Diary of a Shoot, Day 3 — The Devil is in the Details

Scouting for Nordic Location

Dialing in one of our final locations.


This morning’s work work was fun and not too hardcore. An 8am call time & roll out. We scouted our remaining locations for shot details–all of them are reasonably close to where we are staying. We’re now comparing all our locations to creative briefs and earlier notes/findings on specific locations.

Much of the work today is referred to as “tech scouting”. That’s a more specific kind of location scouting where we are checking the exact shots, the light at certain times when we’ll be shooting (although that was predominantly a bust today because the weather was really bunk again today…heavy overcast…and it’s starting to make us all a little…well…you know), gathering power needs, parking needs, travel times, really pretty detailed stuff. This is an important thing to do at locations where you know you’ll be shooting.

We were done collecting data and forming opinions on the final locations pretty quickly today – by late morning – and we returned to the hotel to have the “final” production meeting where we lock in the first days of the schedule, location times, production, talent, tech needs. This meeting somewhat of a grind because it’s long, but it’s where tons and tons of important details get worked out. How will we transport the athlete talent from A to B? Will we need a generator at location X, or do we have enough power cable to do Y? What are the detailed weather forecasts, and if the weather is looking like it’s going to be Z on Tuesday, could we do this shot or that shot on Wednesday? Very detailed info, but worth all the hours it takes to ensure a smooth production. We usually do not end this meeting until…[lots more diary, plus 6 or so photos and a bunch of gear if you hit ‘continue reading’…] …several days of shooting are planned in detail. The schedule of a good production is always flexible enough to pounce on opportunity and handle curveballs, but committed and detailed enough to have everyone on the same page. If you missed that last sentence, read it again. Actually, even if you read it, read it again. It’s important.

Crew Planning Meeting 1

Meeting to determine final major on-site production details for the shoot. We will have several of these throughout the week as the project evolves.

In successful productions, this meeting has no ego, no attitude, and is a very collaborative process. Today was (and is always with this client) no exception. Right on target. Everyone has their game face on. And it’s fun to see all the subtleties of each department (creative, styling, tech, grip, etc) coming together. So much smarts in one room – it’s humbling and cool to be a part of such a well-oiled machine.

When the meeting wraps, we grab a late lunch together, and then everyone has a bunch of work to do to get dialed. The CD’s and AD’s are dialing in briefs, shot lists, notes, etc. Producers are on the phone like it’s a part of their head making all the details come together, the stylists and tech/gear people are wrangling their respective stuffs, the digital asset managers are dialing in their computer setups, and we’re all about the creative plans and the gear. How we’re gonna pull off shots ABC when DEF is happening. And here’s a cool twist we could do with this or that. And, of course, the gear. It needs to be tip top and ready to rock tomorrow early. Batteries are charged, cases loaded, bags packed, sensors cleaned, backups checked and double checked and on and on.

Charging the Computer Kit

Charging the Mac Book Pro Kit.

The Nikon Stills Kit

The Nikon Stills Kit.

Various Accessories

Lighting accessories, sound kit, Steadicam, tripod, and various power/grip.

Helmet Cam

Charging up our fun + stealthy GoPro cameras.

Nikon Batteries

And charging batteries galore. And then some.

By the time our end of things is in a good place, it’s 7 or 8 pm. And from there, we don’t overthink our food options – it’s our last night before shooting (read: super duper long hours) starts and we want a dependable, tasty meal where we can relax and talk shop and have fun amongst compadres. We choose Honga’s again–our favorite–and a group of 6 of us heads over. On arrival we see another chunk of the crew just leaving and heading back to the hotel to do more prep. We also see some some of our talent that has just arrived into Telluride for the shoot. It’s great to reconnect with amazing, true athletes that you’ve worked with before. Some of them decide to join us for dinner.

And while I’m on it, that’s another thing I love about my job – working with great talent. It’s so amazing to be surrounded by a wide array of people who are incredibly gifted at whatever they do. Whether their pure athletes, like these folks, models, producers, whomever. This industry is pretty ruthless on people who aren’t cut out for the work. Not much room for inconsistency or lack of high quality delivery on the targets. It has a way of weeding… Suffice it to say, I’m always excited to be in the company of people who love what they are doing and are top notch.

We have a great meal. Noodle bowls, sushi and Thai Basil Beef pretty much all around. And we don’t stay out late – a good night sleep is as good as gold tonight. Erik and Scott are triple checking the gear and I come back to my room, chat with Kate, dial in my headspace, and am out cold as soon as my head hits the pillow at midnight.

Tomorrow is Day 1 of shooting. I hope you’ll join us.

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