Preparation is the key to everything when it comes to producing theatre, from writing, to funding to rehearsals to touring. ‘Prepare not plan’ is a personal mantra of mine i.e. have lots of ideas and information to hand and then see what is needed when the times comes. Work in the moment, as there are always others around you with equally good (and often better) thoughts and ideas and that, when melded with your own, will create something utterly unique; a genuine team effort. This is very apparent when making a trailer for a theatre piece.
The ‘business’ we had prepared, was minimalised and made specific; general ‘largeness’ on a stage is hard to replicate on a small screen.
The story we wanted to get across using small sections of the scenes was able to be covered through small and accurate images.
Long sections do not work, in fact much over six short lines unbalanced the trailer. Keep it brief. Pithy.
How you tell a story on stage is very different from on camera. Prepare the sequences or images that give the essence of your piece when seen in a theatre setting, then allow the film director to adapt them for the small screen. With their skills they can get the same sentiment across but in a filmic form.
Don’t be proud, this is about getting the piece ‘out there’, allow others to help realise that in a different medium.
One of the most stressful things about filming schedules can be having a lot to do, and not a lot of time to do it in. And so often those things that you think will take ‘just a few minutes’ can take the longest.
Having experienced this on several sets, the below really helped on our own filming day - we even finished early!
Prioritise your ‘must haves’ - if there are some really important elements, or tricky shots, get them in first; it goes a long way to keeping things relaxed if the only things left at the end of the day are not vital.
(Allot a rough timeframe to each shot and) Have someone watching the clock - its really easy to get lost in the world through the lens, and even if you need to give a few more minutes to get the perfect take, someone vocalising the timekeeping really helps to keep things on track.