – reciprocity is the key. Read this great professional networking article (via monster.typepad.com).
I absolutely love hearing from other photographers and film crew who are reading my blog. If you’ve got a topic you think I should cover or a suggestion or a recommended resource, please drop me a line angus at production-stills.co.uk. If you like the blog share it with your friends and colleagues!