Scenes 4-1 to 4-9

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Scene 4-1 Board  
Scene 4-2 Board Scene 4-2 Still
Scene 4-3 Board  
Scene 4-5 Board Scene 4-5 Still
Scene 4-5 Board Scene 4-6 Still
Scene 4-5 Board Scene 4-7 Still
Scene 4-5 Board Scene 4-8 Still
Scene 4-5 Board  


This scene was really my lesson in balancing practicality with art. When we storyboarded this I had nine shots for this scene. After problems on the first day of shooting (we lost the camera truck and lost most of the day) I realized I had to simplify the shot plan. It really made me revisit the scene in a major way and was very positive: I revised the scene and realized that not only could I do it in four shots and a pick-up, but it would be better aesthetically if I did it that way. I went to set feeling like I’d not only made it possible to get the movie made that day, but that it was going to be even better than it would have been if I’d shot it as I originally planned.

Then we got way behind schedule in the morning and I came under a lot of pressure to reduce the shots even further. And this is where I made my big mistake. I tried to reduce too much: I tried to reduce three simple shots into one complicated one. Big, big mistake. First of all, we lost tons of time rehearsing and rehearsing this crazy, impossible shot. Then, trying to wedge three shots into one created some very different shots than I had planned, shots that were not, in many ways, as good—they were too dynamic. In the end, I had to create a whole new shooting plan from the ground up on the spot, and while I made it work, it would have been better if I hadn’t screwed with it in the first place. In the end, I still did four shots and a pick-up, some were from the original plan, some were created to fix problems in the crazy shot.

I lost a lot of time and made everyone on set miserable, but I did learn a lot. It was a rookie mistake, the truth is I just didn’t have the experience to really know what was going to be actually simpler. The rule of thumb is that more set-ups equals more time, but it really all depends on the individual idiosyncracies of the shots you’re dealing with. The truth is that there are no good rules of thumb—ever. Now, I’m glad it happened; I learned more about shooting a movie and running a set that day than I did on the days that went totally smoothly. It was my real crisis moment and though I made mistakes, I made my bones that day; it made me a director.

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