1.14.98

Call: 6:30 AM

Making Cherry
a romantic comedy starring Shalom Harlow
"What happens on a movie set is this: nothing. Not for the stars, not for the director, not for most of the pople you think of when you think of movies."
--William Goldman
You've Got Questions? Cherry Has Answers
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Locations:
Muffin Shop

Sunrise: 7:20 AM
Sunset: 4:46 PM

Weather: Mostly sunny. HI: Mid 30s

Principals:
Leila, Dottie, Darcy, Customer, Menu Man, Red, Jack, Evy.

Note: Red and Jack will go to school first.

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Around the Block

Keeping track of Continuity

Definition of Block shooting :Filming all the shots on a location pointing in one direction at one time, then all the others pointing in the other direction, even though they’re from different scenes.

Today they’re block shooting scenes 41 and 43 in Leila’s muffin shop. The morning set ups all face the shop's front door. In the afternoon they'll turn toward the back door.

The idea is to minimize the amount of time spent resetting the lights, thusly enabling more shots to be made today. And, as we’ve noted before, making shots is the name of the game.

The problem with block shooting, usually, is that it necessitates changes in wardrobe, makeup and props, and making these changes can sometimes take more time than resetting the lights and camera. It can also sometimes be a problem for the actors to jump back and forth in time in such short order. The decision to block shoot is only made after weighing all the positives and negatives.

On Cherry  these two scenes seem to lend themselves to block shooting. They involve the same actors in the same clothes on the same location, and are separated in time by just the amount of (movie) time it takes for Leila to get from her muffin shop to Dr. Kirk’s waiting room, where scene 42 is set. Meaning both scenes take place in the morning.

The challenge of block shooting, apart from the difficulties presented to the actors, is to maintain continuity. For that reason during rehearsals for each shot on this day of block shooting Janna will conduct a continuity check, going through a checklist of items that are found in the scene and making sure that they are consistently placed from the ending of each shot to the beginning of the next.

In her book she has a page for the scenes, and a listing of the key elements, along with their status.

What’s in the checklist? For scene 41 there is…

Sign: The sign in the muffin shop’s front window is supposed to read "Closed," because the scene takes place at 6:30 AM and Darcy is just arriving. Since we’re inside the shop, the back of the sign, which reads "Open," should be seen. Elementary perhaps, but throughout the morning the sign keeps changing position. A prankster? Misguided help? An accident? No one is quite sure.

Jon says, "Am I crazy or does that sign keep changing position?"

Heather Matarazzo says, "You’re crazy alright, but it’s also changing position."

Coat Rack: No coats on rack.

Creamer and Muffins: None.

Table: Messy with drawings.

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Which one's birth?

Poetry Book: Open. Coffee stained. Actually, as they set up the shot a change was made. Instead of a book of someone else’s published poetry, as was scripted, Jon decided to make the book a journal of Menu Man’s unpublished musings. Which meant that the small, delicate book needed to be broken in. Dirt and coffee stains, applied by Joseph and Elizabeth, quickly did the job.

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Joseph ages the poetry book

Coffee: Almost empty.

Darcy’s Cigarette: Lit, halfway smoked.

Darcy’s Bag: She takes it off as she enters, and leaves it on a chair at the front table.

Dottie’s Coat: What coat? When the scene starts Dottie is standing at the front table in the shop’s front window. She isn’t wearing her coat. But that doesn’t mean it is doesn’t need to be accounted for.

Jon: "Where is your coat? Is it on this stool here?"

Heather: "No. Not on the stool."

Jon (leans his face slowly toward her’s, until he’s just inches away): "I think that jacket might have been laid… across… the… stool… Right?"

Heather (pauses, then tremulously): "Right."

Jon (lays the coat across the stool): "I thought so."

Menu Man Coat: On banquette.

Leila Coat: Over banquette back.

And while the items seen on screen must be consistent from shot to shot, because they’re what the audience sees, what keeps the shots looking consistent from take to take are the markings made off screen: The marks denoting the height of the dolly, the starting and stopping points on the track, others that remind the actors where to stand.

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The camera dolly

When you think about it, it’s kind of amazing that any shots are actually ever taken. When you think about it. 

    Peter Kreutzer

 

Thursday

 

(c) 1998 Peter M. Kreutzer