Continuing with the Art Directing pre-production for my first thesis film, I went with some of the main crew members the other night to check out a location we were shooting at to see what kind of props we would need to get. Luckily, not that many.
The Director wants a mostly black and white room with small accents of color to match the main actors. The living room at the location is pretty white, making the colorful accent task a simple trip to Goodwill.
It’s always a good idea to stop by your locations beforehand and go over a few things:
- Parking – Where’s the Grip Truck going to go? Is there ample parking for cast and crew or do you need to carpool?
- Power – We don’t get generators (grad students do), so we have to use people’s house power. Where’s the fuse box?
- Green Room – Where can the cast rest when they’re not needed? Where is craft services going to be set up?
- Shot planning – Now is the time to storyboard and look around the location when you have it to yourself.
- Lighting – Are there windows? Is this a night scene? Do you need to black them out to maintain continuity? Can your lights fit in the location?
It’s a lot easier to think about your shots and plan the action when you have the location to yourself and 15 people aren’t waiting on you.
Meeting the location owners beforehand and giving them a brief overview of what’s going to happen is also a wise idea. Fortunately, the owners of this location have had their house used in over 20 Film School productions, but for the uninitiated, 15 people invading their house with trucks, lights, tracks, and carts can be a bit overwhelming.
Good communication with the owner is great, because the last thing you want to do is burn a location (I believe there’s a burned location list somewhere around the school).