This filmmaking tutorial video provides a detailed look at the production schedule for the short film "The Assurance," including the main days of the film production, and the pickup shoot days including reshoots. Low-budget independent film schedules are often prone to rescheduling and adjustments for scenes that need to be reshot.
- Throughout all of these short film courses I refer to the filming of The Assurance. So in this movie I'm gonna give you an overview of the whole production so that you have a frame of reference. So this is less of a tutorial and more of a reference to help you get more out of all this short film training. The main part of our production consisted of three days at the end of March 2013. The first day was a lighter day, meaning that we didn't have much to film and there were less complicated shots and camera moves so we didn't need as much personnel on hand. The only crew was myself as DP and director, Daniel Mimura, filling in as gaffer, and basically the rest of the camera and GE department.
And Josh Svare on audio. And that's it. Three people. Elijah Tiegs and Steven Heller were also there but their primary jobs were to film the behind the scenes footage for this training. On this first day we only shot scene 7. What I refer to as the "hut" scene with Eva and Nadie. As we'll learn about later in this training series, this was a rough day because of some crazy weather that I wasn't prepared enough for. The second day was the biggest day of production. All cast, all crew. About 20-30 extras. We started in the morning and shot into the night. As we'll learn later in this training series we ended up unable to get all that we wanted to shoot that night.
But we did get some pretty great stuff. All of scene, the "council" scene. Scene 13, the "goodbye" scene, where Ta'ani and Korda'a part ways. And we also shot a lot of great night stuff for the first part of scene 10. The third day was more of a medium, averagey shoot day. We started mid to late morning and finished before the sun went down. Most of the cast was there. Most of the crew. We had about eight to ten extras. On this third shoot day we only got one scene, scene eight, what I refer to as the "common area" scene. But this was probably the longest and most complex scene in the film.
There were a lot of moving pieces and we got some pretty great footage. Now these three days are what I call the main production days. But I still had a lot more work ahead of me. We had to reschedule the night shoot, for which we had a lot of really amazing people volunteered to return to help out. After getting much of the footage edited I realized the story was missing some key elements. So Heather and I wrote a new scene. We made one attempt to film that scene, but the location we were going to use had too much noise from a nearby highway. Also the sun came out and it just didn't look like The Assurance. So we had to ditch that shoot and reshoot that pick up scene at our main location.
I also shot a lot of stuff with Steven Heller, one of the behind the scenes producers I just mentioned. He came with me and my family to shoot the finale at a local park and then we took a road trip to eastern Washington, where we literally pulled off the side of the road and stole loads of shots. All the snow stuff and most of the desert footage as well. Steven Heller and I also worked together to film some of the special effect shots we used in the movie. There were also seemingly countless shots that we shot on little family road trips. My daughter Nadie who plays Korda'a would bring her costume and we'd just go out driving. We stole shots in parks or whatever locations we found that would work.
Finally, we also had a host of voiceover shoots because we had a lot of editing changes and rewrites in post. Having an amazingly flexible and generous lead actress in Eva Jane as well as my sweet little Nadie really saved this entire production. They were so patient with all the rewrites and reshoots and everything else that I threw at them. So now that you're familiar with what our production looked like let's dig a little bit more into some universal production basics.
Find the rest of the courses in the series—on everything from script writing to directing—on Chad's author page.
- Understanding the role of different crew members
- Sending out call sheets
- Using a slate
- Keeping continuity with a script supervisor and production photographer
- Keeping the crew fed, happy, and safe
- Rescheduling shoots
- Dealing with wardrobe for a large cast
- Using special effects makeup