By midlandsmovies, Sep 30 2019 07:00AM
A Day in the Life of director Jordan Dean
In the final entry of our 'A Day in the Life' features, we follow the hectic schedule of Leicester-based film director Jordan Dean. Take a read of the very long day for one of the most crucial roles in local film production.
06:00. Wake up, shower, get ready. I then go through the schedule for the day, look over the shot list that I will have finalised with my DOP in pre-production. This allows me to focus my mind on what has to be done during the day so I can arrive to set and go through the day with my DOP and AD without having to run through paperwork which will slow things down.
07:30. Arrive on set, make a coffee and walk the set with my DOP and AD. This initial walkthrough allows the three of us to get on the same page for the first scene. This frees me up to work solely with the actors when they arrive as the DOP will communicate with their department what we have discussed, and they can begin to light the set and mark up camera positions.
08:00. I sit down with the actors and go through the 1st scene with them, this is a brief meeting and we touch on where this scene fits within the film, what has come before and what is coming after. The actors then head to hair and makeup.
08:45. My AD will bring the actors to set so we can begin blocking the scene. For this I usually have my AD and DOP close by so we can discuss any potential changes to shots, lighting etc. The gaffer and camera operators usually watch this blocking session to allow them to prep any camera moves and potential lighting changes. I like to allow my actors to play the scene out as they see it first, there are 2 reasons I do this. One, it allows the actors to take ownership over their surroundings and their characters. Two, I have a clear idea how the scene plays out in my mind but when you turn it over to an actor to make decisions without direction, they have a tendency to do something you had never thought of that could improve the scene. Once they play it through themselves, I then come in and change things that didn’t work and discuss some of the more interesting decisions they made. Once we have the blocking set the actors go back to their dressing room whilst I tweak a few things with the DOP.
09:15. Everything is in place; the first shot is set up and lighting is perfect. The actors are brought to set, we quickly run through the scene again and get them in position. We then run a final rehearsal followed by last looks from the hair and make up team. Now we are ready for the most exciting part of the day, first turnover. I sit by my monitor with my script supervisor and shout ‘Action!’. After we cut, I let my AD know if we need to go again or if are moving on, I then head straight to the actors whilst my AD lets everyone else know what’s going on. If we are going again, I let the actors know and we may tweak performance or if the reason for another take was a technical problem, I let them know that, so they don’t feel we are just going again for the sake of it. Once we have the shot, I will have a quick talk with my DOP about the next set up and then I go and work with the actors. This all repeats until the scene is wrapped.
12:00 – 13:00. Lunch (or dinner since I’m Northern). The majority of the cast and crew break here; however, I will have a meeting with my DOP and AD about the first scene after lunch so they can go straight to work after lunch. I grab something to eat and go over the shot list for the afternoon.
13:00 – 13:30. Get a fresh coffee, go through the morning with my script supervisor and ensure we have shot everything we intended.
13:30. Back on set with the actors for blocking. Same procedure as the morning, I try to stick to a similar routine as it allows everyone to be comfortable with what they are doing and limits the stress on set. Go through final tweaks with my AD and DOP.
14:00. Final rehearsal with the actors. Last looks. I head back to my monitor to find some fruit and fresh water as my script supervisor knows I won’t have had a proper lunch. Now it’s time for the first turnover of the afternoon.
18:00. That’s a wrap! Well, for most of the crew anyway. Whilst the crew pack down I spend some time with the actors reviewing the day and discuss the next days shoot. I give them some things to think about for the scenes coming up the next day and we discuss some initial ideas for the scenes.
18:30. I meet with my AD and script supervisor; we review the day and make sure we have shot everything we wanted to and that we are still on schedule. If we ran behind slightly, we might be discussing adding an extra scene into the schedule for the next day.
19:00. Everyone has gone home but I stay with my AD, script supervisor, DOP and the producer and we watch the rushes from the day. This is an exciting and nervous meeting as we get to watch back what we have shot which gives us an idea of what the final film may look like.
20:00. Leave set, head home and go over the schedule for the next day. I re-read the scenes for the next day and then go through the shot list in preparation for another long day on set.