Day 1 — Post Mortem

It’s the morning of day two … I got in a little early (6:40AM FOR 7:00AM call time) and I’m going to try to post some photos and some thoughts about Day 1 before we get started on day two.

First some context — and those who have been following this all along may already know this background.  When we shoot a film, obviously the shooting schedule is divided into days, and each day you have to shoot a certain portion of the script.  A script is normally about 100 pages – and each page represents more or less a minute of finished, edited screen time.  So it becomes a pretty simple matter of math — if you’re going to shoot a 100 page script in 24 shooting days, then you need to average more or less four pages a day.  If you have 60 days to shoot it (like a studio film, and I’m talking about basic drama — not the Dark Knight) then you have to do a page and a third a day.  On the other hand, if you a TV show you may have to do 7 pages a day — but then you’re dealing with a lot of familiar elements — same cast, same crew, same locations — everything is established — the style, the characters, and so on.  So a 7 page TV day is not like a 7 page movie day.

Anyway, against all of that background, yesterday we had an 8 page day scheduled and not only 8 pages — but lots of extras and so on.  So I was a little worried — or more than a little worried.  It was a big bite to take on the first day — on the other hand, the theory was that if we were going to fall behind, better to fall behind on Day 1 of the LA shoot rather than have it happen at the end.

So as the day went on, we did fall behind in the morning.  We were trying to wrangle a pretty big scene in volving 15 extras, green screen shots, and a lot of other elements–plus it was day 1 — and so it was a challenge.  We needed to finish this 4 page scene before lunch to stay on schedule, and we didn’t quite get it done.  Or rather, we did finish by lunch, but we had to go thirty minutes past the 6 hour mark of the day and that means we had to buy a meal penalty which will cost a bit — and of course it also means our afternoon section of the day would be shortened by those thirty minutes.  It was a little like being ten points down at halftime of a basketball game.

Then as the afternoon started, we moved from the underground lab set to the hospital set and that took longer than anticipated.  We were 90 minutes into the afternoon before we were up and rolling on our first afternoon shot …. so at that point  we were about two hours behind in a 13 hour day.

And from that point on, I have to say the teamwork was amazing.  First AD Al Dickerson came up with a very slick revision to the shooting plan that saved two setups in the first scene and so we gained back an hour on that deal.  Then Lila and I figured a couple of things out on the next scene …. and one thing led to another and we got every scene, well covered, and wrapped exactly at the end of our 13th hour.

It’s interesting what that kind of a day does to you.  You’re so pumped up … it feels like you’ve been riding a bucking bronco all day long and on the verge of getting bucked off, but you didn’t, and at the end of it all you’re still on top.

So … bottom line … we all ended the day feeling pretty good.

And the other piece of this is that we all ended with a pretty strong impression of how much easier it is to pound out a big day on a sound stage in Los Angeles than it is to do that at distant location with dolphins, weather, and all the uncertainties of shooting someplace where the support system is pretty much whatever you have brought to the island.

Anyway — that’s enough chattering about Day 1.  It’s day 2 now and we’ve got another huge day.  This time it isn’t a lot of extras but we do have a baby (yikes) and a lot of pages to shoot.  Time to get started.

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