Lesson 5 - The Shoot

The Shoot is the Most Intense Time of any Production. It is also the shortest season of filmmaking On a Short Film, shoots are generally 3-4 days long. On a Feature Film 15 Days – 30 Days. 

The best way to learn how to shoot a Film on Set is to join one of our physical in person 4 Month Filmmaking Courses in Melbourne.  

Directors duties during the shoot

  • A Director should turn up 30 minutes early with a prepared plan. Before everyone arrives they can check out the actor blocking and their shot list and check the prepared script one more time. They need to intimately know their script.
  • When the shoot starts, The Director blocks the Actors on Set. That means that the Director moves the actors on the set. Every movement and action is directed by the Director.
  • The Director directs the shots for the scene. Generally the Director has a Shot List which he or she will review with the DOP and First AD.  
    Some directors will have a storyboard and this is literally placed on a board so that all crew can see what the plan is for the day. Even if this is the case, the Director still needs to demonstrate the first shot on set. The director informs the DOP, The AD and the Sound Recordist about the first Master Shot.
  • The Director will work shot by shot through the Shot List one at a time if it is a single camera shoot or two shots at a time if it is a two-camera shoot.
  • After the block through and the shot demonstration the Actors go to Wardrobe and Make up
  • The DOP will then light the set and set up the first shot.
  • The Director will answer a myriad of Questions from different crew and cast.

Video Village is off the main set and is simply an area that a Director can watch the scene on a monitor and see the picture as it is shot. A Director will also have wireless headphones on. That means the Director will listen to the actual recorded dialogue live.

Then once the set is ready for the cameras roll, the second AD will bring the actors to the set and Final Rehearsals will proceed

In the Final Rehearsals, everyone will rehearse

  • Camera Operator and Focus Puller and Grips will rehears movement of the Camera
  • Actors will warm up and will receive Direction from the Director.
  • Boom Swinger will rehearse Boom Movement
  • Standby Wardrobe will check on Wardrobe
  • Standby Makeup will check Final Makeup look
  • Most importantly of all, the Director and Continuity will watch everything on Video monitors at Video Village
  • The Director will make changes and adjustments to every aspect of the picture including performance, Picture framing, Camera movements and Set Dressing and props.
  • The Director will look at all of these aspects and Direct changes so as to reach the very best scene

Once all of the Key crew and actors are ready, The Director will tell the AD that he is ready to shoot the first Take.

Then The Cameras Roll and the Film is shot.

  • One always starts with the wide shots first and several takes will be taken of each shot.
  • Once a Director has two really good takes, The Director will move on to the next shot. It may take several takes to get the two golden takes. It does not take long at this point.
  • The Five Essential Shots to Cover any Scene is part of the Flagship Four Month Film Course where you learn how to  Shot List.
  • All the Closer shots happen next.
  • The Director will watch the monitor like a hawk in Video Village and will tweak and give actors feedback to get a better performance. Amateur Directors watch live on set. Professional Directors watch on the monitor.
  • The Director sets the atmosphere on Set. Be strong and clear about what you want. Stay Calm and have some fun moments to lighten up the atmosphere.
  • The Director must aim at getting the best possible performance from the actors. Watch your monitor and Direct.  We will teach directing actors on set on the flagship course.
  • Hot Tip
    Always do an improvisation take as your final take on each shot. These are fun takes where actors relax and magic often happens. Actors will loosen up and sometimes give you their most truthful performance.

Here is a quote from Michael Caine.

“If you catch somebody “acting” in a movie, that actor is doing it wrong. The moment the actor is caught “performing” for the camera, the actor has blown his or her cover. He is no longer a private character in a private world “

This is extremely important in the Close up. They eyes are the window to the soul and screen acting requires a state of being. The Actor needs to be the character, rather than performing the character.

An actor’s preparation is paramount to this state of being. The more work on the essence of the story and the given circumstances the better for the actor. The director’s job is to be the guardian of the story. Guide the actors to the emotional truth and this will benefit the story.


We find that the shoot is one of the favourite times for our film course participants. The shoot is a very intense period of time where you work long concentrated hours on the film. There can be dramas but more than anything it is fun.  

I have to be honest and tell you that the only way to learn how to shoot films is to be on Set. How do you do this? 

 Enrol on a great film course like ours or alternatively know some great people in the film industry who will take you on their sets and mentor you. Which ever way works for you, is the way to go. 

Once you get to the fourth month of the film course, we will then show you how to network with working directors and get attachments on their sets. 

On Set is like a heatwave.  It feels hot at the time and it feels like it will never end. Then one day the wrap party happens and the shoot is over. Then you miss it. Still the most important duty for the Director is to give the production the best material and shots for Post Production

A Director, during the shoot, is gathering the building blocks for Post Production.

The next Flagship Course starts soon. If you want to make your own film and get it seen around the world and save thousands of dollars,  find out more here.    Four  Month  Flagship Courses.

Producer during the Shoot

  • Take care of any problems that may happen on the shoot. They make life as easy as possible for the Director.
  • They sort out any disputes and they keep an eye on how the shoot is progressing.
  • They watch dailies, what was shot each day.
  • They keep an eye on budget and schedule.
  • They keep an overall eye on how the production is proceeding 
  • They are responsible for the budget and how the film staying on budget.

    Schedule an early Start for the Shoot.

    Day shoots.   Start as early as 6am or 7am 

    Quit at 6pm for the Day shoot

    Night Shoots:
    Dinner at 5pm and the shoot starts at 6pm. Wrap is at 4am

Video - Set Blocking - Must Watch

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