Lights, camera, action!


What is it?

Shoot day

Shoot in a day like it’s an excursion.

When you are ready to shoot your film, it’s a clever idea to organise a day of shooting very much like an excursion, except that the focus is on making the bulk of your film in a variety of locations according to your plan in a day.


It's important to have a plan for the whole production period; just a good checklist works well. Give everyone responsibilities. They then have much more ownership of the whole project. Put a name against an item on the checklist they are accountable for that the team is counting on them to deliver.

Put flexibility into the plan. Sometimes things won't be ready for the day you had planned, so have an alternate day up your sleeve.

Weather impacts

Weather can really affect your film day (or make it).

For example, A war scene shot at the desalination plant at Kurnell was fraught with weather issues. In the afternoon, the weather was absolutely miserable. Perfect for the scene! (a war scene). The scenes were filmed until dusk to get the best (worst light).

Sound can be really affected by wind, so it is good to have an alternate date up your sleeve. Sometimes you might want to shoot early or late for the best and least amount of wind.

Fun! Filmmaking is fun. If you have a great shoot day, everyone will never forget the experience. Be calm and patient, keep a smile on your face and enjoy. You’re allowed to!

Shoot out of sequence

Shoot your film out of order. It helps you make the most of the locations you are filming at and the weather.

For example: When Parcel For My Sister Kate was filmed, it was done at the Quarantine Station at Manly. This location had many brilliant locations for a film in the one spot. We had a team setting up for scene 9 while just next door; we were filming scene 10.

Save time and you will get so much more done in a day.


Make sure you go to each of the locations/sites you will film in just prior to shooting if you can take a second pair of eyes with you, great.

You will have completed risk assessments by now, but another physical check is always wise.

321 action!

The clapper board is a very handy tool for a few reasons.

The clapper board provides the editor with information on which ‘take’ it is. The editor listens for the sound of the clapper and the beginning of the take.

Counting in 3,2,1 lets everyone know it will be action, 1 second after 1.

Mark the take

It is important to have a rehearsal of the scenes before filming; actors learning lines ensures everyone is on the same page. In addition, this will limit the number of takes you need to get the scene in the way the director wants it.

When you have a take that is spot on to what the director is aiming for, he should say, “Mark it”. The assistant director can write the number of that take on a run sheet so that the editor can look for that take first in the edit. This can save a lot of time in editing.

What happened in the shoot?

It is good to reflect on what went well during production. We like to have a second film crew filming a making of so that you can capture some of the behind-the-scenes magic while it is happening. This footage can also be used in outtakes and is good for the crew to see themselves in action.

It is also great for people to see a group of young people in control of the complete process. This is powerful evidence of your body of work and worth capturing.


 A camera filming a person in using a computer, with a boom microphone over their head

Third-party content attributions

Third-party content attributions

Film presenting | DoE Brand Library