I've been more or less absent here lately and I need to rectify that. Anyway, here's a little status report on the job I started Monday.
As I mentioned, out of the first 8 half-hour episodes of this show, there are 24 locations in repeat episodes and another 59 that show up in just one episode. There are more than a few locations (Example: Interior Javier's's House) that only show up for 1/2 page of a script or so. Let me put that in perspective:
-Feature film scripts average 115 to 130 pages.
-1/2 hour show scripts average 28 to 31 pages.
-Feature films need to shoot 1.5 - 5 pages per shooting day. (The more money you've got, the more time you can spend on each scene.)
-Most one-hour TV dramas shoot 5 to 8 pages per day.
We'll be shooting 9 to 12 pages per day.
What that means, among other things, is that it would really kill us to have to move the company to a new location on any particular shooting day. Do we need to find two, or three, or maybe even five locations in one spot? Locations that need to look entirely different from each other? Yup! (If we don't, you get the audience sitting there scratching their heads wondering why Alan has never met Ruby before, even though it looks like he lives in her basement.)
So, the options I need to offer, in order of preference are:
-Roll the equipment across the hall to find a completely different look.
-Roll the equipment down the hall to find a completely different look.
-Haul the equipment up one flight of stairs to find a completely different look.
-Move the equipment to the house next door to find a completely different look.
-Haul all of the equipment out to the street. Load it all back into the trucks. Drive the trucks across town. Unload all of the equipment and haul it into a completely different location to find a completely different look. Give up the idea of getting more than one page of dialog shot on that day. Cease production while the studio fires everyone and finds people who know how to do their jobs.
You may be seeing why I don't consider the last option to be optimal.
So, back to the status report. Yesterday, the producer, director and I went to a house in Rockland County (about 20 minutes north of Manhattan) and looked at a place that has been redone from top to bottom to accommodate filming. It's a sprawling old farmhouse (doesn't really look like that anymore though), with a buttload of different rooms. There's a big parking lot on the property (yay - truck parking). All of the doors are 3' wide or wider so you can get gear in and out of the place easily. Most rooms have two or more doors, so the crew is never trapped at the end of a cul-de-sac. Small rooms, like bathrooms actually have "wild walls" (they slide out of your way on rails) so you can back off the camera and actually have room to get a shot. Their electrical service has been beefed up to the point where you could launch the space shuttle with their available amperage. And the multiple breaker boxes all have built-in connectors designed to connect directly to the type of electrical cables that are standard in the industry. Oh, and because of the laws in the town where this house is located, If I can get all of our vehicles onto the property, I won't even need to file a permit!
We'll cram about eight locations into this property -- both interiors and exteriors. We'll move in and get about 2.5 days of shooting done there. And -- cherry on the sundae -- there's a cemetery about a 1/4 mile down the road where we can shoot two cemetery scenes and fill out the last half-day.
I need to revise my locations list. Instead of "TBD" and blank spaces where the actual shooting location gets filled in, I have an address for a ton of stuff!
P.S. Getting this done calls for a really flexible director. A typical conversation from yesterday:
Me: We need a Queens living room for the scenes with Darlene and her husband.
Director: Well, we're already using the living room here for Chuck's house in the suburbs. Hold on, let me think.
Me: :: waits patiently::
Director: Fuck it! The kitchen looks like Queens. Lots of people hang out in their kitchens. Hell, that shot with the spreading pool of blood will look even better on these tile floors.
Me: Works for me!