It's the casual hashtag that imparted both knowledge and deep appreciation in me when experienced in its purest form.
So true story: They had meant to send me home after lunch, probably figuring the novelty of being there would wear off after watching them do the same scene a few times, but I told Martha I would love to stay as long as was humanly possible. Apparently Martha ran it by the cast and they said it was fine (Thanks, guys! xo).
One of the things I valued most about being on set was that it wasn't just about fun and completing #SetGoals. I genuinely wanted to experience #SetLife for what it truly is and what it truly takes to do what this cast and crew so expertly accomplishes. From my little perch in "video village"---the place where relevant parties watch the scenes as filmed from three different angles/distances---what I witnessed both on and off film infinitely increased my level of respect.
This is...not freezing "your crown" off: Now we know why we always see the cast with their coats close at hand---they don't have air conditioning or heat. Not just because the building doesn't seem outfitted with them, but more importantly because they would contribute to ambient noise, which is bad for overall sound. To compensate, there are space heaters everywhere one can be situated safely, huddled around at most every opportunity.
This is...process: Block, rehearse, film from every angle, repeat. That's how a scene gets filmed. They mark where the actors should stand while delivering their lines, let the actors and the camera operators get situated and comfortable with a practice run before they roll film, then do it for real. They film each actor or group of actors from different angles and distances so there's lots to work with in the editing room. This means they can run the same lines over and over whether they're featured on film or not.
This is...working another angle: Shane's monitor decided to randomly go out mid-morning, and despite best efforts to get it up and running again, the show had to go on. That meant one less angle from which they could shoot the scene, and put the pressure on Kristin a bit to give the illusion of reading from a screen when there wasn't a screen to read from. Professionalism at its height, people.
This is...dedication: It's not easy keeping your head in the game after the first few rounds of takes. I was in video village and found myself distracted from time to time. I learned what it really means to stay on task from this cast as they filmed several scenes many times.
This is...house rules: We know Martha has a well-established "No swearing" policy, so when it was violated on two occasions, the whole crew erupted into prolonged "Oh's" much to the embarassment of at least one of the violators, who apologized profusely. It was part punitive, part funny.
This is...being flexible for the greater good: While filming a particular scene, Kay (that extremely astute script supervisor I mentioned yesterday), caught on to a potential continuity issue. To have the option in the editing room, Martha relayed a new line of dialogue to one of the actors to incorporate in the event it was necessary. "No one will probably notice," Martha commented, "except her." Guess who "her" was...LOL
This is...ensuring excellence: The cast only had one day off that week---Sunday. Martha spent it cutting film with a new editor to get a feel for editing her style.
This is...the grind: SSD7 was filmed in only 15 days. With such an abbreviated timeline, it didn't leave much time for rest, yet everyone was still trying to bring their best despite 12 hour days in many cases.
Now that's not to say that set is all work and no play---there's plenty of that, too. I'll be running some of that down for you next week, along with some more set visit angles. While you wait on that, check out the rest of my set visit reflections from this week.