Shooting The Master

i When it's finally time to shoot the master shot, the first AD will call in the u first team, the cast, and ask for quiet on the set. The first camera assistant will ask you to hit certain marks while the light and distance is measured. There will be light meters and tape measures coming toward your face and body. The makeup assistant will be looking carefully at every corner and crevice of your face, wardrobe will be adjusting your dress, and the hairstylist will be arranging and touching your hair. You should be concentrated on the instructions of the camera crew, who are making sure that what they have planned to do will actually work now that you are in the frame. Be aware of the lights and how they hit your face and how the specific movements that you have been given will affect the character's behavior. Remember that if you move outside of the camera frame, you will not be photographed; it doesn't matter how great you act if no one can see it.

You will walk through a tech rehearsal for camera and lights, to make sure that you understand your movements and then someone will say, okay, we're ready for picture. The crew will be asked to clear the frame—that means that all crew members and their tools and paraphernalia must exit the playing area where the actors are in position. The director will check with the DP that camera is ready for picture. Then, the atmosphere completely changes.

Before the camera rolls, the same procedure takes place each time.

• First AD: "Quiet on the set." Absolute silence immediately takes hold.

• Sound recorder: "Speed." The audio is running.

• Camera operator: "Rolling." The camera is filming.

• Camera assistant takes the clapper and puts it in front of the beginning position of the camera and slates (identifies) the shot. He claps the clapper.

• Director calls for "Action"; that's the actor's cue to begin. ^

• The scene is acted out as rehearsed and shot, until the director 2

calls "Cut." S

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No matter what type of shot you're doing, the above procedure will take place. This procedure creates an atmosphere and work environment that has | consistent rules for the actors: G

The actors' starting position is stationary and quiet. Actors do not make sounds or move during the steps before the call for "Action."

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When "Action" is called, the moment starts immediately; there's no warming up into it. It happens right then, on a dime.

• Always stay within the concentration of the scene, and keep acting even if you have made a mistake.

• Stay still when you have come to the end position of the scene, but keep acting until the director calls "Cut." If you don't know what to do, just keep investigating the moment that you are in, keep thinking and breathing; never stop until you hear "Cut."

• Never stop or look to the director if you've done something wrong; just keep going.

• Never look directly into the camera lens, unless specifically told to do so.

• If you are asked to do something, like lean forward for a certain line, wait two beats before you say something, or to look at a certain point at a specific time, just do it, even if it makes no sense to you and you don't know why. There are many technical concerns for camera continuity that you don't need to understand. As an actor, part of your job is to aesthetically make sense of whatever is being asked of you. Basically, whatever it is, make it work.

The master will only be shot two or three times. Each time the director yells "Cut," everyone stops what he or she is doing, and a short discussion of the technical merits of the scene follows. If they need to do it again, the first AD will say, "Back to one," or "Starting positions, we're going again." This means you are shooting exactly the same thing over again, adding whatever adjustments you have been given. The director may or may not pay any attention to the actors at this point. If she doesn't say anything, then assume what you are doing is right. When both the camera operator and the director are satisfied that they have what they need from the master, they will move on to the next shot.

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Film Making

Film Making

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