Downtime? Prep something

Film, TV and the like end up having a lot of hurry up and wait. Rush to get 6 cameras out the door in the morning. Wait in the van for 45 minutes before you can leave for location. Rush to location. Wait outside because talent won’t let you in yet.

A lot of those times, you can either spend over at crafty or joking around with the guys and girls on crew… Or you can find something productive to do.

Go through your kit. What did you loan out that never came back? Are you short a couple of things? Make a list so you can pick them up. I end up needing to refresh every time I give someone my backup stash of c47s, and most times that I hand out BNC barrel connectors. Maybe a PA took the last of your two inch white gaff tape. Make a note to get some more.

If you’re waiting around by cameras, can you double-check settings, backfocus, and the like? Prep GoPros that you’re going to need later? Or just make sure you’ve got tapes labelled for all of your cameras, an extra with each operator, and spares on you? All of those often happen in the heat of battle, but if there’s downtime, it’s nice to be ready to go.

If you’re at location and waiting to get in, do you have lights that you know you’re going to take in that you could prep? Can you make sure you’ve got gels ready to go if you expect to use certain ones?

Look around and make sure things are as ready as possible.

At the very least, your day will be a little easier. There’s a good chance, though, that if you’re always ready to go, you’ll quickly become the go-to guy when someone needs a person.

As an example, today I worked with 2 new PAs. One had a backpack with a clipboard and other miscellaneous gear. His Ibuprofen came in handy for the audio guys (why is it always audio???). He stayed close to set, and tried to keep his eyes and ears open. The other came without gear, ran off with my tape roll for 2 hours, and was nearly impossible to find when we needed someone.

Guess which I recommended for another job, and which won’t be called back for this show?

About Randy Lee
Shooter. Editor. Colorist. Filmmaker. Coffee Addict. Workaholic.
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