The C-Word explores the deep topics of millennial dating, Christianity, and celibacy/abstinence in a world where sex is plastered everywhere. The web series shows dating and celibacy from the perspective of a 25-year-old man named Nyle McClain. Nyle’s transformation from playboy to celibate isn’t an easy one and when his past follows him to his future, he’ll have to make some tough decisions. – from The C-Word Web Series Facebook page
Watch season 1 at Redefine Woman (click on “Web Series”)
Observations / Comparisons with Other Projects
My primary on-set role was as the slate operator.
Some projects I have worked on did not use a slate, but “The C-Word” does. For those projects that have used slates, the way the fields are used varies. Here is how the slate is used on this project.
Not all slates are the same. On this one, there are fields for Roll/Scene/Shot/Take. [see photo]
Scene field: Designated as Episode x, Page y, as written in the script. (If the scene spans multiple pages, the initial page number is designated).
Shot field: Designated as <scene number><1st qualifier><2nd qualifier>. The first <scene number> shot on a given day is 1, and counts up from there. The <1st qualifier> is the camera position within the scene, starting with A, then B, etc. There will be a <2nd qualifier> only if the shot picks up from a different time point within the scene as compared to the initial time point, starting with B then C, etc. Note that if a shot goes back to a previous time point pickup, the old designation resumes from where it left off.
Example: 2nd scene of the day, 1st camera position, initial time point pickup (e.g., start of scene): Shot=2A.
Example: 2nd scene of the day, 3rd camera position, initial time point pickup: Shot=2C.
Example: 2nd scene of the day, 3rd camera position, 2nd time point pickup point: Shot=2CB
Take field: Every time the camera rolls for a given Shot field value, the take number advances: starting with 1, then 2, etc. Sometimes a take is called an “insert” or “B-roll” if it is separate from the main action.
A change of camera lens for another take for the same camera position does not impact the Scene and Shot fields. The take count advances normally.
For a take without sound (MOS), I did not read aloud what is on the slate nor struck the clapsticks, but instead I positioned the slate with my fingers between the clapsticks.
If the slate was positioned very close to an actor, a “soft slate” or “soft strike” was performed, where the striking action is quiet. I announced “soft strike” or equivalent just prior to the striking.
The director confirms sound is up and the camera is running. The director says Slate! That’s my cue.
There is a phone conversation between person #1 and person #2. Person #1’s side of the conversation is being filmed. On this project, Person #2 – off camera and far enough away so that he/she cannot be heard – literally phones Person #1 as he/she is being filmed and Person #1 recites his/her own lines. This is different than what I have observed on another project: where Person #2 is off camera but standing adjacent to Person #1 who is being filmed. In both scenarios, Persons #1 and #2 are both reciting lines. Both scenarios are done to establish the correct timing for Person #1. In either method, the roles will have to be flipped to capture the #2 side of the conversation, and edited together later on.
If it appears a take is about to commence, the wardrobe stylist announces themselves if it is necessary to approach an actor to do some adjustment. Executing the take is delayed until the wardrobe stylist is done.
Some of the scenes were filmed at placed of business. These locations will be credited.
Behind the Scenes Photography – The C-Word
All photos in this post are from the author’s collection unless otherwise indicated.
I have worked on the crew of many projects and I have learned that there are different ways to accomplish the same objective. No particular methodology is wrong, as long as it gets the job done.
I will continue to document the “The C-Word” 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 October 5, 2018. Updated October 6, 2018 to remove extraneous text.