Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Tip #40: Don't forget to send call sheets

By Dan Parkes (Director)

We have already mentioned the absolute necessity of preparation and organisation in regards to preparing shot lists and floor plans. But on the actual day of filming one of the most important documents you can have is a call sheet.

A call sheet is essentially a document issued to cast and crew with information they will need for that specific day of filming. Most importantly it lists the 'call times' -that is the times that they are expected to arrive or be on set. It is normally issued at least several days before filming so that everyone can be well prepared for all eventualities.

Please see an example of one of our call sheets here (some details have been removed for privacy reasons):

A call sheet can have many different designs and purposes and there are several places where you can download templates on-line. However, we found it more effective to design our own specific sheet for the day of filming and for our own cast and crew. This way we could keep it simple and easy to use. Notice the following important elements we included:
  1. Clear and easy to read layout, including a film logo
  2. Call times. In this case it shows general call times for both cast and crew. However it is often good to prepare specific individual call sheets especially if the cast are only required for certain times of the shoot.
  3. Specific contact information including names, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses where possible.
  4. Weather information (if any exterior shots)
  5. Specific location information with clear directions on how to get there
  6. Parking information
  7. Health and safety and set behaviour, with emergency procedures and behavioural expectations

Friday, 9 July 2010

Tip #39: Low budget make-up options

By Itsuka Yamasaki (Producer)

It's ideal if you have at least one hair and make-up artist on set, but realistically your budget does not always allow for that. With Ambleton Delight, we had a professional (Louise Hart) who was on-set during key days of the shoot (especially scenes involving blood and scars etc -refer to photos below) but did the rest of it ourselves.

We have a basic make-up kit for shoots and below is a list of what we find useful. This kit is mainly used for male actors (if you don’t have access to a professional artist it's often better and safer to ask female actors to do their own make-up) and for contemporary drama films that don’t involve zombies, blood, scars or explosions!
  1. Translucent powder (soften skin tones)
  2. Brush (for the powder)
  3. Facial redness remedy cream
  4. Concealer or liquid-type foundation (in case someone has a pimple etc)
  5. Petroleum jelly
  6. Pocket tissue
  7. Make-up wipes
  8. Comb
  9. Gel or wax (for hair)
  10. A bag to keep everything together
Some notes here - we used only the translucent powder for Ambleton Delight due to time, but if possible use the cream for redness of the face as especially the HD format seems to bring out the red in skin tones.

Before you go ahead and buy the make-up goods, it may pay to ask friends who are into make-up. I have a friend who is a beautician, and when I told her about make-up for film shoots, she gave me lots of goodies, like sample make-up in small bottles, which are ideal for filming.

Above: Actor Jos Lawton having specialised make-up
applied to his hand by make-up artist Louise Hart
on the set of
Ambleton Delight.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Tip #38: Send out good press releases

By Dan Parkes (Director)

Writing a press release to announce important events in your film production is an excellent way to increase publicity and interest. The most important thing to remember is to write it in a way that means journalists can copy and paste information directly into an article; the easier you make their job the more likely they are to carry the story! I know that from my experience as a newspaper journalist…

This is an actual press release we sent to newspapers and magazines, in PDF format, here: PRESS RELEASE LINK. Take a look and notice these following points:
  1. Make sure you have something newsworthy.
  2. Format: A clear format, with a film logo and news feel to it.
  3. Date it: In the top right it has a release date (in this case 23 April 2009). This is especially important if you don’t want your news released until a specific date, and makes it newsworthy.
  4. A bold and interesting headline. Find the key most interesting aspect of your news that will catch the newspaper’s attention. In this case it was popular local actor Brian Capron’s name.
  5. The first sentence of a press release should be a short summary of the news. The following sentences and paragraphs provide supplementary information.
  6. Provide clear and detailed information, with full names, dates and locations.
  7. Spell check and ensure it reads like an article with appropriate grammar.
  8. Don’t use unnecessary flowery language and keep it objective –use an impartial voice.
  9. If you want to include opinion you can create your own quotation, as seen here with a quote from the director, as if he had been interviewed. This saves time for the journalist –they don’t have to call to get a quote!
  10. At the end provide contact details for more information and if possible always say that cast and crew are available for interviews.
  11. Send by fax and e-mail (PDFs are ideal).