Each show will maintain a Slack channel for the duration of the project. The goal of this channel is to foster and enhance the creative/logistical efficiency of all team members and to share materials with the faculty.
Please follow these instructions for the creation and use of the channel:
No later than the beginning of a show’s pre-production time, the Producer must create a Slack channel titled “Prod#-year”. For example: 01D2-2021
Producer invites all the creative team members and all faculty associated with pre-production, production, and post-production.
Producer posts the latest version of script at the time of channel creation. This will be known as Version 1. Please relabel the document “Prod#-Script Title-Version#”. For example: 01-Flip the Script-Version#1
The Director’s Preps for the D2 cycle will take place primarily at the shooting location(s) in order to address the real-world, practical dimensions of shooting the film in as concrete a manner as possible. In advance of the prep, to get everyone oriented to the show, the ATL team will post materials to the show’s Slack channel. On the day of the prep, before arriving at the location, the Director will meet with Jed to discuss the creative vision for the film and the Producer will meet with Tony to review the production logistics. All of the ATL team and the prep faculty will then convene at the location to workshop the shooting plan for the show.
Slack Channel Content Requirements
In preparation for the Director’s Prep session, the ATL team should post materials to the show’s Slack channel. This will help the team and the faculty all get on the same page about the show. Posts should include:
No later than the beginning of a show’s pre-production time, create a Slack channel titled “Prod#-year”. For example: 01D2-2021
Invite all the creative team members and all faculty associated with pre-production, production, and post-production.
Post the latest version of script at the time of channel creation. This will be known as Version 1. Please relabel the document “Prod#-Script Title-Version#”. For example: 01-Flip the Script-Version#1
List all crew members and their roles.
Provide a parking plan with directions (due no later than 2 hours before the location scout call time).
Ensure there is always the latest version of the script in the channel by posting new versions in the channel promptly upon completion. Use the same naming convention, for example: 01-Flip the Script-Version#2
No more versions of the script can be submitted after On-Location Prep have been completed unless faculty authorizes it.
Casting photos or audition clips for all principal actors.
No later than 12 hours before the location scout call time, the director will submit a Prelim shot list. This list is developed very generally in collaboration with the cinematographer.
All the major props that are needed for the show.
All the major props that have been acquired for the show.
All wardrobe and hair/make-up looks that are intended for the show.
Any wardrobe and hair/make-up tests that have been prepared.
Important set dressings intended and/or found.
Detailed location photos, including exteriors of location and interiors of shooting areas.
Look Book (due no later than 12 hours before the location scout call time):
State the genre of the film you are shooting.
Using Shotdeck, for each slugline create a series of film stills that inspire your lighting choices. They should include contrast context, window treatments, moonlight treatment, sun orientation, tonal range, etc.
For each image explain why that image was chosen, this is for lighting only.
Luminance Plan, Color Plan and Story Plan (due no later than 12 hours before the location scout call time).
Location Scout Day
When no more than two locations have been locked for scouts, Producer will post in the channel the location/s address and time of arrival for the prep.
Director meets with Jed at the school at 2:15pm (or 75 minutes before arrival at the location).
Producer meets with Tony at the school at 2:15pm (or 75 minutes before arrival at the location).
ATL and faculty meet at first location at 3:30pm.
It is not required, but it is strongly encouraged to enlist the help of other people (cast actors, friends, family, BFA students, etc.) to stand in for actors while the scenes get blocked at the prep. If no help can be found the Producer and Production Designer will stand in as the actors.
Each department head will keep notes for ideas, concerns, etc. for each scene discussed at the location with the faculty.
If there’s a second location and time permits, the ATL and faculty move onto the second location immediately after the prep wraps at the first location.
If a crew member is unable to report to work during principal photography, they must contact the show’s Producer and the Head of Production (Tony) as soon as possible, and no later than two hours before call time.
The Producer and the Head of Production will then work through the following steps in sequence to determine the most appropriate solution:
If the Director is unable to work, advance to Step 8.
Check to see if having a smaller crew and consolidating positions will work. If that is not viable, then…
Call on the “standby” crew member to step in as a day player. If that is not viable, then…
Check to see if there is another MFA1 student who isn’t working that day and is interested in filling in. If that is not viable, then…
Check to see if there is an MFA2 student who is interested in filling in. If that is not viable, then…
Check to see if there is a BFA2 student who is interested in filling in. If that is not viable, then…
Check to see if there is a BFA1 student who is able and interested in filling in. If that is not viable, then…
Postpone or cancel the show, reworking the schedule as needed.
Having a smart plan for production in the COVID era is essential. Each show will need to create a production plan that addresses COVID-19 safety concerns. Getting approval for production will be contingent on presenting a satisfactory production plan at the show’s green light meeting.
Part 1: Documentary Subjects
For each subject who’ll be on camera, answer the following questions. If the answer is yes for any given question, explain how you’ll mitigate the increased safety risks.
Are they in an elevated-risk demographic for COVID-19?
Will they need to be maskless for interviews or b-roll?
Will they need to be in close proximity with other subjects or crew members?
Will they need to perform any actions that require shouting, coughing, singing, or physical exertion?
Part 2: Shooting Locations
You’ll need to develop a plan for mitigating safety risks at each shooting location. The most important part of this will come later, with a tech scout at each location. For now, answer the following questions for each shooting location that you’re considering.
Is the shooting location interior or exterior?
Is the shooting location a large, open, well-ventilated space or a cramped, closed, poorly ventilated space?
Is the shooting location public or private?
Do you anticipate any difficulties in doing a tech scout in advance of the shooting day?
Part 3: Travel and Accommodations
How you travel with your crew poses its own safety concerns. If the answer is yes for any given question, explain how you’ll mitigate the increased safety risks.
Will any crew members be traveling outside Leon County?
Will any crew members be using mass transit, such as buses or planes?
Will any crew members be carpooling?
Will any crew members be doing any overnight stays outside of Leon County, such as Airbnbs, hotels, or parents’ houses?
Part 4: Schedule
Using the Google Sheet that Tony Ciarlariello will provide, each group will need to make a comprehensive, day-by-day schedule that outlines all tech scouts, shooting activities, travel, and accommodation for all of the group’s shows.
ASSESS THE SAFETY CONCERNS
As you work on each section of the production plan, assess the level of COVID-19 safety concerns for each answer and then change the color of the answer according to the following criteria:
GREEN – Standard level of COVID-19 safety concerns
YELLOW – Warning of possibly elevated COVID-19 concerns
RED – Alert of definitely elevated COVID-19 concerns
Under normal circumstances, it is not uncommon for documentary filmmakers to shoot in unfamiliar or uncontrollable locations. The COVID era is of course far from normal, however, so we must pay much stricter attention to how shooting locations are scouted, prepped, and secured. One of the most important steps in this process is performing a tech scout at the location, ideally at least a day in advance of the actual shooting, so that a safety plan can be developed for how the production day will be run.
Prior to the Tech Scout
As early in the process as possible, begin to gather information about any locations you are considering. This will enable you to anticipate more things in advance of arriving at the location for the tech scout. For example:
If possible, visit the location in-person to scope it out, take photos, and make some preliminary notes about how you’ll use the location.
If it’s not possible to scope it out yourself, ask the owner or someone with access to the location to send you photos or video walkthroughs.
See if you can get hold of a floor plan and measurements, so that you can start mapping out the production zones. Looking up the street view and satellite view on Google Maps can also be helpful too.
At the tech scout
The tech scout should ideally be completed at least one day in advance of shooting at the location, with all crew members present. If that is not possible, you’ll need to get approval in advance from Tony to do a tech scout on the same day as production, and you’ll need to allow for at least one hour to complete the scout.
Treat locations as if they are infected and use PPE accordingly. Do not touch items native to the location while scouting unless absolutely necessary.
Have as much conversation outdoors as possible.
Try to maximize space and air flow when selecting spaces to shoot. Plan to film outdoors as much as possible.
Create a plan for maintaining a secure perimeter at the location for a controlled work area, free from outsiders to the production.
Create a sanitization plan for the location:
What surfaces need disinfecting?
Who will be responsible for doing this?
When and how frequently will it occur?
Map out spaces for:
Green room (if needed);
Outdoor mask-free zone – with room for physical distancing;
Lunch – with room for physical distancing.
Assess and determine:
If any spaces will make physical distancing difficult;
Access to bathrooms and hand-washing/sanitizing stations;
Whether any special considerations need to be made regarding air flow and/or HVAC, especially in Zone A areas.
All students should monitor their own health before leaving for set, checking for any COVID symptoms, such as a fever, chills, shortness of breath, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, body aches, nausea, and loss of smell or taste.
Crew should self-drive wherever possible, especially if the crew has not formed a COVID pod for the production weeks.
If carpooling with anyone outside of your pod, use face-coverings.
If at all possible, avoid using public transit.
Prepping the Location
Allow for enough time to prep and secure the location at the beginning of the shoot. Be sure to address any safety concerns that were identified during the tech scout.
Equipment may only be handled by members of the department to which it belongs and each department is responsible for sanitizing its equipment during load in.
The director must confirm that everyone has a compliant mask. A disposable from the safety kit should be provided to anyone that needs one.
The director must take the temperature of all crew and doc subjects using the touchless forehead thermometer from the safety kit. If someone’s temperature is above 100.3°F, the individual must be sent home.
The director must remind all crew and doc subjects about physical distancing and mask-wearing policies:
Six-feet distance between individuals must be maintained wherever possible.
Masks must be worn indoors at all times, except for on-camera subjects while the camera is rolling.
Masks must be worn outdoors if physical distancing cannot be achieved at all times.
The director must communicate any additional COVID safety announcements for the day, as needed.
Shooting Interviews & B-Roll
Since the shooting of interviews and b-roll may involve a doc subject not wearing a mask for an extended period of time, please remember that additional safety precautions must be taken.
Avoid indoor settings if at all possible. If shooting indoors is necessary, set up in an area with as much outdoor ventilation as possible.
Make sure there is enough space for the crew to work while maintaining physical distancing. Crew must maintain physical distancing at all times, except for where a technical operation makes it impossible. Such moments should be kept to a bare minimum and undertaken with extreme caution.
Camera placement should be more than six feet away from any doc subject. Any exceptions to this need to be approved by faculty in advance.
The sound mixer should hand a sanitized wireless lav to each doc subject and instruct them how to secure the mic. If necessary, the sound mixer may secure the mic themselves, but the physical proximity to the doc subject should be kept to a minimum duration and an extra level of protection should be considered (such as a face-shield or a plexiglass divider).
Going For Picture
Any slating should be at least six feet from any doc subject. If the lens or space does not allow for that, a pan over to the slate should be used instead.
Immediately prior to “ACTION”, a callout for “MASKS OFF” should be added. The doc subjects should remove their own masks. If the shot doesn’t permit them to keep the mask on their person, they should put the mask into a ziploc bag with their name on it and place it in its own basket until after the setup. The director is responsible for managing the baskets.
Immediately after “CUT”, a callout for “MASKS ON” should be added. The director hands the ziploc bag with mask back to the doc subjects and they put their own masks back on.
Since masks need to be taken off for eating, extra precaution must be taken.
All meals should be eaten outside with a minimum of six-feet distance between each individual. Stagger the start time for meals if physical distancing is not possible at the location.
After lunch, the Director should make sure that high-touch surfaces at the location get a sanitizing wipe down and each department should sanitize heavily used items of equipment.
Allow sufficient time (at least 60 minutes) for loading out equipment and cleaning the location. The director should not leave the location until everything has been fully wrapped, cleaned, and restored.
The sound mixer should instruct doc subjects on how to remove lavaliere mics. The sound mixer should then sanitize the mics.
Each department should clean and sanitize equipment during wrap.
Any Doors Down Meetings should be performed outside.
This form should be used by Producers to make a request for additional photography outside of the regularly scheduled shooting days on the crew grid. Since additional photography involves time and resources, requests will not be approved automatically. Approvals will only be granted if the time and resources are available and if students make a compelling case for why the footage cannot be shot during regular principal photography.
Indicate on the form the type of additional photography that is being requested:
ESTABLISHING SHOTS OR B-ROLL Check this box if the request is for 2nd Unit shots that cannot easily be scheduled during regular principal photography. Typically these would be for shots that need to be shot at a discrete location without the involvement of principal actors, such as establishing shots at an inconveniently place location or B-roll of events that are occurring outside the regular production window.
VFX PLATES OR ELEMENTS Check this box if the request is for background plates or other photographic elements that are needed to complete visual effects shots.
PLAYBACK CONTENT FOR SCREENS Check this box if the request is for video content that would need to be shot in advance of regular principal photography in order to be played back during production.
PICK-UPS Check this box if the request is for pick-up photography. Only BTH and MTH shows may request pick-ups and the need for pick-ups will be determined with the directing and editing faculty during picture editing.
RESHOOTS Check this box if the request is for the reshooting of a scene where circumstances beyond the students’ control resulted in footage becoming unusable. Typically, trying to solve the problem through editorial fixes will need to be explored before a reshoot is approved.
OTHER Check this box if the request is for something different than the above examples, and provide a brief description of the type of additional photography that’s being requested.
Requests for additional photography must also include the following information:
the exact nature of the subject content to be shot;
the reason why it cannot be shot with the first unit crew during principal photography;
the date, times, and location of the proposed shoot;
a summary of the equipment plan for the shoot, including any requests for school equipment;
the crew required for the proposed shoot, including names and signatures (you’ll need to determine how many crew members you need and you’ll need to recruit them).
any additional supporting documentation can also be attached as needed.
Finally, collect the signatures at the bottom in the prescribed sequence, starting with the director’s prep faculty, followed by the Area Heads and the the Associate Dean. Leave adequate time to collect these signatures and be prepared to make adjustments to the request if any faculty members raise concerns that need to be addressed.