The first day of shooting is always chaotic, and generally comes soon enough that you wish you had more time to prepare. But just because you haven’t had as much time as you might like in preproduction, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hit the ground running on the first day of principal photography. With that in mind, here are 11 things your set will definitely need on the first day of shooting.
Hopefully this is obvious, and most of your crew will bring a few of their own. That being said, somebody should carry a big set of pens and pencils just to make sure that you’re covered in case one crew member forgot theirs, a pen runs out of ink, or a mechanical pencil runs low on lead.
- Pencil Sharpener
Even if people remember their pencils, a pencil sharpener is an important thing for someone to have on set, since there’s no guarantee that people will carry one of their own, and sometimes a well sharpened pencil can break.
You should ALWAYS make sure you have the proper releases and to make sure your chain of title documents are up to date when the time comes. Some of the releases you’ll need include talent releases, crew liability releases, and location releases. If you get these signed as soon as someone walks on the set, then there’s no chance you’ll forget later.
- Union Paperwork
If your shoot is affiliated with SAG-AFTRA or any other union, you’ll want to make sure you have the relevant paperwork on hand when you first walk onto set. You’ll need to make sure that the union member initials when they go to lunch, otherwise you might get some hefty fines. If you don’t have the paperwork ready to go, you could be in for a world of hurt.
- PHYSICAL Shot lists/Storyboards
No matter where you make your shotlists, you’re going to want to create a PHYSICAL version of them to bring with you to set. It’s not the most kind thing to do from an environmental standpoint, but iPads die, and cell reception/wifi can be spotty. Having your shot-list as a backup can be a true lifesaver.
- PHYSICAL Callsheets
For similar reasons to those listed above, you’ll want to make sure have a physical callsheet. If you made it in ProductionNext, you’ll have the weather by the hour, sun-up/sundown times, location contact, and nearest medical facility right on one handy-dandy piece of paper. Log in or sign up to try it out.
- PHYSICAL Crew lists
Sometimes people (usually actors) run late. you’ll want to make sure you can contact them to see where they are and make sure they’ll be here soon. Don’t worry, we’re sure it was just the traffic holding them up.
- Daily Schedules
If you have an idea of what you want to shoot and when, you might have also made a shot schedule based on your shot list. Having these ready to go can really help you stay on track. In my days as an AD, they were completely invaluable. Best to have at least one physical copy though.
- Extra Batteries
Every department that needs batteries should have brought their own spares, but just in case something stopped them from doing so, somebody on set should have a big stash of them. It’s much cheaper to bring the extra batteries than to hold while a PA runs and buys some.
If the fuse box for the location you’re shooting in runs on fuses instead of breakers, then you should make sure you bring some extras of the right size fuze. Just as with the batteries, it’s much cheaper to come prepared and leave some fuses behind for the happy location owner than it is to find a hardware store that still stocks the right type of fuse and wait for the PA to drive there and back.
- A Power Bank
With the ubiquity of mobile phones, tablets, and other personal electronic devices, sometimes you’re going to need a bit of an extra charge. Power banks can do that for you, and are surprisingly affordable. A 21,000 mAH capacity charger is only about 30 bucks on amazon, that’s enough to charge 4 phones and 2.5 tablets on a single charge.
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