Production Guidelines

You are only ready to move into production mode and shoot your film ONLY ONCE YOU HAVE COMPLETED YOUR PRE-PRODUCTION STEPS. 

So ask yourself:
“Have we completed ALL of our pre-production steps?!” If your answer is “no” go back and complete them all. Trust me. It will make your life so much easier. Check out all the resources on this blog for pre-production, or here’s yet another handy guide to pre-production. 

If your answer is “Yes,” ask yourself “Are you SURE?!” If your answer is “Yes,” ask yourself “Are you really really really pinky-swear sure?!” and if your answer is an emphatic honest cross-you-heart “Yes! I promise, pinky-swear!” Then you’re ready to move on to your production.

So, you’ve arrived at your designated shooting location (✔).
You’ve got your crew and your actors (✔).
You’ve read through the script with your actors and they’re ready to roll (✔).
Your crew knows what they’re doing (✔)
…they’ve read your call sheets (which you brought) (✔)
your shooting script (which you’ve brought) (✔)
and shot list (which you’ve brought) (✔)
…they know what’s going on (✔),
they know what you’re going to shoot today and in what order (✔)
…of course they do, you’ve given them clear instructions! (✔)
All your release forms are signed and ready to go (✔).
The shot logs are ready to be filled in as you go (✔).
You’ve got your costumes (✔),
props (✔),
and whatever hair and makeup requirements you need (✔).
Your camera/s are there (✔),
fully charged (✔),
with back-up memory chips (and extra film or video tape if you’re using a non-digital camera) (✔).
You’ve got all your necessary cables and wires for the camera/s (✔).
You’ve got back up batteries, or at least the charging cable and an extension cable should the battery die on you (✔).
You’ve got your slate ready (✔).
You and your camera person/DP set up the camera for your first shot (✔).
Your continuity person makes a note of it to make sure you follow the 180° rule (✔)
If you’re working with Lighting and Microphones or other equipment it is all there, set, working, and ready to go (✔)

So you’re ready to shoot. Now what?

Director, make sure everyone is in the right place and ready for the shot. Make sure the camera is set up correctly. Get the actors in their places. Tell them once again what you’re about to shoot to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Tell them how they’re supposed to move where they’re supposed to look, etc In other words, Direct your actors. In the mean time, your Director of Photography (DP) is making sure that the shot is framed correctly according to the shot list and story board, and that the shot is in focus. Are your lights and sound equipment set properly? Did everyone turn their cell phones to silent? Once it’s all set, tell your Assistant Director (AD) that you’re ready to go! Assistant Director and/or a PA will keep the shot log going, keeping track of all the shots and if they were perfect of if something is wrong, what is wrong with it.

Assistant Director (AD): Picture’s up!
(This let’s everyone know it’s time to get serious, we’re about to shoot.)
Production Assistants (PA’s): (all repeat) Picture’s up!
(PA’s are located all around the set, when they hear the AD call Picture’s up, they repeat it so everyone around the set knows shooting is about to begin. In productions that use walkies/radios, the announcement is made to everyone.
Director: Quiet please! (or) Quiet on set! (or) Silence on set! (or) Quiet!
(Each director has their own phrase they like to use.)
Director: (once everyone is silent) Stand by!
(Standby indicates that everyone should get ready for what’s about to happen. If you’re a camera operator, get ready to press “record”, etc.
Director: Roll Sound! Roll Camera! (or) Rolling!
(This tells camera and sound operators to start recording)
PAs: Rolling!
(again, repeating across the set, so everyone knows, we are literally about to begin.)
Camera Operator (usually 1st Assistant Camera, or DP): Speed (or) Camera Speed/s
(This lets everyone know that the camera is recording. )
Sound Operator: Speed (or) Sound Speed/s
(This let’s everyone know that the sound equipment is picking up sound and is recording.)
Director: (To AD): Ready slate (Slate is also called Clapper, Clapboard, clapper board, sticks, marker, etc. These words are used interchangeably.
AD: Marker! (Or any of the other words for clapboard).
2nd AD, PA or Actor: (stands in front of camera holding up slate so it’s clearly visible, reads off the scene and take, then claps the clapper. See section: How to Slate.
Director: ACTION!

Actors will act, the scene will unfold. Once the action is complete,

Director: CUT!
Everyone stops filming/recording. The director decides if the take was good talking to the AD, DP and Actors. If there is anything wrong, of if they want a second option, this whole process will repeat for the same shot, if not, they can move on to the next shot.


  1. Be nice to each other: film-making can be stressful, but try to remember that it’s also fun. Be nice to each other.
  2. Be serious: Film making is a lot of fun, but for things to get done, you have to take your roles seriously. It’s ok to laugh and enjoy it, but follow directions, and always be sure to do your role correctly. This makes sure that things go smoothly and get done in a timely fashion.
  3. Be respectful of equipment, locations, costumes, etc…everything involved in a film is important and deserves to be treated with respect. Don’t smash things, break things, damage property, etc…these are all tools that are helping you make your art, and therefore need to be properly cared for.
  4. CONTINUITY! Make sure you are keeping track of things and that it’s all according to continuity.
  5. Don’t delete shots. You never know when they’ll come in handy. It’s better to have too many shots than too little.
  6. Be careful of your lighting and sound recordings…make sure it’s all clear to see and hear. Even if it’s supposed to be quiet, sound can be made more quiet in editing, but its really hard to make sound clearer/louder without distorting it. Same with lighting…if it’s supposed to be dark, great, but we still need to be able to see what’s happening. Since we don’t have proper lighting equipment, we’ll have to be creative with what we do have.

How to Slate:
Slates are important and cool. Make sure all the sections are filled out properly. For numbering scene/shots:

Write the number clearly, then each shot within a scene, so let’s say a scene is made of 5 shots…each shot will be labeled with a letter A-Z, skipping I and O, because we don’t want to confuse ourselves and mistaken them for 1’s and 0’s.

When you read your marker, read Scene/shot (Read as number, then a word that begins with the letter), and take, then clap the marker clearly but gently. So for example….Gone With The Wind, Scene 1-A, take 3 would be read as “Scene 1-Apple, take 3” If the shot is a close-up, the AD will call for “soft sticks” so you’re not slamming them loudly in front of the actor’s face. If the scene has no sound, it’s called “MOS” you just hold the slate, with your hand under the clapper to indicate to the editor that there is no sound track.  If for whatever reason the slate wasn’t recorded properly at the beginning of the take, we slate again at the end with the slate held upside-down, this is called “tail slate” so the editor knows that it was from the previous take, not the next one.




Who’s Who in your Film-Making Crew!

It takes a village to make a movie. Films are complicated artworks. A big-budget Hollywood film will require hundreds, if not thousands of people to make the film.

This is a run-down of some of the major roles in film making. You will each be taking on some of these roles in our class. Some are only found in big Hollywood productions.

Producer: The big boss. The producer sets the conditions for film-making…this means that they initiate the project. They get funding, coordinate things, hire key people like the director, they select the script and ok it for production. They are involved throughout all the phases of the film-making process from pre-production to post, to make sure the film is getting made on time and and made on budget (and in-line with the vision of the movie studio). They are also responsible for coordinating distribution and marketing/merchandising.

Executive Producer: a producer who is not involved in the technical aspects of film-making, but plays more of a financial or creative role in ensuring the project goes into production.

Line Producer: Is the go-between for the producer and the production manager. He or she is responsible for managing the production budget.

Production Manager: Supervises the physical aspects of the production (not the creative aspects)…so they’re responsible for keeping track of personnel (actors and crew), technology, equipment, budget, and scheduling. They’re the ones that keep the production organized, and along with what the producer wants. They also manage the day-to-day budgeting, salaries, production costs, equipment rental costs. In big productions, production managers will have an assistant known as the Assistant Production Manager to help with all the tasks, because the bigger the production the more stuff to manage and coordinate. There is often also a Production Coordinator who is responsible for coordinating and organizing the logistics of everything…this is really important. For example, they’ll be the ones to coordinate transportation to get the crew and cast to the location…etc.

Director: If the producer is the big boss of the entire production, the director is the big boss of the film. He or she calls the shots (literally). The director controls the creative aspects of the film, the content and flow of the film’s plot, directs the performances of the actors, organizes and selections locations, manages technical details, like where cameras will be placed, coordinates with the cinematographer how the film will be shot, how the film’s lighting will be set up, what the soundtrack will be like….but with great power, comes great responsibility. The Director is the problem solver, the mentor and advisor to all of the crew. They are responsible for everyone and everything and that everyone is doing their very best and working together well. They are the leader, they answer to the producer and are responsible for the film getting done. Famous or established directors are sometimes also the producer. Think Wes Anderson or Woody Allen…these are people who are respected in the field and given a lot more control over their projects.

First Assistant Director: is known as 1st AD in big productions, in smaller productions, there might only be 1 AD. They are the director’s right hand…they keep everything organized and on schedule, they keep track of everything that has been shot, is being shot, what is needed at any given time. “This scene also needs a shot from above!” “Bob had the cup in his right hand before!” They are detail oriented and help to oversee the day-to-day film-making, scheduling, equipment, script and set. They also sometimes direct background action for major shots, at the director’s say-so.

Second Unit Director: Is the director of the second unit…this is often an editor in the case of scenes with a lot of special effects or CGI (so he or she will coordinate with the actors of how to act with the special effects…”the giant dragon will be here *points* so, drop to the floor there *points*) or the stunts coordinator (Ok, so stunt double, you’re going to jump through this glass window) . They oversee the unit specific to them.

Music Director: The director of the music. Is either the composer, or the person who coordinates with composers, musicians, etc to put together the score for a film.

Writer: the person who writes the film script. Either an original script or one adapted from another work, in which case the writer of the original work will also be credited. Example: in Harry Potter films, J.K. Rowling will get a writer credit (and a producer’s credit because she’s so famous and so involved in the film) as do the screenplay writers who adapt the book into a screenplay.

Production Accountant: manages the money and makes sure the production comes in on budget and everyone gets paid.

Locations Manager: Oversees the location’s department and staff, getting permissions of use of locations and coordinating things like where will the crew set up, etc. Location Scouts do the actual research to find locations to shoot in, and document the locations to report back to the director and locations manager.

Script Supervisor: is the continuity person. He or she keeps a close eye on the script keeping track of what has been filmed, if and how they’ve deviated from the script, and keep track of continuity, where is everyone located, what movements are they using? What props and costumes to make sure that the film is continuous/consistent. This is really important.

Casting Director: Is responsible for working with the director to choose actors for the characters of the film. They are super involved in the audition process.

Story Board Artists: work with the director and Director of Photography to create a story board of each of the shots in the film.

Director of Photography (DP): is sometimes also known as Cinematographer, especially when the DP is the one to operate the cameras as well. The DP is the chief director of the camera and lighting of the film. He or she works with the director to make decisions on lighting and framing. Usually, the director tells the DP how the show should look, and the DP chooses the correct lens, filter, lighting and composition to achieve the desired aesthetic effect. DP is the senior creative crew member after the director.

Camera Operator/s: Uses the camera/s at the direction of the cinematographer. First Assistant Camera is responsible for keeping the camera in focus as well as setting up the camera at the beginning of the day and taking taking at apart at the end. Second Assistant Camera is in charge of the clapperboard (clap board, clapper, sticks, slate, marker, etc.) and keeping the cameras stocked with film or whatever they need to shoot the footage. They also oversee the camera equipment and its transportation from one location to another. Camera PAs help the crew while learning the trade of camera assistant, operator and/or cinematographer.

Gaffer: is the head of the lighting department, he or she is responsible for the design of the lighting plan for a production. Sometimes they are called the chief lighting technician. The Best Boy is the chief assistant to the gaffer. They are not usually on set, but deal with the electric truck rentals, manpower and other logistics. Light Technicians or electrics are involved in setting up and controlling lighting equipment and temporary power distribution on set (so if you’re filming at the beach, they’re responsible for setting up generators.) Grips are trained lighting and rigging technicians. They work closely with the electrical department to set up flags, over-heads and bounces…key grip is the head grip on set. Best boy (grip) is the 2nd grip, responsible for the grip truck dolly grip is responsible for the dolly and camera cranes.

Production Assistant: PA’s assist in the production. Their tasks are varied. Sometimes they’ll fetch coffee for the director, other times they’ll be on the sidewalk holding a stop-sign trying to keep people from walking into the shot.

Production Sound Mixer: is the head of the sound department on location and responsible for the operation of the audio mixer and recorders which receive feeds from the microphones on set. They decide how to best record sound for each shot, which microphones to use, how to mix all the audio, and maintain sound logs for post-production. Boom Operators is responsible for using microphones on the end of boom poles. Second assistant sound  is an assistant in the sound department who handles wires and wiring (makes sure no one trips) laying carpeting and other sound dampening materials.

Art Department is made up of a Production Designer who is responsible for coordinating and creating the visual appearance of the film…like the settings, costumes character makeup, etc. They work closely with the director and DP to achieve a look to the film. The Art Director reports to the production designer and directly oversees the artists and craftspeople such as set designers, graphic artists, etc.

Set Designers are draftsmen, often architects who, design the sets that have to be built. Illustrators are concept artists who create visual representations of what the production designer wants to create. Set Decorators are in charge of decorating a film set, which means getting the furniture, artwork, etc. that you see in a scene in a film. The Set Dressed is the one that actual sets up the set. If a set has plants and trees, they might use a greensman to set up plants. Construction coordinators manage the construction of sets, including the carpenters and propmakers. Key scenic artists are responsible for surface treatments on set, so for example if there is a wood floor that is meant to look old and weathered, the scenic artist is responsible for making it look that way. Propmasters are in charge of finding and managing all the props that appear in the film. This includes anything the actor holds that is not part of scenery or costume, and all edible food the actors consume in the scene. They are responsible to make sure all the props are time-accurate, and consistency for all the props. They have several assistants that help them. Weapons master or armorer is a prop technician who deals with any weapons in a movie.

Costume Designer is responsible for all the clothing worn by actors in the screen. They are responsible for designing, planning and organizing construction, or acquiring of the garments to the fabric color and size. The designers also work closely with the director the understand and interpret the characters. The Costume or Wardrobe Supervisor works closely with the designer, and manages the people that construct the costumes (seamstresses and tailors), buyers for pre-made costume items or fabrics, breakdown artists that make the costumes look old, dirty or worn if necessary, costume standbys who make sure the quality and continuity of the costumes and consistent before, during and between takes, and key costumer who manages the set costumes and handle star’s wardrobe needs. Hair and make-up artists answer director to the director and production designer, they are responsible for planning makeup designs for all leading and supporting cast. Their department include all the cosmetic make-up, body make up and special effects make up in the production.

Special Effects supervisors instruct the special effects crew to design moving set elements and props that will safely break, explode, burn, collapse or implode without destroying the film set or hurting people. They also are responsible for reproducing weather conditions and other “on-camera magic” Stunt coordinators manage and instruct stunt performers and work closely with the director and AD.

Post production Roles: Though we haven’t yet gotten to post-production in our films, these are some very important roles for a film to be a film, and not just a bunch of clips of actors talking.

Post-production supervisor: coordinates and supervises the post-production process, maintaining good channels of communication between the producer, director, editor, sound editor, and facilities like CFI studios and etc.

Editor: The film editor is the person who puts together the shots into a coherent film with the help of the director. Usually the editing is done by the editor and his or her team of assistant editors. Colorists adjust the color of the film, and make sure the film’s color/tone is consistent with the director’s vision. Visual Effects Producers (VFX PRODUCER) work with storyboard artists and advises the director on the best approach to filming certain things…so for example, in one scene, a space ship flies across the night sky. Should the space ship be physically build and shot live-action, should it be build in miniature and edited into the scene, or should it be entirely CGI? The Visual Effects Producer knows a lot about visual effects and could advise the director on the options and best route. The VFX director directs and supervises the visual effects.

Sound designers are in charge of post-production sound of a movie. Sound editors are responsible for mixing and assembling sounds, foley artists are responsible for creating sound effects for a film, composers  create the music for a film.

Project 5

Your favorite literary work is being adapted into a film! After your tremendous success with your design for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a big Hollywood producer approached you to assist in the production design for a book-to-film adaptation. For the preliminary meetings with the director, they’ve asked you to come up with costume designs and style boards for 3 characters, as well as 1 set, and 2 props.

For the meeting (critique) please bring in 3 completed (in color) drawings of costumes for characters from the book, a complete (color) drawing of a set, and complete (color) drawings for 2 props.


Critique guidelines



  1. Because some of us might not be familiar with the story, please give us a brief (3-5 sentences) background/summary to the story. (For example, The Great Gatsby is a story told from the point of view of Nick, a young man who moves to Long Island. He meets Gatsby, a newly rich man who throws lavish parties trying to find and impress Daisy, the rich girl he fell in love with when he was poor. The book makes a lot of commentary on rich and poor, and the roaring 20s. Daisy decides that she wants to stay with her husband instead of marry Gatsby. Gatsby ultimately is chasing an impossible dream and nobody really ends up happy at the end.)
  2. Let us know which characters, scenes and props you are designing….who are they? What role do they play in the book/play?
  3. Share any challenges/anything new or different things you learned while working on this project.
  4. What inspired you to make each costume/set? Was there a mood? Reference Image? Etc.

Reviewers, you are the play’s producers. What do you think of the design? Be sure to say at least 1 positive and 1 improvement for each of your classmates presenting. Things to consider:

1. How do the designs match the concept? If the designer’s idea was to make a spooky (mood) production set in today’s New York City…do the costumes and sets convey spookiness? Do they seem as if they’d fit in today’s New York City? In other words, are the successful in executing the artist’s intent?

2. What do you think is unique? Cool? Nice? Beautiful? Successful? Creative? Etc. about this design, and WHY ***** The why is super important. It’s great to hear “It’s nice” Or “I like it!” But being more specific is even better because it helps us to grow and to really understand how you feel about the work.

  • ••••••••Every student/group must present. Every student must “review” at least once.

Examples: Costume Designs from The Great Gatsby



A Midsummer Night’s Dream Summary/Text of play

William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (full text can be found here!)

Act I, Scene 1

“The Course of true love never did run smooth…”
Theseus, duke of Athens and Hippolyta, his fiancée are planning their wedding, which is to take place in 4 days. Theseus orders Athens to be made ready for his wedding and asks that entertainment be prepared.
Egeus (Ee-jEE-us) a nobleman brings his daughter Hermia and two young men Lysander and Demetrius into the room to ask Theseus to order Hermia to marry Demetrius. Hermia loves Lysander and she doesn’t want to marry Demetrius. Egeus asks Theseus to follow Athenian law which states that if a child disobeys his or her father, he or she will be put to death. Theseus gives her the following options: 1. Marry Demetrius, 2. Lock yourself away in a nunnery and never marry or 3. Die.
Lysander reminds everyone that Demetrius used to love Helena, and she still loves him, but he abandoned her because he is fickle. Theseus tells Helena she must make her choice before his wedding.
Lysander and Hermia decide to run away together that night and elope (get married in secret somewhere else where they will be free of Athenian law).
Helena walks in on them making these plans. They tell her their plans and wish her luck with Demetrius. When they leave to prepare for their escape, Helena decides she will tell Demetrius the plan, hoping it will convince him to love her back.

Act I, Scene 2

•In another part of the city, a group of laborers from Athens meet to plan a play they will put on for the Theseus’s wedding. They’ve chosen The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe. They discuss the plot, which is the tale of two youths in love, kept separate because their families and feuding…they speak through a hole in the wall separating their properties. A lion shows up and surprises Thisbe, tearing her cape. When Pyramus finds the torn cape, he thinks she is dead, and kills himself. When Thisbe finds Pyramus dead, she kills herself. Bottom keeps interrupting Quince, the “director” of the play. They cast the various roles, and agree to meet in the woods later to rehearse.

Act II, Scene 1

In the forest, the fairies are talking about the feud between Titania and Oberon. Titania and Oberon are fighting over a human child taken away by the fairies…Titania wants to keep him as her attendant but Oberon wants him to be his knight. Titania does not want to give up the boy. Titania and Oberon have a verbal confrontation…their disagreement over the child becomes a larger case of bickering between a married couple. Titania and her attendants leave, and we are left with Oberon and Robin Goodfellow  (Puck). Oberon tells Puck his plan to prank Titania in revenge and tells Puck to go find a particular purple and white flower called “love-in-idleness” whose nectar, when rubbed on a sleeping person’s eyelids, will cause the person to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking up. He tells Puck they will do this to Titania to embarrass her by making her fall in love with something ridiculous, and while she is confused, they’ll convince her to give the child to Oberon, and they will only reverse the potion’s effects when she gives up the kid.

Act II, Scene 2

As Puck leaves to find the flower, Demetrius and Helena enter the forest…Oberon makes himself invisible to watch and hear them. Demetrius tells Helena he doesn’t love her, will never love her, does not want to see her, and tells her to stop following him. He curses, saying he will kill Lysander and marry Hermia. Helena keeps declaring her undying love and loyalty to Demetrius, who continues to insult her. They continue walking, Demetrius fleeing Helena, Helena sadly following him. Oberon re-appears and declares that before the night is through, Demetrius will be the one chasing Helena. Puck returns with the flower, Oberon says he’s going to go to a stretch of the forest near a river where Titania sleeps to put some nectar in Titania’s eyes…he tells Puck to put some nectar into the eyes of a “young Athenian man being followed by a young Athenian lady.” He tells Puck that the guy is being rude to her and she loves him, so to be sure to make him love her back…and that he will recognize him by his Athenian clothing. Right after Oberon leaves, Lysander and Hermia wander into the glade. Lysander admits that they’ve lost their way, and that maybe they should sleep because it would be easier to find their way in the daylight. Lysander wants to sleep next to Hermia, but she insists that they sleep apart to respect custom and propriety. Puck re-enters, sees them both asleep apart and thinks that Lysander is the young Athenian man being chased by the lady. He puts the nectar in Lysander’s eyes and departs. After he leaves, Demetrius comes running through the glade…shouting insults behind him to Helena, saying he will abandon her in the woods. She complains that she’s afraid of the dark but he doesn’t listen, and leaves. Helena has lost him…she monologues about how awful unrequited love is. Lysander wakes up and sees her…the potion immediately takes effect and he falls in love with Helena. He begins to praise her beauty and declares his undying passion. She thinks he is teasing her, and reminds him he loves Hermia. He insists this is not true, she thinks he’s making fun of her and storms off angrily. Lysander follows. Hermia wakes and is shocked and afraid to find Lysander gone. She stumbles into the woods to find him.

Act III, Scene 1

The townsfolk meet in the woods to rehearse the play…they talk about how they are worried that the women in the audience will be afraid of the lion’s roar and disturbed by the “deaths” of the characters, so they come up with ridiculous solutions to these problems which involve interrupting the play to remind everyone that it is only a play. They also decide that to make sure people understand that it takes place at night, someone will have to play “moonlight” and someone else will have to play a wall with a hole in it. As they are rehearsing their awful play, Puck enters unseen and is entirely amused by how ridiculous they are. He decides to create more mischief. When Bottom steps “offstage” behind some trees, Puck transforms Bottom’s head into that of a donkey (ass). When the ass-headed Bottom re-enters the scene, the other men are terrified and run for their lives. Puck, delighted, chases after them creating more mischief. Bottom stays behind, confused. This happens to happen near to the place where Titania is sleeping.  The loud noises of the terrified townspeople wake her. She sees ass-headed Bottom and instantly falls in love with him. She embraces him and orders her fairy attendants to see to his every wish. Bottom is confused but goes along with it, commenting to her that his friends acted like “asses” in leaving him behind.

Act III, Scene 2

“Shall we their fond pageant see? Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

Puck reports back to Oberon about the Titania/Bottom situation. Oberon thinks it’s hilarious, and is happy that his plan is working so well. While they’re talking, Hermia enters their glade with Demetrius. Puck is surprised to see her with a different man from the one he enchanted. Oberon is surprised to see the guy he TOLD Puck to enchant, un-enchanted and with a different girl. They realize there has been some mistake and tells Puck to fix it. In the mean time, Hermia is yelling at Demetrius, demanding to find out Lysander’s whereabouts, afraid that Demetrius killed him. Demetrius is refusing to help her because he is bitter that she prefers Lysander over him. Hermia is getting angrier and angrier. She storms off. Demetrius realizes it’s pointless to follow her and decides to take a nap. Oberon sends Puck to find Helena, and puts the potion into Demetrius’s eyes himself. Puck returns saying Helena is on her way. Helena enters with Lysander still following pledging his undying love. She still thinks he’s mocking her so she’s angry and hurt. Their noise wakes up Demetrius, who sees Helena (luckily) and immediately falls in love with her. Demetrius and Lysander are now both declaring their undying love. Lysander argues that Demetrius doesn’t love Helena because he left her for Hermia, Demetrius says “no, you love Hermia.” Helena cries because she thinks they’re both mocking her. Hermia enters, hearing both guys arguing “no, you love Hermia!” and is shocked, hurt and infuriated. Helena accuses Hermia of being in on the joke, and tells her off for caring so little about her and their friendship. Lysander and Demetrius are ready to fight one another for Helena’s love…Hermia tries to hold back Lysander, and he curses at her. Hermia thinks that Helena managed to steal Lysander’s love and says “It’s because I’m short, and you’re tall! You must have used your height to seduce him!” She threatens Helena. Helena is afraid of her saying

“Oh, when she’s angry, she is keen and shrewd!
She was a vixen when she went to school.
And though she be but little, she is fierce.”

(She seems all nice and sweet, but when she gets angry, she can be vicious…I remember how she was at school, she may be short, but she’s fierce)

Being called “little” angered Hermia even more. She lunges at Helena. Helena runs away with Hermia chasing. Meanwhile Demetrius and Lysander decide to have a duel to prove who loves Helena more and run off into the forest to fight. Oberon dispatches Puck to prevent the fight, saying “oh-oh, we’ve got to fix this…preferably before the morning.” Puck flies throught he forest, hurling insults in the voices of Lysander and Demetrius, confusing them until they are totally lost. The fairies trick all four of them into the same part of the forest, make an enchantment that makes them fall asleep.

Act IV, Scene 1

As the Athenians are asleep, Titania enters with Bottom, who still has an ass-head. Titania asks Bottom to lie in her lap and sleep so she may braid roses into her hair and kiss his “fair large ears” They both fall asleep. Puck and Oberon enter the glade commenting on how successful Oberon’s revenge was because they were able to take the child for Oberon. Oberon and Puck brought with them the antidote to the nectar, which they place in Titania’s eyes and in Lysander’s eyes, but they chose to keep Demetrius enchanted and in love with Helena. Titania awakes and is shocked and kind of disturbed that she was in love with the half-donkey Bottom. She and Oberon go off together to dance before the sun rises. Puck undoes the enchantment on Bottom to restore his normal head, and follows Oberon and Titania. As the sun rises, Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus and some attendants enter the woods and are startled to find the 4 youths asleep on the ground. They wake them up, demanding their story. The youths can’t remeber a lot of it, it all seems “insubstantial like a dream”. All that is clear to them is that Demetrius and Helena love each other, and Lysander and Hermia love each other. Theseus is happy and decides that the two couples will get married at the same time as him and will partake in the grand wedding feast. Egeus isn’t too happy, but who cares.

As they leave, Bottom wakes up, saying “I had the craziest and best dream!” He decides he will have Quince write a ballad (song/poem) about it to be performed at the end of their play.

Act IV, Scene 2

The actors are at Quince’s house, worried about Bottom, still terrified of the donkey-headed creature in the woods. They think he was killed by the terrifying creature. One suspects fairies. Bottom appears just in time to put on the play…

Act V, Scene 1

At the palace, Theseus speaks to Hippolyta about the strange story told by the youths, that it doesn’t make sense and he doesn’t believe in it. Hippolyta says “but if they were confused, how did they all remember the same thing?” The youths, now married, enter. They all sit down to watch the play. Quince presents the prologue which he does awfully…he puts pauses in weird places, which changes the meaning of the words…for example “Our true intent is. All for your delight we are not here. That you should here repent you, the actors are at hand.” What he meant is “Our intent is to delight you. We are not here to make you sorry. The actors are ready…let the play begin!” It ended up meaning “Our intent is: We are not here to delight you. The actors are ready to make you sorry. Let the play begin!”

The actors perform a truly embarrassing, clunky, hilariously awful play. The noblemen and women in the audience joke amongst themselves and make sarcastic comments about the play. Bottom in particular makes some hilariously weird statements like: “I SEE A VOICE! I can hear my Thisbe’s face!” The actor playing the wall holds up two fingers to represent the hole they speak through. Snug, the lion, roars and then reassures the audience they shouldn’t be afraid because he’s not really a lion. The suicide scene is hilarious…when Bottom pretends to kill himself he screams “die, die, die, die, die…” Bottom asks the audience if they would like an epilogue or a dance….Theseus replies they’d like a dance. So everyone dances, and then Theseus sends them all to bed.

Act V, Scene 2: Epilogue

“If we shadows have offended,
think but this and all is mended:
that you have but slumbered here,
while these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
no more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck,
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long.
Else the Puck a liar call.
So good night unto you all.
Give me your hands if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

Puck enters at the end saying that now that night has fallen, the fairies will come to the castle and bless the palace and the newly married couples with fair song, which will make the lovers always be true to one another, to have beautiful children, and no harm will visit them. Oberon and Titania leave, and Puck makes the final address…he breaks the fourth wall, and speaks directly to the audience:

If you were offended by this play and the stuff that happened, tell yourself it was all a dream, and applaud, and leave it to Puck to fix the situation •winky face•

Theatrical Design: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Project (Project 4)

Congratulations! You’ve been hired to design costumes for a new production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream which will be performed this summer in New York City. The director and producers are in the middle of casting the actors, and are excited to begin rehearsals…they are looking for you to bring three (3) completed designs for costumes (in color), as well as an (1) illustration of one of the sets from the play. These drawing are to be completed within the next two weeks.

Click here for summary/text of play

Nobles from Athens:
Duke Theseus: Duke of Athens, he is about to marry Hippolyta.
Hippolyta: About to marry Duke Theseus.
Egeus: Nobleman, father of Hermia. He wants Hermia to marry Demetrius.
Hermia: Daughter of Egeus, Hermia wants to marry LysanderHermia is shorter than Helena, and often described as having a “darker” complexion.
Lysander: Young man who loves Hermia and wants to marry her.
Demetrius: Young man who used to love Helena, now he wants to marry Hermia, despite the fact that she doesn’t love him.
HelenaHermia’s friend. Helena is in love with Demetrius, utterly love-sick. She is taller than Hermia and is described as having a “lighter” complexion.

Townspeople (the craftsmen from Athens trying to put on a play…they’re not good)
Nick Bottom: (weaver) Bottom is to play Pyramus (the guy) in the play they’re trying to put on for Duke Theseus‘s wedding…Puck turns his head into the head of a donkey (an ass). There are tons of puns throughout the play about “bottoms” “donkeys” etc. He’s not very bright, though he thinks he is. He constantly makes a fool “ass” of himself.
Peter Quince: (carpenter) he plays the narrator/prologue in the play they put on.
Francis Flute: (bellows maker) to play Thisbe (the girl) in the play. He’s a manly looking man, with a beard, and has to speak his lines in an exaggerated, squeaky voice.
Robin Starveling: (the tailor) ends up playing the part of “moonshine”…he holds a lantern.
Tom Snout: (the tinker) plays the wall, dividing the two lovers.
Snug: (the joiner) plays the lion…he’s constantly afraid that his “convincing” roaring will frighten the ladies in the audience.

The fairies
Oberon: King of the fairies. Husband of Titania. They’re fighting. He decides to prank her.
Titania: Queen of the fairies. Wife of Oberon. They’re fighting.
Robin Goodfellow…aka Puck: a mischievous fairy who loves playing pranks, especially on mortals. Puck is a helper of Oberon.
Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustardseed are fairies that make up Titania’s entourage.

Locations: This takes place in Athens and in the Woods Surrounding Athens.

Play Text/Summary

Images from past productions:

Film-making Rules


Leave some room! If your actor is looking off screen to the left, leave room to the left. If the character is looking into the edge of the frame, it creates a sense of awkwardness and makes the viewer uncomfortable. It’s as if they’re about to fall out of the frame.


Especially if the subject is moving across the frame, make sure to give them room to “walk into”


Head Room: 

Don’t decapitate your actors! From LS to MS, even MCU, make sure to give the head some room at the top, but also be careful of too much room…it will make the character seem much smaller. In a CU, usually frame the face so the top of the frame is along the mid-point of the actor’s forehead. For info on how to frame a close-up, check out this resource!

headroom20comparrison Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 9.04.37 PM


When composing a shot, imagine a grid over your frame that divides the frame into 9 equal sections (two vertical and two horizontal lines). The intersection of the lines are points of interest to the eye…use these as points of references when composing the shot. It will create a shot that is visually pleasing and dynamic. It’s not necessary to use the rule of thirds, there are many other systems for composing a shot. Rule of thirds is just helpful, especially for beginners, because it allows us to create a balanced composition with breathing room.

Rule of Thirds:





180° Rule:

Unlike the rule of thirds, the 180° rule should almost NEVER be broken. Doing so will  result in confusion, and not the good kind. There might even be bitter weeping. Please don’t do it. It’s a little tougher to understand so, here’s a helpful video:


When you establish a scene, you are telling the audience “Here is where everyone is located” Once you locate your actors, draw an imaginary line through your actors. Your cameras CANNOT CROSS unless you track the camera to the other side in the scene, otherwise your viewers will be totally disoriented about where everyone is located.


CONTINUITY characters and scenery should look the same from shot to shot, even and especially if the shots are recorded on different days. If an actor’s hair is parted to the right in one shot, and the left in the next, or they have a cup of coffee in their hand in one shot and it’s on the table the next, it’s disorienting to the audience because that’s not how reality works.

More to come!



Cinematic Shots, Camera Angles and Camera Movement

Here’s a handy guide for film-makers of the different camera shots (and their various names, and abbreviations), camera angles and camera movement. These are the building blocks of a film, any film is made up of a variety of different angles and shots…using different shots helps to make the film more visually interesting and will keep your viewers engaged.


Every film is made of scenes, every scene is comprised of shots, shots are usually described by how far away the subject is from the camera, what’s in the camera frame, the purpose of the shot, etc.

  • Establishing Shot (ES) A shot at the beginning of a film, or a scene to “establish” the location. Usually a Long Shot (LS) or Wide Shot (WS) Occasionally referred to as a Master Shot


  • Long Shot (LS) A shot from far away, usually showing a scene (like an entire building) etc.
    • Very Long Shot or Extreme Long Shot (VLS or ELS) is a shot from very very far away.


  • Wide Shot (WS) A shot from far away, in a wide shot, you would see a character from head to toe, plus the background. Wide Shots are also referred to as Full Shots (FS) or Full-Body Shot. Shots that contain people are also described by how many people are in the shot…so for example, this image from UP is a Three-Person Shot or Three-shot (3-S). A shot with two people would be a Two-Person Shot or Two Shot (2-s). So, this would be a Wide-Three-Shot


  • Three-Quarter Shot (3/4-S) aka American Shot (because this type is most common shot in Hollywood films) is a shot in which characters are depicted from the knees up. (Medium Three-Shot M 3-S)


  • Medium Shot (MS) is shot from a medium distance, usually in which characters are depicted from the waist up (3/4-S falls under the MS category). (This is a Medium 2-Shot from Citizen Kane).


  • Medium Close-Up (MCU or MCS) is closer than a MS, but includes some of the torso of the character.


  • Close-up (CU) or or Tight Shot Brings us up close and personal into the actor’s face, or gives us a close view of an object.


  • Extreme Close-Up (XCU) extremely close shot, usually depicting just the eyes, just the mouth, etc. Sometimes referred to as “Italian Shot” because a lot of Italian films use this shot for emphasis. The XCU is used for detail, for drama, and for emphasis.


  • Over-the-shoulder (OTS) sometimes called Third-person shot, is a shot taken over the shoulder of an actor to show that character’s perspective. Often used in scenes in which there is dialogue.


  • Point of View Shot (POV) is shot taken from a character’s perspective to show the audience what the character is seeing. In this case, the character is having the gun pointed at him/her by this dude, so the audience becomes the character, and looks up the barrel of the gun at the man.



Camera angles refer to how the camera “sees” the shot. Is the camera bellow the subject? Is it above the subject? Changing the camera angle greatly affects how we perceive what we see and help to build emotion and tension in a film.

  • Bird’s-eye view: Shows a scene from directly above, an extreme high-angle. It can be used as an establishing shot (ES). It’s also an unnatural/unfamiliar angle. It can be used to make the audience feel uncomfortable (is Hawkeye going to make the shot? Is he going to fall ALLLLLLLL that way down to his death?!) or it can give the audience a “godlike” view, you see it all. This type of shot is not used very often, mostly for emphasis.


  • High Angle is not as extreme as bird’s eye. The camera is positioned above the action/scene/actors. High angle makes the subject seem smaller and/or less significant. High angle is often used to make the subject seem like it’s being threatened or made smaller, or as a point-of-view from someone taller looking down at something.


  • Eye-level (EL) is neutral shot, a shot taken at eye-level. Most shots are eye-level or roughly neutral. Eye level depends on the height of the character. A baby or a dog’s eye level shot would be much closer to the ground that a grown-up’s eye level shot. The important thing to remember is that unlike the high-angle shots, in which the camera is angled down, eye-level shots are taken with the camera level (at 90° with the floor). With the exception of the POV shot, all of the examples of camera shots above are eye-level.
  • Low Angle Low angle shots are shots taken with the camera placed below eye-level, and tilted upwards at the subject. It’s the opposite of a high-angle shot. The use of making the object, or actors in some cases, appear taller, dominating, and more powerful, as if they’re looming over the viewer.




  • Worm’s eye view are shots in which the camera is  directly bellow the subject.


  • Oblique/Canted Angle or Dutch Angle (because, you guessed it, it was introduced a lot in Dutch Films), shots taken when the camera is tilted to make the ground seem like it’s sloping upwards or downwards. It gives a sense of instability and is usually used artistically, in action shots, or for horror or comedic effect. Also, most of the movie Inception.

inception_stillsdutch-angle-webThe Dark Knight


Shots are not always “still” a lot of times, cameras move within a scene to make the shot more dynamic. Most camera movement is done using a device to steady the camera…usually a tripod or pedestal (for tv cameras) a dolly a crane/jib arm or steadicam otherwise footage will appear shaky and will make people nauseous. Hand-held camera footage is deliberately shaky, but still uses steadicam or a similar device to prevent it from being too shaky (to the point that it’s unwatchable) while still giving the sensation that the seen is being “seen” by someone running or moving.

  • TILT: the camera lens angles up/down but the camera remains the same distance above the ground and does not change position (think: nodding your head “yes” while standing still)

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 8.12.56 PM

  • PAN: the camera pivots left/right without changing position or height (think shaking your head no while standing still)

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 8.23.00 PM

  • ZOOM: Changing the focal length of the camera
  • PEDESTAL: Physically move the camera up and down along a straight line.
  • DOLLY or TRACK: Physically move the camera forward and back or side to side (usually using a “dolly” or “track”)
  • HANDHEALD Holding the camera in your hands and physically moving it. Very shaky, use only for effect, like running in a horror movie.