I had coffee with a directing colleague today who had just finished directing his first feature film. He, like I, shot his first film in sequence because the nature of the script and the production plan allowed him (and me) to. He, like I, thought it would be good for the actor’s performance.
I asked him how the editing was coming and he said he was having challenges with getting the beginning of the film working while the middle and later scenes cut together easily.
Of course, I had the same issue on my first film.
THE REASON? As a new director, when you shoot in sequence (which seems like a good idea) you shoot the beginning of the film first – when you are still finding your stride as a director. Then, round about day three, you find your directing voice and hit your stride.
But you’ve already shot the all important beginning of your film, when you need to grab your audience.
THE SOLUTION? Even if you want to shoot mostly in sequence, and it makes sense for the production plan, on the first two days shoot scenes from later in the script that can better survive you directorial getting up to speed.
This way, you shoot your opening at a point when you are confident in your directing and then scenes that you shot on your first day, that may not be dictatorially as strong, are hidden after the audience is already fully engaged.
I look forward to your comments!