2006年11月23日

The Ever Changing Schedule

When you first start a film, you have a preproduction period where you prepare for the production – hire the crew, make the production designs, start the construction, in some cases, the storyboard which means rough pictures of what the director intends to shoot, location hunting, etc. Once you get the basic outline of the film, then you work on the shooting schedule. How many days a week? How many hours a day? It is like a puzzle which you have to line up, considering many aspects of filming –the availability of location sites, studio, the weather, the actors’ schedule, the directors’ artistic choices, etc.

In Japan, especially with smaller films, in order to save money, the schedule is pretty frenetic and everyone works long hours to finish the film in a very short time. However the usual length of a film varies from a month to 2 months. Ramen Girl took a full month and a half, with a 6 day shooting schedule. With major films like The Last Samurai, Memoirs of a Geisha, Blood Diamond (which will be released Dec. 15, 2006 in the U.S.) it took about half a year with a 5 day shooting week. Babel, as it was filmed in several places around the world took longer.

However this shooting schedule is the one that will constantly change in a way as there are so many variable elements . Here let me add that in the U.S. it is common for the actor’s schedule to be almost exclusive to the film with a clause saying that they would continue till the end of the shoot (not necessary giving an ending date). In Japan, most actors who are constantly working usually are busy and are booked well in advance. This is something that the American producers do not realize and unless they make such a contract or take them away from Japan completely, it would be difficult for them to work exclusively for the film.

Also though there are cover scenes which means that these are ones that can be done if it happens to rain. Also if the filming does not progress well enough, then the schedule again changes. Sometimes the location doesn’t work out – sometimes outside location is cancelled when there are people who want to prevent the shoot intervene to stop the shoot – you probably know who I mean .

In other words, every day presents a new set of problems and it seems that there is never a day which doesn’t present itself with new problems and conditions―all which need to be solved in order to continue so that filmmaking can be very intense, every film with different problems to solve.

So for those who like working from 9 to 5 and routine, filmmaking is not suitable! I love filmmakers in the fact that they are so flexible – and can take surprises in stride – but then life is like that isn’t it!


*オーディション・キャスティング・演技指導のUPS Academy
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