What it’s Really Like to Work a Film Shoot
By Max Peskin, Junior Newhouse NYC student and TRF major
As the semester comes to an end, I have started to reflect on just how much this New York City experience has taught me about myself. Through the ups and downs of a chaotic semester in one of the world’s busiest cities, I learned that hard work really does pay off. [Editor’s Note: Check out Max’s first production credit above and read below for how he got it!]
I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to work a film shoot for a Touch Football League tournament called the Street Bowl sponsored by Def Jam Records which includes the best eight teams in the city, to compete for a $16,000 winner-take-all cash prize. I worked for the director, Isaac Solotaroff, as a Production Assistant for the weekend long tournament, and I was exposed to my first taste of the excitement and stress of a real-time shoot.
The best part of filming the NYC Street Bowl was being part of it. It was an indescribable feeling to know I made an impact with the hard work and long hours I put in each day. I also learned important tips for manipulating cameras such as the Story Cam and the Dragon 30-300, and I was able to experiment with them in natural light.
My main job for the weekend was spotting for the parabolic (type of object to capture audio) man. Since it was a live football tournament, safety was extremely important. As a spotter, it was my job to follow the parabolic man around the field and make sure he did not get run over.
With being a Production Assistant on set, another key aspect of your job is setting up the production station, including setting up all the tents, camera equipment, tables, food, and chairs. Thankfully, there were five other Production Assistants at the shoot, so we all worked toegther to get the job done efficiently and quickly!
Being able to work with the the crew was really enjoyable. It was nice to know you had people to go to with questions or if you needed help. Communication is a key element to how the crew functions overall because we all need to be on the same page in order to ensure that capturing the necessary footage will go smoothly. Without a good base of communication, the entire weekend would not have gone as well as it did.
One great example of how communication saved our shoot was because of the guys controlling the drones in the air. With two games being played at once on the first day, we agreed to only capture footage from one field. When the game on that one field had ended, the game on the other field was in the final seconds of an intense one score game. With a Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game, the receiver caught it and the game ended with the touchdown catch. Since our crew had talked about only shooting the one field, there hadn’t been anybody that was shooting the Hail Mary catch: a crucial aspect to the tournament since that team ended up going to the Championship. Fortunately, the team controlling the drones were able to get a birds-eye-view of the catch, which was extremely important to the story aspect of the tournament.
This experience was something I will carry with me for many years to come. It opened my eyes to the various opportunities the filming industry holds in the future. I owe a big thank you to Isaac for bringing me on board and allowing me to be part of such an amazing event. The most exciting part is it is just the beginning. There is so much more to come, and I’m more than ready for the challenges in the future.