Monday, October 15, 2007

Scheduling 101

Let's just get naked....

There’s a long held belief that the nude scenes should be shot first, because if an actor reneges, they can be fired and recast immediately.

You know what? I absolutely agree.

There are many unscrupulous actors who will lie to get the job and they deserve to be fired. Then there are a lot of actors who fully intend to do nudity, but then back out because of pressure from family, significant other, friends and especially other actors. Sorry guys, but you’re fired, too. (Just to be clear, whether an actor chooses to do nudity or not is entirely up to them. Nobody should do nudity if they are not comfortable with it. I believe your word is your word....if you agree to do something, you do it.)

But..... telling your actors you’re shooting the naked stuff first because you don’t trust them might not be the best way to begin. I’m just saying...

Diplomacy is our friend here, people.

The best approach with actors is to tell them you are scheduling the nude scenes first because you want to get them out of the way and concentrate on the story. And really, if your actors have never appeared nude before, they are going to be incredibly nervous! Why have that hanging over their heads wondering, "Oh God, is tomorrow the day? Gulp..."

Though I do caution against shooting ALL the nudity at once. The actors can burn out and start to feel like a hunk of meat rather than the talented actors you know them to be. This will show in performance. You know it will. It can also be somewhat disheartening for the crew - most of the crew usually hasn't read the script. They only know what they see being shot. So if you have a month long shoot, with incredible, dramatic scenes in your film, but the crew only sees naked people the first few days - they will think they are on a porn set and the negative comments will bring your production down.

Only you know what your film is, these are just some guidelines to help you as you plan for nude scenes. There are no absolutes. Just giving you some stuff to think about. Yeah. Like you really needed MORE stuff to think about.

Have you noticed that after working with the same group of people day in and day out, 15 hours a day, they kind of start to..... I dunno... get on your nerves??? Even people you really like. Now imagine if you had to kiss them and roll around naked as though in the throes of passion - when all you really want to to is hit them with the closest available c-stand.

It’s kind of like the idea behind the wrap party. You have the wrap party a week or so after you’re done shooting, everyone gets together and remembers that they used to like each other. I think the same principle applies with shooting nudity and/or love scenes. It’s just a lot easier to make out with a stranger than it is to make out with someone you want to bludgeon.

Morning Sex

I highly recommend scheduling nudity in the first half of the day for several reasons.

Actors are just as insecure about their bodies as anyone else. Probably more so. (Not unreasonable when one considers all the armchair critics who will feel compelled to share their opinions all over the internet.) Most of them will skip breakfast so their stomachs look flatter. Some of them will even skip lunch if their nude scenes are up after lunch. Crazy, isn’t it? Hungry actors are not at their best.. And this is all about getting the best that you can from your talent.

Another prime reason to shoot love scenes early in the day is your basic grunge factor Movie making is a dirty business. (Yet for some bizarre reason, there is never an adequate supply of soap and paper towels. You know it’s true. Just look at your hands at the end of the day.) A hot, sticky, sweaty, dirty business. (God, I love filmmaking!) If you want your actors to cozy up for a passionate scene, do it early in the day when they smell pretty. They will feel much more comfortable with themselves as well as with each other. Keeping a tin of strong mints around is an excellent idea as well - offer them to everyone.
Trust me, your actors will take them and feel much more comfortable behind a deliciously minty mist.

Photos by Don Albrecht

1 comment:

Gailfan said...

Great blog, very informative. In some of my stories I've dramatically mentioned the subject of scheduling without really knowing the why behind.