It’s nearly August, school’s out for summer, nearly everyone’s on holiday, and the weather is feeling decidedly autumnal already. But here at October Films, it’s a hive of activity. We still have half the documentary content to film for our eight-part series on Ancient Rome – but we were supposed to have finished all our filming by now, and so all the producers’ contracts have already finished. Yet someone still needs to produce a week’s worth of filming in Rome, another week in Turkey, and a short shoot in Tunisia…
My time to shine.
I’ve been hoping for an opportunity to take on more responsibility, to take a big step up in my job – and this is quite the step! With a week’s shoot in Rome followed immediately by a week’s shoot in Turkey, all running to twelve hour working days, there’ll barely be time to breathe. I’ll be flung in the deep end, learning on the go, trying to make sure everyone’s happy and that we don’t forget a crucial piece-to-camera.
Although I’m super excited by this opportunity, I have to admit, I’m a teeny bit nervous as well. So I asked my production manager to give me a quick 101 on how to be a producer. I’ll share with you what she told me:
- Always think a few steps ahead. Where are we filming next? What time to we have to be there? Are we meeting anyone there? Do we have contact details for them? When’s the next meal? Can we pre-book or pre-order to make sure we’re not using up valuable filming time?
- Make sure all the crew is fed and watered. Carry water bottles with you, and mark each one with the initials of whoever was drinking from it, so you don’t end up with a load of half-drunk bottles bouncing around in your bag. Stock up on snacks when you arrive at your location and keep some with you to distribute to hot, tired crew.
- If you’re filming in a hot country, make sure everyone puts suncream on. It’s bad enough being hot and tired without being burned too!
- At the end of each filming day, make sure everyone knows the next day’s call time.
- Make sure you know how much money you need to carry with you each day, for food, drink and location fees, and then lock the rest of the money in the hotel room safe.
- When you arrive on location, double check that all the bookings are correct, and that the DoP’s room is near a lift so that he/she can move their kit easily.
- Make sure you carry all the filming permits with you at all times, plus any other important paperwork you need. It’s also useful to have a photocopy of everyone’s passports with you, just in case the local authorities ask for ID.
Basically, it’s like taking a large, dysfunctional family on holiday with a ridiculous amount of excess baggage and a crazy sightseeing schedule. I’ll have to stay on the ball, be super organised, and make sure everyone is happy and safe.
Wish me luck!