This is a weekly column behind the scenes of Alex LeMay’s latest project, DARK JOEY. DARK JOEY is a collaboration between LeMay and writer Jim Uhls, who wrote the major motion picture, FIGHT CLUB, as well as his writing partner Ric Krause. Follow along here: #Film-School:lemay-makes-a-series
They say a film is made three times: once when you’re writing it, once when you’re shooting it, and finally, once when your editing it. Our pilot is no different. As we head into post, we will now see just what that 20-hour shoot got us.
When you’re shooting 7 pages in one day with a number of people you’ve never worked with before, it puts a lot of pressure on the director, which in this case, is me. The DP, Wesley Johnson, was a pro and an amazing partner on this film so no worries there, but I needed to keep a bit of an eye on the other department heads. I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus, but as the day wore on past 15 hours, it’s always time for the director to stay ever more aware of what his crew is doing to avoid mistakes.
As we dig through our media, we are missing a crucial piece of audio. It’s totally understandable as people were dropping like flies at that point. But, having been baptized by fire where production is concerned, one needs to always be ready to improvise. In this case, we’ll unfortunately need to ADR (Automatic Dialog Replacement. Also known as “looping.” A process of re-recording dialog in the studio in synchronization with the picture). That means calling a union actor into the studio to loop a very small piece of dialogue. Not cheap. But even in well-funded projects, this stuff happens, and as we move forward, I’m sure we’ll need to deal with a few more hiccups. However, so far, we’re pretty well put together.
So, what is the takeaway? What do you as a producer or director need to do to set yourself up for success on your next 15+ hour production on a budget?
- Always monitor audio. Every take, every time. Spend the extra $30 on renting an IFB (wireless audio monitor)
- Take 30 seconds to do “last looks” before every shot. Last looks are checking background for misplaced objects, double checking critical focus (most cameras have a feature that lets you check focus by blowing up a section of your frame).
- Don’t be afraid to play back audio or picture if you have even the smallest doubt. It takes seconds and can save you hours in post.
In the end, post-production is the puzzle that truly makes one’s picture come to life, so make sure your production always has the edit process in mind when shooting.
We’ll be in the edit bay for a bit, but I’m going to give the Stareable community an exclusive sneak peak in a couple weeks.