Wednesday, December 03, 2008

As Heard On A Shoot

Sent to me by a very senior production company person, who stresses that he loves working with ad agencies, and this is just a bit of fun:

The map is wrong, how do they expect us to get to the location? Look, they mis-spelled my fucking name! What happens if it rains? That’s all they do is drive trucks? I have to have coffee. Don’t they have chairs for us? When you’re lit the client would like to look through the lens. Are we going to see that cross on the film? Can they make her look more French? Can she hold it closer to her face? It looks like something’s on fire. We forgot the product – have you got a runner who can go to the shops? He did it in casting. Can we make the product larger? Why does it look so dark? Can we pause on the bite? Is the video guy asleep? Unfortunately we don’t have the right pack but we can fix that in post can’t we? I liked it better in the animatic. Which one is the eyepiece? What am I looking at? The client is very sensitive about that - I don’t think we should bring it up. Where is my Evian? Nobody told me. When is lunch? He doesn’t care what it costs, he’s not fucking paying for it! Why isn’t she smiling? I hope we’re not having Italian, we had Italian yesterday. Where are they going to put the camera next? It worked fine in the test kitchen. Can you find me a charger? Is this the same guy we cast? That’s not what we discussed in the PPM. Can the Client get his hair cut? Can we cast a model with size three shoes... like me? Can we shoot it both ways? Can’t we get wi-fi up here? Breakfast was beautiful. The drinks are great but tomorrow could you serve the client’s product instead? What is the call time for us? Where’s the best restaurant? How do we get to the hotel? Do you need us anymore?

Do they mean us? I rather fear that they do...

How many have you said?


If This Is A Blog Then What's Christmas said...

I feel really inadequate on shoots because I don't have a Starbucks order (I hate coffee) and the very kind people who offer the chance of a Starbucks won't believe me.

Mr Kipling said...

I find shoots dreadfully boring. Art directors hunched around monitors analysing every blade of grass. The best bit is the food. Plus, after a hearty lunch, one always has tea and cake in the afternoon.

Anonymous said...

frankly I can't stand shoots. Can't stand the way you're made to feel like some irritating in-the-way annoyance by people who think they're special because they get to walk around the set/location with a roll of fucking gaffer tape dangling off their belts. Well, you'd all be at home twiddling your overdrafts if we hadn't written the fucking ad in the first place.

(just like to stress how much I like working with production companies and this is just a bit of fun.)

JF said...

Killing time on a shoot, I spotted a fit runner.
'Who is that?' I asked my producer.
'Oh, she's just a...'
'Have her brought to my winnie.'
'But she's married to the...'
'I SAID have her brought to my winnie. Must I remind you that as copywriter on this shoot I have droit de seigneur over all who toil before me?'
'Yes, sir.'

Happy times! I could tell she didn't enjoy it, and that made it all the more fun!

Anonymous said...

Here's some of the bullshit that I often hear on shoots either from Directors or their producers...

Don’t worry, there’ll will be plenty of time to cover it that way too.
The casting isn’t going to be like casting in ordinary commercials.
The lighting isn’t going to be like lighting in ordinary commercials.
The Director feels he can make him look much older / younger.
We’ve set up a monitor here for agency its better quality than the one on set.
It’ll be so small you won’t even see it.
I don’t want it to be too cutty.
Don’t worry about the picture on the monitor, the colours will be much more vivid.
The director is staying at a hotel nearer the location.
Tomorrow, it would really help if you funnel any comments through the producer.
We can rack in a bit in post if you still think its too wide.
We can make it a bit less orange in post if you’re still worried.
I want you two right up there next to me when I’m shooting.
Do you mind not sitting on that please.
I’m just going to do a really simple grade, it almost won’t have a ‘look’.
It hasn’t been easy finding exactly the type of location you asked for.
It hasn’t been easy casting exactly the type of person you asked for.
The director doesn’t really want to change the styling / angle / makeup / lens
To do it like that requires a whole new set up.
The director wants sushi.
We want to conserve tape.
There is a problem with the signal from the camera to your clam shell.
There’s only one spare set of headphones.
He’s probably the best DOP in Europe.
He’s probably the best editor in London.
We haven’t got permission to shoot there.
The director still prefers his first choice model.
We’ll lose the light the light if we don’t shoot now.
The art director normally only works on feature films.
The director still prefers his track.
Its been great working with you.

(just like to stress how much I dislike working with production companies)

Anonymous said...

Producer comments prior to treatment:
"This is an absolutely fantastic script. I think the choice of Nickleback's 'Rock Star' is inspired."

Anonymous said...

The classic line, when you spot a sore thumb of a shot on shoot is, "don't worry we can sort that out in post, there isn't time to do it now."

You get to post and ask to sort out the 'sore thumb' shot. 'Yeah, later lets finish off the rest of the edit first.'

They attempt to fix 'sore thumb' shot but can't and suddenly it's time for...'We've run out of time/money and no one will notice.'

Ad gets approved and is aired...'Mmm what's that fucking sore thumb doing in your ad?'

Honesty is great, but you'll never find it in advertising.


Anonymous said...

The map is wrong, how do they expect us to get to the location when the signs are in Hungarian and we're in a taxi? Look, they mis-spelled my fucking name which is just lazy and makes me worry what else they'll fuck up. What happens if it rains, no-one else has thought about weather insurance, so i have to bring it up. I have to have coffee as i was up all night working on my other brief. When you’re lit the client would like to look through the lens, it's fair enough, the video feed is shit, he's paying for it and will help explain to him why we're doing it this way. Who knows he might even relax a bit if we do? Are we going to see that cross on the film? (okay that is stupid). Can they make her look more French, the ad is set in Paris and the director was so keen to cast his Brazilian girlfriend? Can she hold it closer to her face, like so we can see the product we're advertising? It looks like something’s on fire and it's not the director. The client never delivered the product – have you got a runner who can go to the shops? He did it in casting, and he's an actor so it's fair to assume he can do it again isn't it? Can we make the product larger, so we can actually see what we're advertising? Why does it look so dark, are we hiding the crappy art direction? Can we pause on the bite, rather than rush through so she doesn't look like she's trying to swallow shit? Is the video guy asleep? He is snoring. What am I looking at, tell me what you want my opinion on and i'll give it to you. The client is very sensitive about that - I don’t think we should bring it up, unless you want to reopen a wound the agency has spent 4 months trying to heal and sit doing nothing while we argue it all out again. Is this the same guy we cast because we told you not to cut his hair and you've cut it. That’s not what we discussed in the PPM, so you're basically screwing us right? Can we shoot it both ways, otherwise you really have screwed us. Can’t we get wi-fi up here, so i can email off the work on my third other brief? The drinks are great but tomorrow could you serve the client’s product instead, it pisses him off to see his competitor's product everywhere and he has just given you a million quid to shoot an ad. What is the call time for us, you know, so we can actually be there? Do you need us anymore, we're wrapped and frankly you've annoyed the hell out of us for the last 15 hours and we'd like to go have a drink and slag you off as the unprofessional, worthless hack you've turned out to be.

(I'd just like to stress that this has never happened to me. I've only had ace directors and thoroughly enjoyed working with them all. Well, there was one...)

Anonymous said...

Haha why is everyone stressing that they love production companies/directors?


Anonymous said...

3.39, er, it's a little joke referring to the sign-off on the original article. anonymity was certainly a good choice in your case friend.

Anonymous said...

All sounds like stuff clients and suits say.

Anonymous said...

scamp, do you really think it's important to italicise a word in order to make your point more effective? it makes you sound a bit like the blogging version of jeremy clarkson... "how many have yooooooooo said?"

Scamp said...

Crikey, okay, I shall reconsider my italicisation policy.

boot1947 said...

Great post, Scamp. Brought it all (unfortunately) flooding back. Perhaps I should just lick it up again.

If This Is A Blog Then What's Christmas said...

Yeah, Scamp. Using italics to convey the precise meaning of your sentence in a medium that doesn't lend itself to doing so is a ridiculous thing to do. And what's with the ellipsis after 'do'? Sorry, but it's really worth bringing up. I mean all you bloody do is provide and maintain a blog for us to read. Why doesn't every last letter of it cater to the grammatical tastes of each and every one of us even in matters of complete subjectivity?

Anonymous said...

what a bunch of cunts.

i really hate it on a shoots when you're made to feeling like a complete asshole just because you're trying to make sure the director doesn't fuck up the script you've spent a year navigating through research, by asking for something completely reasonable, that the failed hack thinks will ruin his 'film'. its not a fucking film, its an ad, to sell stuff, if you want to make films, go make one, asshats.

Anonymous said...

I like saying "faster, more intense" as agency feedback, just to see the director twitch a bit.

john w. said...

My fave is one actually from a photographer "What's dulling spray?'

Anonymous said...

"the director has the cut in his head" is another classic.

m denton esq said...

to 'what a bunch of cunts' @ 5:43're definitely working with the wrong production companies/directors

Anonymous said...

Mr Denton called it right. There's more directors out there than you can shake a stick at. Production companies are ten a penny. You find yourself working with someone who you despise / hate / mistrust then who's fault is that? "Bunch of cunts'? 'Failed hack'? You pays your money (or the client's) and you takes your choice...

Anonymous said...

We complain a lot abot clients interering atr script/concept/research/ stage, yet when we are on shoots we ARE the client. I think it wise to keep my fucking trap shut on shoots and let the director turn me into a genius.

Anonymous said...

I find shoots so boring they make me want to stab my eyes out with the runner's biro. either that or terrifying (the bloody animal's not going to do what it's sposed to / it's not going to stop raining / the director's going to persist with his take on the gag / we are going to get fired over this...etc)
Shoots are what art directors were invented for, aren't they?

Anonymous said...

Mr Denton - I have shot with you, and you were categorically not a cunt.

That's because you haven't forgotten your roots (as a creative), but some do unfortunately.

Anonymous said...


There's a lot to be said for that. But either extreme is probably bad. As extremes are.

Girl said...

Wow. Sounds tough. But gentlemen, please keep in mind your men. Us lady creatives get harassed by 'men' like JF all the time. Swatting fly-like men away is exhausting, esp when you realise they have wives and daughters.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but some of the biggest production companies are the worst offenders. I particularly love it when directors leave half way through the process to work on a new job. Not cool.

Anonymous said...


Easy - don't hire them then. Similarly - to anyone in an agency who bitches about how wealthy directors are. Doesn't take a nuclear physicist to work out which directors are holding the fat wallets. You got a problem with that? Then don't give them your job. In a market which is laughably over-supplied you really can pick and choose. Unless you lack the confidence to work with someone different of course....

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

i like shoots.
they let you feel what it's like to be a client.
we think our clients are stupid, and they think we're over creative and self serving.
directors and production companies think we're stupid and we think they're selfserving and don't listen.

we're middle men in it all and when you realise that, shoots are good fun.

Anonymous said...

previous anon nailed it. a shoot is your big chance to be the cool client. not sure many see it that way though. a lot of insensitive oafs out there in every field.