Director's Checklist: What Should You Do After a Take is Over?
Directing is not easy work, especially if you've never done it before. It's easy to say "action" and "cut," but everything that happens after a take can be just as important as what happens during a take. So what should you be doing once a take is finished? Director Patrick Tucker, who has been at the helm for more than 400 broadcast TV episodes, recently gave some advice about what a director should do after saying "cut."
1. Did you like the take?
On balance, were all the major elements in place? (framing; camera movement; lighting; design; properties; costumes; make-up; script; editing – will it cut to and from the surrounding shots; and DON’T FORGET TO THINK ABOUT THE ACTING.)
4. Weigh up the pros and cons of going again
Balance the wishes of the crew/actor requests on one side, and your knowledge of how much must be done today (and what is coming up) on the other. Is it better to correct something now, or wait to fix it in post-production?
7. Stop before you move
Before moving the camera (and so needing changes in lighting, dressings and design), make sure there is no other shot needed for this scene that could be done from here. Also, see if there is any other shot you can squeeze from this set-up for only a few extra seconds of shooting.
If you have an Assistant Director, they will most likely be helping you with the scheduling, but even if you don't have one, it's important to be aware of how much you still have left to shoot with the time allotted. I think stopping before you move the camera ends up saving a lot more time over the course of the day. If you make sure that you've got all the coverage you need from a certain setup, you can avoid having to go back and try to match up the lighting -- which might be totally different when you come back.
I tend to be a perfectionist about a lot of things, so what I've learned works well for me is making sure I hit certain key points with the scene, and then try to move on. If you have the luxury of spending a whole day on one or two pages, you can be like David Fincher and do 100 takes, but I know for me if something isn't working after 4 or 5 takes (and it's unrelated to any technical issues), then I need to go back to the drawing board and talk with the actors about a different strategy.
Be sure to head on over to the Raindance website to read the rest.
If you haven't directed anything before, did you find this helpful? If you have experience directing, what are some of the things that you've found work for you on set to have a productive day?