Let’s talk about coverage shall we? Coverage is the different angles you employ to ‘cover’ a scene; the different cuts, the close-ups, the wides etc. So, we started the day with a scene that is 4 and 2/8 pages long which means it will be in the movie for about 4 minutes. (Quick movie rule of thumb: one page equals one minute). And this is all one scene so you want everything to look like it’s being shot at the same time right?
Well try this. You arrive in the morning and it’s pouring with rain and it’s dark and you know that you have (after lunchbreak has been subtracted) about 7 hours of usable light. As it gets brighter the rain lessens off and it looks kind of grey so you figure you can make that work. About 11am it starts raining again, hard. So now you have two looks and the actors are wet as well as cold. Before we reach lunch the sun comes out so Marc (our DP) is trying to match the close-ups to the rainy, grey stuff we had earlier. Then it starts hailing! And of course the sun comes out for a final burst before it races away at 4pm.
Mickey and Jerry just before lunch when the sun came out!
I watched a movie last night, which wasn’t very good, but the sun was out constantly and everything matched. Why not us? Everyone is working so hard and this is the stuff which just gets in your way and messes with your day. I’m trying to make sure I’m sending great performances to my editor and there we all are under a snap-up sheltering from the hailstones! Here’s the good news: it happens to everyone – even the greats. There’s a moment in North By North West when they get to Mount Rushmore and you can see that the sun went down between two of the shots and, you know what, it’s still a great movie…perhaps no-one will notice.
Act Three is complete.