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Jodotha
07-04-2008, 01:24 AM
I’m looking for a LOT of information about the every day realities of the film industry. Actual experience is hugely appreciated, as are links or book recommendations.

My characters decided on all their own to be Hollywood types – something of which I know very little about. There are a lot of “How to get into…” type books out there, but not very much (that I can find) about how your day goes once you’re already “in”.

What exactly does a Producer DO all day? What does an actress do once she arrives on set? How about an agent?

Anybody willing to volunteer assistance with this gets my eternal gratitude – or possibly a custom made icon if you’re overstocked on gratitude… ;-)

Aragon
07-04-2008, 03:03 AM
Actors and extras stand around hours for possibly a ten minute scene.

The assistant directors run around on errands and getting people in place.

Some mike operators stand around holding microphones up all day, making sure they aren't in camera.

Linda Adams
07-04-2008, 03:26 AM
This is a link to an article written by David Hedison, an actor who was on Another World, detailing a day on the set: http://www.david-hedison.com/extras/adayatstudio.htm.

There's also plenty of information available--you just need to be pointed in the right direction.

DVDs: Look for the extras on any movies or TV shows. A lot of times they'll show you behind the scenes, like what it's like on the set. In particular, try Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There was a really interesting behind the scenes piece that Josh Whedon did.

Books: Hit the local bookstore (library won't have these) and look for books on the making of TV series. There are a lot of those kinds of books out there, and they often talk about what goes on behind the scenes. Also, try the biographies of actors and producers. Plus any magazines that feature interviews with actors, like Starlog, Chiller Theatre, etc. I haven't read Starlog in a number of years, but they did used to have interviews not only with the actors, but also crew members and directors.

Jodotha
07-04-2008, 06:28 AM
This is a link to an article written by David Hedison, an actor who was on Another World, detailing a day on the set: http://www.david-hedison.com/extras/adayatstudio.htm.

Nice! Thank you! Now if I could just find a similar article written by...oh, say Jerry Bruckheimer ;)


DVDs: Look for the extras on any movies or TV shows. A lot of times they'll show you behind the scenes, like what it's like on the set. In particular, try Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There was a really interesting behind the scenes piece that Josh Whedon did.

Oooh I have Buffy DVDs...surprised I didn't think about that. I watched the King Kong production diaries but it never occured to me to check my TV DVDs for behind the scenes extras. Silly me.


There are a lot of those kinds of books out there, and they often talk about what goes on behind the scenes. Also, try the biographies of actors and producers. Plus any magazines that feature interviews with actors, like Starlog, Chiller Theatre, etc. I haven't read Starlog in a number of years, but they did used to have interviews not only with the actors, but also crew members and directors.

I'm a library gal - guess I'll need to hop over to B&N for a bit...gee darn, lol. Thanks for the magazine names - I never know what has good stuff and what has....uh....crap. heh.

blackrose602
07-04-2008, 08:15 AM
One of the biggest realities of the film and television industry is that it is far from glamorous. If your characters are big stars (either as actors or behind the scenes), they'll be coddled a bit. If not, then they're just cogs in a giant machine that costs a fortune per minute of operation. "Hurry up and wait" is the standard catch phrase. Actors and extras are expected to show up for an insanely early call time. Wardrobe and makeup can be anything from boring to excruciating, depending on the character. It's not uncommon to spend two to four hours in the makeup chair for horror movies and other roles that require prosthetics or heavy makeup.

Once you're all costumed and made up, you'll wait for hours. That time is spent setting up lights, setting up cameras, running through the shots with stand-ins and working out the kinks. No matter how long you wait though, you always have to keep one ear open for the director's call. When they're ready for you, you'd better be there -- in character, lines memorized, ready to work. You'll probably rehearse the scene once or twice, then film it from a few different angles. Depending on the scene (and the budget), a ten minute scene could be finished in two takes or it could take the better part of a day to film.

Personally, I love being on film sets. There's generally awesome food, friendly people to talk to and a lot of behind the scenes action to watch. Some people find it insanely boring though.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if it's a union project, every single person on set has a contracted job description, and they are absolutely not allowed to do anything that's outside that written description. It doesn't matter if the leading man also happens to be a master electrician, for example. He is absolutely forbidden from touching a light bulb. So to keep it authentic, make sure you get your job descriptions straight and limit your characters' actions to those that fit.

I've been on and around a lot of film sets, so if you need any more information, just ask :)

Jodotha
07-04-2008, 10:05 PM
Another thing to keep in mind is that if it's a union project, every single person on set has a contracted job description, and they are absolutely not allowed to do anything that's outside that written description. It doesn't matter if the leading man also happens to be a master electrician, for example. He is absolutely forbidden from touching a light bulb. So to keep it authentic, make sure you get your job descriptions straight and limit your characters' actions to those that fit.
I've been on and around a lot of film sets, so if you need any more information, just ask :)

Ooooh, that is particularly helpful! I knew about the union aspect (I've been a theatre student), but it had not occured to me how that could limit the actions of the characters. Niiice.

BTW, I will totally take you up on your offer! I pay in iconage, lol.

LIVIN
07-04-2008, 10:55 PM
I threw up a link to this thread in the Scriptwriting section.

ReneC
07-05-2008, 12:04 AM
I worked at the bottom end of the film industry for three years. I saw a lot in that time. You can hit me up for information, too.

There are many different aspects to the film industry. Working on set is vastly different from working on location. On set, everything is in a controlled environment so it's simple to stop shooting and pick up again the next day. On location, days run much longer because there's a finite time to get the shots needed while dealing with all the real world interruptions that can occur, especially in a busy city.

Unions are a big factor, as blackrose pointed out. The divide between union and non-union is a big one, in duties and in pay. I ruffled a few feathers just trying to be helpful and giving the union folks a hand. I was put in my place a couple of times and learned to leave the work to them.

Everyone is pretty friendly, especially amongst the labourers, drivers, and tradesmen. Once you start getting up to the assistant directors, the director of photography, the producers, and the stars, attitudes start to play larger roles. I found that most directors were all right, which sort of makes sense since they need to get along with a lot of people. Writers can be real whiners, though. ;)

Craft services and catering trucks are a huge part of the industry. Craft services is usually a cube van converted into a small kitchen and laden with snack foods for the crew. It's almost always present when filming on location and is home to some of the worst coffee in existence. I learned to drink it, but I never did enjoy it. Catering services are usually present when a full day of shooting is scheduled and they provide the real meals, but if the day runs long you'll often find film crews scrambling around the neighbourhood looking for fast food places that can accommodate orders of a hundred or so hungry people. Union rules dictate that food must be provided after so many hours. Since catering has to be arranged ahead of time and filming often runs longer than planned, these last-minute dashes for food are pretty common. Another difference between union and non-union can sometimes be found in the food provided, particularly to extras. If catered food is available, the union folk will always be included but the non-union chumps might end up with a boxed lunch (read: crappy sandwich and a soda).

This just scratches the surface, so if you come across anything you need more info about, just ask!

WriteKnight
07-05-2008, 01:18 AM
YOu could get more specific information if you outlined the parameters of your film from the novel. Particulary, what's the budget? Whats the genre?Is this a 75 million dollar action special effects extravaganza? Or a small indy film being made with a skeleton crew shooting 'guerilla style' - shoot and run on location?

As others have noted, union and non union is a dividing line as well. What area of the industry is your MC working in/with? Production? Post production?

As others have stated, its pretty much hurry-up-and-wait.

Here's a partial list of movie-movies, that look at what its like.

"State and Main" (really good for a writers perspective)
"Living in Oblivion" - (Absolutely the most accurate take on 'indy' shooting)
"The Player" - (Not so much about the making, but more about how it gets pitched and made)
"Sweet Liberty" - A historic film made in a small town, interesting take.

Others will chime in with their recommendations.

I've been/worked on Big Budget sets and Beer Budget sets.

Fire away.

zeprosnepsid
07-05-2008, 01:24 AM
What exactly does a Producer DO all day? What does an actress do once she arrives on set? How about an agent?

You could probably find out a good amount of what you are looking for from research. Blogs like Deadline Hollywood Daily. TV Shows like Sunday Morning Shootout. Or even TV Shows like Entourage should give you good insight into the Producer/Actor/Agent level on the industry.

A Documentary like Lost In La Mancha gives you some good insight on the day to day as well. Of course, every one of their days go badly. But the day that the investors show up might be insightful for your kind of thing.

You mentioned Jerry Bruckheimer and what someone of that level probably does on set is show up for an hour, get fawned over, and leave. There was a story on Sunday Morning Shootout told by Jon Favreau about working on the movie 'Rudy' that Peter Guber (co-host of the show, who used to be a very big Producer) showed up to set one day, showed up in the private jet, everyone was waiting for his big grand entrance. He hung around for like an hour and like that he was gone.

What the actors do depends on the set and the actors. Martin Lawrence once stayed in his trailer for an entire day, losing the whole day of filming, because they brought him a grilled cheese with white cheese instead of yellow (he's bipolar). But on the Desperado movies, Robert Rodriquez and Antonio Banderas would chill out and play guitar between takes and things like that.

And it depends on the Producer and the size of film what they are doing. Ray Liotta produced Narc and he'd act in it all day and spend all night on the phone trying to arrange financing to be able to shoot the next day. Or making sure the film made it to the developer. Both Producers and Agents seem to spend a fairly large amount of their time on their cell phones. But some producers are making creative decisions, some are just taking care of practical situations, some are just the money, some are just the actor's girlfriend. What a Producer does can vary greatly.

I don't know where you live, but it may be particularly instructive to work as an unpaid production assistant (better if you could get paid, but unlikely!) on a local independent film. You can check out Craigslist or something in your area and they are always looking for volunteers.

As other people noted, it's mostly waiting. Pretty much the only people who don't spend half their day doing nothing are the cinematography crew and sometimes the director. And yeah, they are seriously serious about the union thing. It helps just not to touch anything =) Food is pretty much always good though.

And similarly what an agent does depends on the client and the agent. Agents spend a lot of their time in their office (well, really they spend a lot of time in restaurants and bars in 'meetings'). But they will be on set if needed or if they need to such up or for certain reasons.

There are some really great books about the film industry and film history, that are filled with great stories and anecdotes, but I don't know if it'll give you the day to day logistics. But Peter Biskind's books - 'Easy Riders, Raging Bulls' (about the 70s) and 'Down and Dirty Pictures' (about the 90s) are greatly insightful into how the industry works. Or the Screenwriting Bible, 'Adventures in the Screen Trade' by William Goldman, also has great insight into the industry. But again, less on that day to day basis.

Jodotha
07-05-2008, 03:42 AM
There are many different aspects to the film industry. Working on set is vastly different from working on location. On set, everything is in a controlled environment so it's simple to stop shooting and pick up again the next day. On location, days run much longer because there's a finite time to get the shots needed while dealing with all the real world interruptions that can occur, especially in a busy city.

OK – that makes a lot of sense. The location filming is at a Swamp/wetland area, supposedly just outside of LA. Still looking into which real swamp would mirror the fictional one, but the idea is not a pretty wetland, but a bug-infested, muddy and mossy swamp. There will probably be scenes shot in studio, so there is a big probability that I will be writing her in that setting as well.


Everyone is pretty friendly, especially amongst the labourers, drivers, and tradesmen.

Do the labourers tend to clique together? Obviously when working they would be grouped as they worked on related things, but was there any kind of grouping "rules" that applied when they are lunching or breaking or what not?


Craft services and catering trucks are a huge part of the industry. If catered food is available, the union folk will always be included but the non-union chumps might end up with a boxed lunch (read: crappy sandwich and a soda).

Ah, the food. Just WHAT on earth kind of food gets served at a film shoot? Steak? Sandwiches? Donuts? How all out do the caterers go, and what do they manage to get away with?


YOu could get more specific information if you outlined the parameters of your film from the novel. Particulary, what's the budget? Whats the genre?Is this a 75 million dollar action special effects extravaganza? Or a small indy film being made with a skeleton crew shooting 'guerilla style' - shoot and run on location?

OK – this I can do! This film is a well funded romantic comedy – along the lines of a Meg Ryan flick, yeah? The difference is "Meg Ryan" is a new face actress, and the male lead is the star name carrying the piece. The producer and director are also well known names. Basically, it seems as though my young actress MC has just won the Hollywood lottery. (Sure she's beautiful and can act, but so can hundreds of other unemployed actresses…)
The location shots are in a swamp, which can't possibly be easy to work with (fun!). the skeleton of the story is nature-loving scientist trying to save the stupid mosquito farm while dashing and ruthless corporate real estate guy wants to fill it in and sell it off. I'm not reaching for originality here – it's actually a point she makes early on that this is the type of film everyone has seen before. But who cares – we movie goers loves us some formulaic romantic comedy ;)


As others have stated, its pretty much hurry-up-and-wait.

I've only had one opportunity to work in film as an extra, and it was all hurry-up-and-wait ;) Fortunately I've done a lot of theatre, so I'm used to it…


Here's a partial list of movie-movies, that look at what its like.

"State and Main" (really good for a writers perspective)
"Living in Oblivion" - (Absolutely the most accurate take on 'indy' shooting)
"The Player" - (Not so much about the making, but more about how it gets pitched and made)
"Sweet Liberty" - A historic film made in a small town, interesting take.

Thank you! I'll be netflixing these stat.


You could probably find out a good amount of what you are looking for from research. Blogs like Deadline Hollywood Daily. TV Shows like Sunday Morning Shootout. Or even TV Shows like Entourage should give you good insight into the Producer/Actor/Agent level on the industry.

I'm in a bubble – never heard of these! YAY! I'll be setting up my DVR.


A Documentary like Lost In La Mancha gives you some good insight on the day to day as well. Of course, every one of their days go badly. But the day that the investors show up might be insightful for your kind of thing.

I've heard of that – That sounds like a great film for this research – ESPECIALLY if things go wrong every day! Heh.


You mentioned Jerry Bruckheimer and what someone of that level probably does on set is show up for an hour, get fawned over, and leave.

And it depends on the Producer and the size of film what they are doing. Ray Liotta produced Narc and he'd act in it all day and spend all night on the phone trying to arrange financing to be able to shoot the next day. Or making sure the film made it to the developer. Both Producers and Agents seem to spend a fairly large amount of their time on their cell phones. But some producers are making creative decisions, some are just taking care of practical situations, some are just the money, some are just the actor's girlfriend. What a Producer does can vary greatly.

How involved with the production could a JR kinda guy get before crossing the line? Also, any idea on what they do after their one hour set visit? Mysterious creatures, these Producers…. Let's say lucky-lottery-actress is currently involved with the Producer – how might that affect his daily routine?


I don't know where you live, but it may be particularly instructive to work as an unpaid production assistant (better if you could get paid, but unlikely!) on a local independent film. You can check out Craigslist or something in your area and they are always looking for volunteers.

I do check, but not a lot of filming gets done in Anchorage. Usually they film in Canada, or if they really want Alaska it's because of the rugged wilderness. Either way, not a lot of stuff available. However, craigslist a good suggestion so I will try and keep an eye out. I liked being an extra – I got to chat with people the whole time, LOL

Thank you guys so much for all of this info! So very, very helpful! And major fan-points for the Darkwing reference... :-D

Tsu Dho Nimh
07-05-2008, 05:20 AM
Several DVDs have the director's comments: Bull Durham, for example talks about making a low-budget flick, filming in odd places, and using the townies as extras. Good movie, but it teaches movie making.

I've been an extra. It was a whole lotta waiting for 30 seconds of action.

WriteKnight
07-05-2008, 07:15 AM
Okay, big budget RomCom film. Got it.

There are a number of different types of 'producers'. Producer. Executive Producer. Line Producer and the ubiquitous "Associate Producer".

You can google up the terms on Wikipedia to get the actual definitions. Google up "Film Credits".

"THE Producer - is usually the guy who acquires the 'property' - the script or the book the script is based on. He buys the rights, and raises the money. He usually makes the big above-the-line calls. He will find the director (If he's not also the producer/director type - think Spielberg, Lucas, or maybe Eastwood). THis is the guy who ultimately is responsible for pulling the elements together, and getting the film MADE. This is why when the BEST PICTURE award is handed out - its the PRODUCER who gets to go up and get the statue and make the speech - not the director. (Unless the producer IS the director).

Executive Producers are money people. They've bought in big time with their investments. They usually don't have much 'hands on' when it comes to day to day business. In fact, depending on how the financing is structured, they might be prohibited by law from 'managing' the day to day aspects. But since they've put in lots of money, they get to show up and be fawned over on the set. Usually its a pain in the ass when they do - cause you've got to be nice to them.

Line Producer - THIS IS THE GUY who is the hands on - boots on the ground producer. He's the one who's dealing with the tough issues, he's hiring and firing the people who cater, do the transportation, SCOUTS locations, cuts deals with rental houses, signs the paperwork and insurance stuff - this guy works 27hours a day. No. Joke. If a Director says "I need this..." (usually he says this to the A.D., who then takes the request to the line producer who okays it - or vetos it - and possibly gets it done.)

Associate Producer - this is a 'gimme credit' in lieu of payment. Somebody has something they can bring to the project - like a married spouse who is needed in the film - and they get 'attached' as an associate producer. This is a title you give someone who you don't want to 'hire' but want a favor out of - They are loaning you their really nice home. In "State and Main" - the indy film that is being shot is always giving out 'associate producer' credits to people in the town, whenever they need something. Its hilarious, and in the ACTUAL CREDITS to the film - there are about two hundred "Associate Producer" CREDITS. Life imitating art imitating life... I really recommend it.

zeprosnepsid
07-05-2008, 11:53 PM
Do the labourers tend to clique together? Obviously when working they would be grouped as they worked on related things, but was there any kind of grouping "rules" that applied when they are lunching or breaking or what not?

There are very specific lunch rules! Teamsters eat first! It's in their contract. Julia Roberts can't touch a potato salad until the truck drivers all have theirs.

Every set is different, but sure there is cliquing. Usually there isn't a ton of interaction between above the line and below the line people. But a lot of the Electricians and Grips have worked together on other productions and they'll know each other. Not every set is cliquey but if you wrote into your story I don't think anyone would argue with it.


Ah, the food. Just WHAT on earth kind of food gets served at a film shoot? Steak? Sandwiches? Donuts? How all out do the caterers go, and what do they manage to get away with

There's usually a pretty good spread. Because there's the actual lunch break, with actual lunch but there's the craft services table that's there all day and that sometimes will have substantial food like sandwiches but is usually a little more appetizer based (little sandwiches!). Finger foods you can grab in between moving lights. In the morning they will have donuts and bagels and stuff. The caterers are there all day making sure everyone has food. Occasionally they'll theme it to the movie (I'm sure there were fried green tomatoes on set every day of Fried Green Tomatoes). But a lot of the time they have to make sure they have whatever the actors and above the line people demand. If they have food allergies or only eat organic. Actors can put stuff like that in their contracts. 'Must have diet coke on set'. (A friend used to work on Dharma and Greg and Jenna Elfman wanted particular bagels, from a particular bagel shop, and she had to go get them every day). But if you're a grip and your allergic to peanuts then you're on your own.


How involved with the production could a JR kinda guy get before crossing the line? Also, any idea on what they do after their one hour set visit? Mysterious creatures, these Producers…. Let's say lucky-lottery-actress is currently involved with the Producer – how might that affect his daily routine?

You mean Bruckheimer? He can do whatever the heck he wants. It'd be odd if he was there every day, in fact it may cause the Director into massive paranoia that he's being babysat or will be fired, but nobody will mess with the big Producer. But the reason they're not on set much is because they have meetings and lunches and phone calls to make. Y'know, Bruckheimer is producing 3 TV shows and a couple movies at any one time. Sometimes he watches dailies to see how it's going. But he's making deals. Setting up the next project. Getting pitched to. Wooing the right star. He's got other stuff to deal with.

Thank you guys so much for all of this info! So very, very helpful! And major fan-points for the Darkwing reference... :-D


Score!

Oh, and you mentioned something about the production going badly. When the Production goes badly the first person to get fired is the Assistant Director. Poor AD's....

blackrose602
07-06-2008, 07:57 AM
One thing that your lucky lottery actress is going to be heavily affected by is her tenuous status. If she's new and the male lead is a star, they're going to be dealt with very differently by everyone from the director to the camera guys. He'll be catered to, brought green M&Ms on request and handled with kid gloves. She'll be making less than half as much money as he does, have a much smaller trailer and be expected to show up and shut up. If she's involved with the producer, that adds a whole new dimension of snarking and suspicion, especially if some of the supporting actors have more extensive resumes. Of course, they wouldn't dare be directly rude, since she could get them fired, but it'll come out in subtle ways, especially when they're all hot, sticky and bug-ridden in the swamp.

On the topic of swamps, I lived in New Orleans for several years and was involved in the film industry there, so if you need any help with swamp filming scenes, let me know.

As for cliques, it honestly just depends on the particular shoot. I've been on projects where everyone strictly divided down group lines and rarely interacted. At the other extreme, when I was an extra on Problem Child 2, John Ritter hung out with us lowly extras between takes (we were filming at an amusement park) and all the techies challenged each other to carnival games during down times. So write it any way you like and it'll be realistic.

C.M. Daniels
07-06-2008, 12:12 PM
I've had buddies drag me in on their film projects. Making movies has got to be one of the dullest jobs in existence. I suppose that's why I'm a writer.

Stylo
07-06-2008, 09:14 PM
I've no direct experience, but can recommend a funny and insightful book called 'Conversations with My Agent' by Rob Long. It's brill!

Jon-Luke
07-07-2008, 07:15 PM
I work in the Film Industry on a day to day basis... If you have any specific questions about specific crew members let me know... Here in South Africa some of the "rules" are different, we don't have teamsters (and I'm pretty sure that Julia Roberts would eat in her trailer and would more than likely have a personal chef) Also breaking the teamsters for lunch before the rest of the crew shouldn't be a problem, they would probably eat before lunch was called and I can imagine why this rule would come about - many drivers sit around for the majority of the day and then just before, during and just after lunch they would have to drive crew and cast between base camp and set and wold risk missing out on lunch all together.

ReneC
07-07-2008, 09:35 PM
Film projects can last for weeks, months, or years (LOTR). A typical feature length film will shoot for around 40-50 days, and during that time you see the same people every single day. There is definitely a sense of comraderie that was present on every shoot I worked on. At the beginning of filming, a lot of people know each other from past film projects. As filming progresses, everyone gets to know the people within their group (techs, transport, locations, cast, camera crew, set design, etc) and there's a lot of crossing over as the groups interact with each other. And of course, filming for a television series can mean working together for months at a time for years. There's also plenty of drama, it's a stressful industry and when you throw that many people together you're bound to get personality clashes. Overall, it's generally pretty friendly and fun.

I maintain that my film industry job was the best crappy job ever. The pay wasn't great, the hours were crazy, it's a relatively thankless job, but it was also a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it.

Jodotha
07-08-2008, 12:47 AM
Okay, big budget RomCom film. Got it.
RomCom? Whazzat?

“THE Producer - is usually the guy who acquires the 'property'
Line Producer - THIS IS THE GUY who is the hands on - boots on the ground producer.
Hmmm….here’s my dilemma - my character (Oppositional) is the Producer, but he’s a really hands-on kind of guy. So I can understand the industry reality of having the separate positions of Producer and Line Producer BUT…is there any plausible way to blend the two that won’t get me kicked in the fanny by industry readers? If the answer is no, that’s cool, I can always do some character adding and rearranging. Figured I’d ask though – just in case.



One thing that your lucky lottery actress is going to be heavily affected by is her tenuous status. If she's new and the male lead is a star, they're going to be dealt with very differently by everyone from the director to the camera guys.
Oh yes, I’ve touched on this already – really helps with the story actually ;)

On the topic of swamps, I lived in New Orleans for several years and was involved in the film industry there, so if you need any help with swamp filming scenes, let me know.

O.O You are my new best friend! Yes, PLEASE tell me everything! Heh. I’ll try to think of a more specific set of questions….

Again, I am so overwhelmed by how generous you all are with your knowledge and experience! WriteKnight, Zeprosnepsid, Jon-Luke, ReneC, BlackRose et all - Thank you so very much!

WriteKnight
07-08-2008, 01:59 AM
RomCom=Romantic Comedy.

Well, the titles of Produer, Executive Producer, Line Producer, Associate Producer are somewhat flexible and overlap - again, depending on the scale of the project. The larger the budget, the more 'stratified' the management - generally speaking. Smaller film will have people wearing more than one hat.

Did you google Wickipedia for the film credit descriptions? This will help you a lot.

A real 'hands on producer' as you describe him... well sure, you could construct him that way. Again, without knowing your character or storyline, or how your fictional film company works - I could easily see "The PRODUCER" being the kind of guy who has sunk every dime he personally has into the picture (NEVER a good idea - one should always spend someone else's money) SO, he's really really emotionally invested in the film. SO invested, he takes the position line producer as well. (Or hovers over the line producer's shoulder - constantly firing and hiring new ones - whatever)

He WANTS to be hands on dammit, it's HIS family fortune at stake. This would put him 'on the line' every day - though not necessarily 'on the set' if that's important. A line producer might be in his office all day, dealing with union reps, haggling with building suppliers, talking to banks and insurance companies, etc - and never see the set.

Typically, and its a bit of a cliche, if you want the new girl to be pursued by the powerful film person on the set - it'd be the director. But again, not sure of your dynamic and storyline. An intrusive A-hole of a producer who is constantly visiting the set, getting on people's nerves, second guessing the director - sure, that'd work too.

Pomegranate
07-08-2008, 02:17 AM
I hate to tell you this, but I don't think there are any swamps or wetlands near Los Angeles. Southern California is a semi-arid desert climate. Any tidal basins in the area have probably been drained and turned into golf courses or condos. You could use a high-desert location and an endangered type of spider though. The high desert is windy and can be VERY hot and dry during the day and quite cold at night.

RomCom=Romantic Comedy

My husband is a filmmaker who has worked on a number of low-budget films. Based on his stories, the set is a very intense place and crew members can form close relationships quickly. He refers to some of his friends as "war-buddies." Even though it's a professional environment, there is a little bit of joking around that goes on. One game is to pinch a clothespin (called a C-47 clamp or C-47 for short) on someone's back. You keep adding pins until they notice.

Typical days on a film shoot last 12-14 hours. There is a LOT of sit around and wait time on set. (I worked on one film - never again!) My husband says he chose his job (director of photography) because it was one of the few positions where you are always working (setting lights, running the camera...).

blackrose602
07-08-2008, 04:35 AM
I hate to tell you this, but I don't think there are any swamps or wetlands near Los Angeles. Southern California is a semi-arid desert climate. Any tidal basins in the area have probably been drained and turned into golf courses or condos.

I wondered about this myself, but never having been to Southern California I wasn't sure. If the swamp is important to the story, why not send them to Louisiana for filming? There's a huge amount of big budget filming going on in and around New Orleans and Shreveport these days, thanks to government incentives. Otherwise I would take Pomegranate's advice and switch to desert filming if you want to keep the setting close to L.A.

Linda Adams
07-08-2008, 05:41 AM
I hate to tell you this, but I don't think there are any swamps or wetlands near Los Angeles. Southern California is a semi-arid desert climate.


Definitely no swamps or wetlands. When I was growing up in So-Cal, we were always in a draught every year. The summer heats up and everything gets very dry, and then the brush fires start.

On the other hand, a movie studio can create a swamp on the lot if they don't want the expense of filming on location.

Jodotha
07-08-2008, 06:16 AM
I hate to tell you this, but I don't think there are any swamps or wetlands near Los Angeles.

I was worried about that, but I did some research (i.e. googling) and came up with these:
http://www.lat-long.com/ListLocations-1-California-Swamp.html
http://www.brainygeography.com/types/CA.swamp.html

I figured they probably weren't fabulously boggy a la Louisiana, but assumed that they weren't dry either.

I could have them fly to Louisiana if absolutely necessary (it's important to the story to have it be a pre-existing swamp), and I am left wondering about the information I found in my google search. Can anybody reconcile this info please? LOL

Jodotha
07-08-2008, 06:31 AM
RomCom=Romantic Comedy.

I could have figured that out, I'm almost sure of it ;)


Did you google Wickipedia for the film credit descriptions? This will help you a lot.

Yup, I did - thank you - now I'm trying to figure out exactly how much I can get away with in terms of fictionalizing ;) I'm also trying to keep the "name characters" cast to a minimum.


A real 'hands on producer' as you describe him... well sure, you could construct him that way. Again, without knowing your character or storyline, or how your fictional film company works - I could easily see "The PRODUCER" being the kind of guy who has sunk every dime he personally has into the picture (NEVER a good idea - one should always spend someone else's money) SO, he's really really emotionally invested in the film. SO invested, he takes the position line producer as well. (Or hovers over the line producer's shoulder - constantly firing and hiring new ones - whatever)

Rule #1: Never put your own money in the show.
Rule #2: NEVER PUT YOUR OWN MONEY IN THE SHOW!

heh.

I must admit that I had a feeling I would need to do some character strangling, lol. I tried to tell my character he was a director (I don't hide from cliches, I embrace them!) but he would have nothing of it. Producer, he said, and to hell with your stupid plot ideas. Well. I'll see if I can't rig up some kind of producer/director trap....LOL Of course I'm also rather fond of the lovely jerk who intrudes on everyone else's job. Decisions, decisions....

Pomegranate
07-08-2008, 10:46 PM
I was worried about that, but I did some research (i.e. googling) and came up with these:
http://www.lat-long.com/ListLocations-1-California-Swamp.html
http://www.brainygeography.com/types/CA.swamp.html

I figured they probably weren't fabulously boggy a la Louisiana, but assumed that they weren't dry either.


We've had years of record-breaking drought in so cal. (I live in San Diego.)

The "Cooper Cienega" the lat-long.com site shows in my area is in the mountains. Our mountains are rocky and, even when green, not remotely swampy. It's probably a former lake or just a slightly wetter part of the scenery.

I'm guessing you think the Ballona Wetlands the lat-long site shows in LA, is a likely candidate. But, if you zoom in using the satellite feature, you can see it looks like a big salt flat. Even when wet, it's closer to a weedy pond than a Louisiana swamp.

"Wetlands" just doesn't mean the same thing in our climate. Sloughs and wetlands in this area are flat estuarial basins with grasses and migratory birds. We have areas where there are lots of oak and eucalyptus trees growing in the streambed leading to the ocean (that has a little water in rainy season and may flood every 50 years). However even with fancy lens filters and copious spanish moss draped over branches, it's not going to look like what we picture as "swamp".

...but hey, you don't need to let reality get in the way of a good story, this Hollywood after all. ;-)

Jodotha
07-10-2008, 07:55 AM
Well, I knew about the Ballona Wetlands but, having seen pictures in my research, I knew that wasn't the right place.
But I have adjusted and adapted! Switching things around...to Florida! Thanks for the info folks!

Linda Adams
07-10-2008, 02:18 PM
Well, I knew about the Ballona Wetlands but, having seen pictures in my research, I knew that wasn't the right place.
But I have adjusted and adapted! Switching things around...to Florida! Thanks for the info folks!

FYI--If you go to state Web sites, you can usually request a tourist book for free. You can do this with some major cities also.

blackrose602
07-11-2008, 04:39 AM
Switching things around...to Florida! Thanks for the info folks!

Well, Florida will certainly work as far as terrain. If you want to be realistic to the film industry, though, you might want to rethink it. About a decade ago, Florida was being hailed as "Hollywood East." However, due to the state government's unwillingness to provide incentives, most film companies have pulled out. FL does get occasional productions, but they're usually lower budget now. At the same time, Louisiana is providing all kinds of fabulous incentives, and there are literally dozens of big budget movies there at any one time. So I'd go with Louisiana location filming for the sake of realism. Just my two cents, of course :)