Recently I was on another 3D feature shoot, spending a few nights getting pick-up shots for a movie coming out this fall. I hadn’t been on set for all-night shoots before, although I have done many overnights of post, including the majority of two months data wrangling and QCing footage for Julia X. Honestly, though, except for the cold, nighttime on set is easier than off, at least for staying awake. Bright lights and other people do a pretty good job of keeping one alert.
Overall the shoot was a great experience, and one very important reason for the good morale was the director. I’ve worked with some fun and interesting people, but he is the most personable and down-to-earth director I have yet encountered. When shooting multiple takes of a running scene, he kept checking with the stuntman to make sure he was okay for another. When one of the extras fell during a crowd scene, the director went over personally to make sure they were okay before continuing. He chatted with crew members casually, and talked realistically about striking a balance between making art and making money. At the end of the shoot, not only did he call everyone in for a heartfelt thanks, but leading up to that he went around the set and thanked everybody personally.
In truth, I had never heard of this director before the shoot, but after just a few days I gained an incredible amount of respect for him. I was on the production as a “3D utility”; one of my main duties was to plan and organize a multifaceted video village. We were moving quickly through locations and setting up different monitoring situations, so I came up with a reconfigurable base plan and adapted from there. The director was super easygoing about it all, and I voluntarily left lunch early to get everything wired and working faster. I’m always going to do what it takes to get the job done, but having a director like this makes me more than happy to put in any extra effort I can.
It’s not even that strange of a concept. Be a decent human being. Have respect for everybody contributing to the production. Trust everyone to do their job, and give them the support they need. In return, everyone does their best, and is happy about it. A great management technique, and a great experience.