After the table read and two off-set rehearsals conducted previously, actual production/filming of “Shock Nation” season 2 commenced today. This was the first time on-set for me on “Shock Nation”.
Shock Nation is a webseries about a girl growing up in the streets of Baltimore City and trying to find her way, as well as escape from living in poverty and being surrounded by a neighborhood of violence and drug addiction. She gets inspired by a dance group called Shock Nation that changes her perspective on life. This series will go through the life struggles of today’s young adults living in poverty, but through their friendship and strong bond, they realize that together they can achieve anything, thrive to keep chasing after their dreams, and survive any obstacle because their love for dance helps to save their life in ways they could never imagine. – From TruTalent Creative Works website
Watch all eight episodes of Season 1 here.
Sound Recording via the Boom Microphone
I was given a lesson on recording sound via the boom microphone. This provides another audio source, besides the sound recording from the camera itself. The microphone is connected to a digital recorder, and there are headphones so the operator can check the sound quality. However, I was not the boom operator today, but may have the opportunity to do it in the future.
Keeping Track of Scenes
A different procedure was used to keep track of scenes filmed for “Shock Nation” as opposed to other projects I have worked: The slate was not used to mark each take. Instead, the recording number was used. Upon request from the director of photography (DP), the boom operator spoke the recording number (from the display of the recorder connected to the boom; e.g., 001). The DP would repeat that information just prior to “Action”. This would be captured on the audio from both the boom and the camera, so it provides a degree of synchronization. The recording number advanced by one each time a take was done.
I was a Script Supervisor
My primary role today was script supervisor. Another first for me, although I did work with a script supervisor in the past. I performed a subset of a script supervisor’s formal responsibilities ( Script Supervising 101 | Moviemaker ).
I took notes for the director and director of photography.
- During post-production, add water sounds for when water is supposed to be flowing in a sink, since the water was not actually running during the shoot; and add TV sounds in scenes where the TV is supposed to be on.
- Revisit certain scenes in future shooting sessions. For example, to do establishing shots; or shoot something from another angle.
An establishing shot … sets up, or establishes the context for a scene by showing the relationship between its important figures and objects – Wikipedia
- Inform the cast: Wear bright colors, excluding white. Also, no name brands showing. The first part is to ensure people do not blend into the background. The second is to avoid having to obtain permission from companies.
The most interesting thing I did was regarding dialog lines in the script. During rehearsal, I was silently reading the script as the actors recited their lines. I would inform if any dialog was skipped. In addition, I would “feed” an actor their lines upon request – the director or the actor would say “Line!”.
The scenario was a bit different while filming was in progress. I would still be following along reading the script, but making a mental note if a line was missed or incorrect. After “Cut”, I would tell the director what I had noticed. But the actor or director could request “Line!” Only in that case would I speak up even as filming might continue.
I was a Stand-In
I also did some stand-in work. I read lines of a character at the other end of a phone conversation. I was speaking off camera as “this” end of the conversation was filmed. Later, my dialog will be removed and shots of the other end of the conversation with the dialog will be spliced in.
I was a stand-in for a cell phone! I was off camera reading both ends of a text message – that will actually be portrayed on the screen as text in the finished episode. This was done to capture the character’s reaction “reading” the text messages.
Here are a bunch of photos from the session. All photos are from the author’s collection, unless otherwise stated.
This was so much fun. I enjoy doing different crew roles on-set. I will continue to document the “Shock Nation” experience.
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 February 16, 2018. Updated October 15, 2020 to adjust category assignments.