Tuesday, October 5, 2010

On the set: Crew Drills

When Aaron's on set, I'm going to highlight something about film school and all that it entails. Today is all about crew drills.

What are crew drills? In Aaron's MFA program, there are two classes of 20 production students and ten-or-so writers; one first year class and one second year class. It is the responsibility of the second year class to train and mentor the first year students in each position on a film set crew after the first year class is trained by its professors. This week, Aaron will be working from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. training first years in specialized roles. The second years (MFA 2Ys) each have two positions that they are responsible for training one-on-one; Aaron will be training 1Ys in sound mixer/boom operator and first assistant camera.

It is important for the 2Ys to put in these hours as mentors and do a good job training the 1Ys because the 1Ys will be responsible for some of these crew positions on the 2Ys thesis films. It's critical that a good rapport is maintained between the classes, because when you're on the set, you are responsible for a very important part of the film no matter what you're crewed to do. If you slack, people notice, and it could show up in the final product on the screen. Similarly, it's important for ATL (above the line) positions to take care of their BTL (below the line) because they are the leaders on the set, who will set the tone for the attitude that each person has throughout the long, often hard days. 

This is another reason crew drills are so important. For a week, 1Ys, who haven't yet worked on their D1 (directing 1) films, will get to taste what D1s, D2s and thesis film shoots are like – the 12 + hour days and quick transitions. This is the 1Ys immersion into the set, and this is also a refresher for 2Ys who haven't been on a set since the end of July. 

We will find out in the next two weeks when Aaron will be shooting his thesis film, and we're both eager and anxious to put that date on our calendar. And that's life in film school right now!

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