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.
In a previous post I discussed my role as the script supervisor on “Shock Nation”. I am responsible for ensuring an actor does not omit dialog and feeding lines to an actor upon request; noting additions, removals, and changes to dialog; noting elimination of action or addition of action within a scene; and tracking continuity from scene to scene.
In the present post, let’s talk about the still photography. I have been informally doing this on multiple projects, predominantly to augment documentation of my on-set experience on this blog and on social media. But on “Shock Nation”, I have been designated as the official behind-the scenes (BTS) photographer. Other terminology used include the still photographer and the unit still photographer. These fall under the broader category of film stills.
Photographs can be candid or planned. Candid photos capture the action of actors and crew during rehearsals and during filming (like a “fly on the wall” – I do not interfere with what is transpiring). Otherwise, posed photographs are taken to support the continuity effort. In effect, this intersects with my script supervisor role. The goal is to photograph actors at certain critical points to capture their appearance and clothing, for replication in other scenes. In addition, photographing a set can be used to ensure its look is replicated in a different scene. Here is a cool article from Fstoppers: The Reality of Working as a Behind-the-Scenes Photographer.
Here are a bunch of photos from the session. All photos are from the author’s collection. Of course, in the room with the mirror, the director of photography ensured no one could be seen in the mirror when filming was being done.
These final photos are a sampling of those taken for continuity purposes.
I am glad I am gaining more experience on-set and taking on more responsibility. 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 March 9, 2018. Updated October 15, 2020 to adjust category assignments.