What is your first thought when it comes to Hollywood and the film industry? Is it big lights, glamorous lifestyle, people knowing your name? The life of working and being in the film industry can be that, but there is a lot more happening that does not normally appear on screen. I had the opportunity to act as a Behind the Scenes Photographer for the short film Finished, written and directed by Natasha Straley and filmed by Taylor Camarot. My sister, Emily Reas, produced the short film remotely while she lives in L.A., and filming happened in Wimberely, TX. Emily messaged me asking if I would be interested in this opportunity; I jumped at the chance to explore this new level of photography and to take a look into an unfamiliar world.
Filming took place at the Red Corral Ranch in Wimberely, TX. The venue expands many acres of land, and there are many spots that are used for weddings and other events. The cast and crew started filming that morning at 8am, but I wasn’t able to arrive until 10:30am due to a previous volunteer shift. I drove down small roads designated with rocks to the cabin where the filming was happening. For the next 6 hours, I was thrown into the world of the film industry.
Working behind the scenes photography is different from any type of photography. It is comparable to working an event, but you are much more limited. Depending on the filming conditions, you may or may not be able to take photos of the filming process itself. The noise from a shutter is fairly loud, but it can’t be helped since it’s a mechanical noise. Most of my photography came in between scenes showing the cast and crew working and interacting with one another. The film industry is not what you may think. The hours are long. Extremely long. Depending on the project, you can be on set for 12 hour days, continuously working, and sometimes for multiple days. Luckily, this was a short film, so filming took about 8 hours to complete and in one day. During some periods, everyone would just be hanging out as the Director and Director of Photography reviewed the previous shots. Then all of a sudden, everyone would be moving again to the next phase. Sometimes we would spend 10 minutes working on one scene, and making slight changes to camera or talent. Everyone also seemed to know exactly what to do at the appropriate time. That must come with experience working on film sets.
I don't know how other film sets are, but working with the cast and crew of Finished made for a wonderful first time working in the film industry. There was a certain camaraderie between everyone: we all worked very well together. Natasha grabbed everyone there from various connections she has. As an alum from Texas State, she got some of the crew from her alma mater. Natasha had never met her Director of Photography Taylor Camarot before that day, but the two synced up real quickly. All egos were left outside the ranch; the teamwork was strong and reliable that day.
The short film Finished shows the final moments of a relationship between Jillian Marcus. Only two people are cast for this film, and their emotions are the stars. It is the feeling of sadness and revelation that is portrayed throughout the film; it's the first few moments of letting go. The short film will be released online after post-production, and then Natasha intends to have it go through the festival routes.
It was an incredible experience being on a film set and capturing the moments between the cast and crew! Look below for the full cast and crew list.
Cast and Crew:
Writer/Director ..... Natasha Straley
Producer ..... Emily Reas
Jillian ..... Alisha Banks
Marcus ..... John Giorgio
Director of Photography ..... Taylor Camarot
Assistant Camera ..... Ali Nidzgorski
Gaffer ..... Charlie Pearce
Assistant Director ..... Kevin Huffaker
Sound ..... Derek Rhoades
Art Director ..... Melissa Baez
Art PA ..... Chelsea Urban
Makeup/Wardrobe ..... Val Frazee
Script Sup. ..... Alyssa Franks
Caterer ..... Cliff Frazee
PA ..... Lou Zylika