I was on-set on November 5, 2017 for filming the second season of Jolie East-Miji’s “B-City” Webseries in my usual role as a production assistant (PA) (off-set role: an executive producer). Multiple PAs were present. Once again, the entire team – actors, director, camera operator, director of photographer, sound recordist, 1st assistant director, make-up artist, and PAs – ensured all was properly set up leading up to the filming.
In my previous post documenting my on-set experience, I listed activities the PAs have performed (repeated below). I have added a few more items to the bottom of the list.
- Dressing the set (e.g., positioning props and furniture, darkening the windows, moving extraneous objects out of the way)
- Running errands such as purchasing necessities (ice, trash bags) and picking up lunch (pizza, of course)
- Setting up food
- Cleaning up
- Operating the smoke machine
- Traffic control (ensuring no one would walk onto the set while filming was in progress)
- Spotting other crew members to ensure they would not fall
- Assisting setting up lighting
- Setting down spike marks (a piece of tape on the floor that shows an actor where to stand).
- Cooking and setting the table:
- While I had earlier mentioned “setting up food”, in that context I really meant making food available for the cast and crew to consume throughout the day. However, today, something different: we were preparing food that would play a supporting role in a dinner scene. Therefore, PAs can be cooks! We had to heat up and cook certain items, set the table, bring out the food on serving bowls/serving plates, and place food on the individual plates where the actors would be sitting. This is another example of dressing the set.
Now some notes on sound (or the lack thereof)…
In filmmaking, voice-over is an audio recording that could serve the purpose of narration, or a character speaking. In the finished work, this voice will be “superimposed” over the video action of a shot. This combining of voice and video is achieved in post-production. In the context of this shoot, it is the voice of a character. There were multiple voice-over recordings made today, which will be distributed across different scenes/shots.
MOS refers to a shot in which there is no audio being recorded at the time the video is shot. MOS stands for many things, such as “motor only sync” or “motor only shot”. The term goes back to the early days of filmmaking. In post-production, sound may be added – possibly a voice-over, or background sounds. An entire scene today was MOS. The slate indicated this situation. One of the voice-over recordings (above) will be superimposed in this MOS sequence.
Here are some photos from the shoot day (all photos from the author’s collection).
I love being a PA. I am always ready and willing to do whatever is necessary to make the process go smoothly.
Please provide your thoughts and questions in the comments. I would really enjoy hearing from you. If you have a topic in mind you would like me to cover, please let me know.
Originally published November 8, 2017. Updated October 15, 2020 to adjust category assignments.