on The 1st day of Shooting, a 1st assistant stage setting

Le 1er jour de Tournage, d’un 1er assistant mise en scène

The 1er day of shooting, a 1st assistant director



It’s funny because I started writing this article almost a year to the day. I was assistant director on the shoot ed a mini series for ARTE , which is called : “Turn north ” performed by Virginia Saviour, and who will be available at the chain end of the year or the beginning of the year (January 2015)….in short, this is an article that has matured, lol.

I wanted to make you live my first day of shooting as the 1st assistant director and especially the questions that to me were in at the time. You may say ” why tells us he end his life ?! “LOL Just because the doubts, the questions and pressure that I have assailed at this time should you assault during your first day of shooting, whether you are a director, 1er assistant director, costume designer, chief op etc…

This is what I wrote a year ago about this first day of shooting :

The last week has been rather intense. He had to be sure that all of the actors had the correct version of the scenario, all of the accessories were found and validated by the director, that the agents had all the dates of the actors, the vehicles, games were found and validated, the work plan is not included by error, the costumes were ok, that all continuities, script, costumes, and staging were consistent and that the extras were all booked (there are nearly 400, suffice to say that we need to be organized between the stage and the leader ;o)) etc…in short, last week is gone at any speed !

BUT TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF FILMING….the baptism of fire of the wizard staging

And I have not had the time to finish it…

This is what I wrote a year ago. As you know, if you follow the blog, I am currently working on a feature film in a corner lost in the Britain. The film has a small budget and it is difficult in several respects. I re-read a few sentences of the above and in the bond of a year…nothing has changed…well almost, I can’t say that I have 400 extras on this film…far from it…But the preparation and the challenge is still as intense.

We are the 29/09, it is 6: 30 am and my alarm clock just rang. In an hour I’ll be on the plateau, the voltage is present, I’m not going to lie to you. After a shower and a coffee I dive right away on the piece of service which states : the sequences, their number, the actors, their meeting and all the things not to forget…This first day is going to go on a fishing boat in the middle of the sea…

8 hours of full sea, with actors and a team who only knows to say no and this will all have to operate as if it had been months, even years, that we know. I think that the most lucky on this one, it is me ! I know the sound engineer for the past 15 years. The chief op and I have worked on pubs, and a short, the filmmaker I’ve known her for almost 20 years…beyond having done 2 of these short, she is the first person in the profession that I have stretched the hand…but in spite of all we do not really know how all this will happen.

If I’ve learned one important thing during all these years is that the first assistant director has an important role, beyond the control of the artistic logistics and time, it is to make the atmosphere of the tea nice…but studious ! We are here to work with, but also for us to break out…otherwise we would do another trade ! Often, too often, some people tend to forget, but we do not make “cinema” or ” TV “. We are not trying to save lives or create a vaccine. I’m not trying to say that what we do is not important but he must also know how to put everything in its context.

While it’s true that the projects are of importance to the producer that bears his project for years, to the technicians who love their craft, but they also need to eat, or even thee producer that can sometimes bet big on a movie (I’m not talking about money but risk in general).

Then how to make a tray for the first time when one is an assistant director?

Because every shoot, every tea is different, it is necessary to restart each time. I’ve known assistants who were shouting on the crew, yelled on the containeds…in short, who would holler on everyone !

I know that at the beginning of my career I had a tendency to scream…to hear me ???? I don’t know…I think it was mostly to take a place…my place. Those who shout have not yet found their place or don’t have enough confidence in them.

If I have an advice to give you is to stay as you are, to know your day on the tip of your fingers and take your place thanks to the control you have of the topic : costumes, direction, decor, assistant, lighting, machinery etc…to know how to anticipate things, of course.

Then when you are getting stage you need a little bit of all know, that is true, but Rome knows not built in a day ! I know that, even today, I sometimes make mistakes and then ??? All the world, on a plateau, at least a bullshit day ! Anyone who tells you ” no ” either has an ego disproportionate or is a liar.

One more important thing, if you are a developer I know that you have prepared your film for months, and that you live with him, but don’t forget the characters, the technicians, working with you. You have an 8-hour day to fit your plans + one hour of preparation time in the morning and an hour of meals in the day, making 10 hours ! While it’s true that you always want more, so much that it gives you you take, but also know you to adjust to the amount of time you have to enter your sequence.

Exceed a little the time is not deadly, 10 or 20 minutes…ok you have to go to the essential, do not take your time or do you have fun not to be on the cutting (or slicing) your scene, or all of your scenes…because every day is a challenge. Follow your team, by doing this you will have it with you and not against you !

More filming lasts, the less you can pull the rope ! Keep this in mind. A shoot is dying because of the tension but also because of the work that some technicians have to do. The sound engineer has his reports to fill in, the script is the same, the wizard camera has its backups (backups), the second assistant stage-setting has its leaves, 1er needs to do the tour of the decorations the next day or review the day with the chief operator and the director and finally the electro and machino must store the projos, the feet, the truck…well at least 1 to 2 hours plus !

At the time I write these lines I finish the 6 th day of filming…it was necessary to adapt to the times, to the technical constraints, the special effects, to the sea, …in short, the life ofa shooting…and you know what ?! We are still here!!! The film is made plan after plan, there are tensions, clashes, a bit of frustration because some plans do not fit in the days but at heart, the magic, the actors play, the director creates…

I can not say that tension is a party at the end of 6 days. If you have already shot, you know that this tension persists throughout the filming. If you have never shot, do not worry, this is not a tension that is unbearable, you are not stressed out as if you were to go on stage and play in front of 40 people every day ! No ! Let’s say that you are alert at all time. Don’t forget that a film is before all a machine and that every mistake can make you deviate from your route, which is not serious as long as you master it and get back on the right path.


The beginning of each day starts with a preparation of the light, camera, actors. The first (top) plan of the day takes place at the moment ; Then comes the hour of the PAT (ready to run), I called the HMC (Dress, Makeup, Hair) to bring the actors on the set and see a set-up.

During the preparation we have made a frame with liners (your servant most of the time lol). The actors stand in place and do a rehearsal, the director gives his instructions of the game and improve the game. And then I ask everyone to be put in place, that is to say that everyone takes his position, his position, so that it can turn.

I charred the Clap, which means that I put the listings of coil, sequence, etc…the pointer is the sharpness on it to facilitate the work of the editor later.

I start the engine, the sound engineer told me : “it turns “, the wizard camera says : “camera is running, Ad “

I am announcing the clap : ” 40/1 first “

I clap and I position myself next to the director and the combo, and then the famous ACTION ! sounds in the mouth of the director…

it’s it is gone !

The magic, the magic is there ! All this work is finally a sense in the reality…and the time of the decision, the doubt and tension will fly away ;o)

I’d love for you to see and feel this energy that emerges every day. See the actors struggling against the elements (the sea, The wind editor’s note), see how to live these characters who were nothing more than ” fiction “ that ” paper “ there are still a few weeks.


I wish you all, you who want to write or direct, see your characters live before your eyes and have a team like that, who I worked with today.

This is all the happiness I wish you. So hold on to your dreams, your stories, your stories and your hero !

This article is a little peculiar because it does not teaches you anything definite, nothing technical, but I hope that it will teach you much more than that. I only want one thing, that you may live, you too on this first day at least once and/ or as often as possible.


That’s it for this article : ” The 1er day of filming the 1st assistant mise en scène”. Let me have your comments at the bottom of the article.

Share without counting the blog with your networks and your friends, do not hesitate to click on the ads, because it helps the blog to remain online and FREE. For sharing the article, simply click on the ” like “button at the top of this article ; (o) as well as on the button of Google+, in short, super easy ;o)

Thank you to those who will make it ;o) and that are already doing that ;o). You are every day more numerous. Thanks to you I live an extraordinary adventure made for sharing and the cinema ;o)


You can now return to the plan of the site (Article Tab) to read other articles, you just have to click on the link.



Tom Weil

Category: Uncategorized

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top