Managing a crew of 30 people is a challenge that I wanted to undertake and which is the main reason why I chose to apply for this role. A 1st Assistant Director has great responsibilities and has to stand a lot of pressure – I was ready and excited to take up both.
Getting into the swing of things was not easy at the beginning of the term but, with the support of my Producer, I was able to re-organise myself and find the right way of continuing this term.
In order to have a well organised production, a Google Drive was created with all the important documents and information of the work in progress. This included meetings schedule, production schedule, crew availability, crew contacts, meeting minutes, script, shot list, prop and costume lists as well as lighting and floor plans. Thanks to this shared folder people missing a meeting could constantly keep themselves up to date.
Our weekly plan was built as follows: Mondays and Fridays we had the whole crew meetings and Wednesdays the Head of Department meeting. At the end of each week an email with a summary of the week was sent, which also included the action points to achieve by the end of the following week (according to the production schedule). Our 2nd Assistant Director then checked with each crew member the work done. We used Monday meetings as a boost for the team and explanation of the week ahead and Friday meetings for presentation of the work done by each department.
Juggling between “Clash of Class” as the 1st Assistant Director and “The Japanese Flower” as the Assistant Producer was not an easy task and prioritising my work was crucial. In order to know exactly what had to be done and when, I created a “to do list” and a task planner for each role. These helped me not get lost and more importantly not forget anything. Being 1st Assistant Director means working with your worse enemy: the time. A perfect time management is essential for a good running of a shoot. Hence, I made a shooting schedule that I believed to be realistic but did not include time for mistakes.
Before starting this project, we all were slightly apprehensive of working with students from Bachelor Film and Television due to what we heard from previous years but, as a matter of fact, we did not feel any competition whatsoever. As 1st Assistant Director I believe that knowing the people you work with makes the shoot day much easier and therefore a couple of social activities were organised to get to know each other.
Having a good relationship between the 1st Assistant Director and the Producer was key in the process of “Clash of Class”. Both must work hand to hand in order to bring a university project into a flawless professional experience. My Producer and I were a perfect match: our way of working and personalities complemented each other. Also, we handled situations in different ways which made the project a more fulfilling experience.
Working on a 4-minute short-film engenders a large load of work. Non-attendance and uncompleted work can lead to delays and the production not running as smooth as desired. Managing a crew of 30 people is not simple due to people’s other commitments and willingness to put effort into a university project. We came across a lack of communication from part of one of our department. For instance, they did not let us know when they would not attend important meetings or they did not return calls and emails either. Unfortunately, these also happened a couple of days before the filming. The other small hurdle we came across was the get-in. For some reason, I had understood that the wallpaper would run half wall up and not the entire walls. It took much longer to put it up which caused the production to run out of time and not be able to finish the set that day.
A blend of excitement and a little stress brought me to the filming day. After briefing my crew and finishing off the last couple of changes, we were finally ready to shoot. Being an hour behind at the start was challenging but I knew that we would get back on time by the end of the day. Indeed, we were even able to add a couple of shots and finished earlier than expected. The atmosphere on set was great. The crew behaved like a tight team and did not stay in their own corner when a hand was needed – this brought the production into a very smooth and successful shoot.
Throughout the term, I felt that the crew trusted me and I naturally gave my best to come about a film that everyone would be proud of – below are feedback from our Producer, Director of Photography and Writer that back my words up.
Working with another course was interesting as it allowed us to meet new people and visions. We all shared our ideas and working on these projects enabled us to learn from each other – we completed one another. Juggling between “Clash of Class” and “The Japanese Flower” was not an easy task, however, it kept me busy throughout the term which is what I was looking for. Managing a crew of 30 people was a challenge but having my voice heard was a great feeling. I hope I have managed to deliver and convey my passion and believes through this production.