There’s a certain pride as an AC to be able to return an entire camera package complete, unbroken, and with everything in tip-top shape. Accidents can and often do happen, but there should never be a piece of broken gear because of a stupid mistake like that.
Tales from the Front Lines of Movie Making
Most Recent Articles in "Production Stories"
In no way would I consider a career as a stand-in. Not even for a decent paycheck would I dayplay on set doing the job. I’ve done it enough before to realize how terribly awkward it can be, like being on a blind date while other people watch.
A director’s finder is a useful piece of gear to have. It can save a good amount of time since a director or cinematographer can tangibly visualize a shot without having to position the camera. Unfortunately, on a lot of low budget productions, there isn’t always room in the budget for a finder. So I decided to make one instead.
Part of the draw of the film industry is the spectacle of it. How many people can say they’ve stepped into the octagon with a UFC fighter responsible for 22 knockouts in 33 wins and ranked #3 in the world for his weight class?
Sometimes when I hear the word “low-budget” I think “long hours.” They always seem to go hand in hand. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the work or don’t find it rewarding, just that there’s a tendency on low budget productions to scoot past the 12 hour mark. That’s fine with me, as long as I get to eat, but going long days with no sustenance is a recipe for disaster – and ill tempers.
When it comes to cardboard and gaff tape, I’m a real MacGyver. That combination of raw material brings out the engineer in me. With one in each hand, I’m like Edward Scissorhands in the brush or Michelangelo in a rock quarry.
On a film shoot, before moving on to the next shot, there’s usually a tense moment where a first assistant camera must “check the gate.” The gate being the part of the camera that sits between the lens and the exposed film and the checking being done for tiny hairs or strips of film emulsion that may have come off.
It’s such a simple thing, really, that bright red button that sticks out wanting to be noticed. Its color contrasting against the utilitarian body of the camera, screaming “press me!” The deep glow of the crimson is unforgettable and the power which sits behind it is immeasurable.
I am lucky enough to have someone pay me to make movies. This was my dream growing up as a kid and I don’t care that I’m not directing or not the one making the big decisions, everyday I show up to AC I get to be a part of something larger than me that is pursuing a single creative goal.
There is a simple phrase that only three people on a film set like to hear. Those three persons being the producer, the assistant director, and any director crunched for time. In the ears of any camera assistant, however, that same phrase means bad news bears. The phrase, of course, adorns the title of this article.