Zaz (zazreil) wrote,

On Location with Live Free or Twi Hard - Part 1 Lessons Learned

Now that Episode 6:05 has aired I can finally talk about the thrill I had when I the fantastic luck to find Supernatural filming. For a first timer, I could not have found a better shoot, I got incredibly lucky. A lot of the stories I could tell have been already covered by Seesmooshrun, Bardicvoice and Elsiecat, all of whom wrote great reports with much better pictures than I have. So I will try not to cover to much of the same ground, but in this two part post tell some unique stories, show some before and after shots and in this first part focus on lessons I learned myself and by watching others, to help any first timers who might find any show, but especially Supernatural, shooting on location

Locating the Shoot:

I can’t tell you how to find a shoot, my experience was completely atypical and not one that I am going to be able to repeat. What I can tell you is be friendly, listen closely and talk to everyone. But most importantly that when you are looking or asking questions always be polite and understanding of the fact that you may not get the information you desire. When I got my hint, I had already accepted no for an answer and thanked the person for their time and patience and was ready to go, when they called me back and told me with specifics where to find the shoot. I really think they did it because I was so polite, accepting and not insistent.

My next piece of advice is really hard for me to write because, the odds of me ever finding Supernatural filming with out help are slim, but I still think it is a good to know and consider: On this particular day on location there were a lot of fans, most of them had found out about the site from the net. Though I did not post the information, I learned a lot about what happens when the location leaks out. My advice, no matter how excited you are don’t Tweet or otherwise post information about your find on the web. If you want to contact a friend directly and tell them to join you, that would be a kindness, just don’t tell the world. There are several reasons that I make this recommendation:

1) Posting the information on the web for all to see is a betrayal of your source. You may not realize it because you are not giving away the name of your source, but if a lot of fans know where the site is, the PTBs (Powers that Be) might start looking for the source and you don’t want anyone to get in trouble for their kindness. I was asked by several PAs at the site how I found them; I just said I got lucky.

2) The more fans on the location the more careful and cautious the crew has to be. The crew were never anything but kind, but they did become more cautious once they knew that the information was on Twitter. I know this because a PA, I had spoken to several times over the course of the day and who was pretty open, asked me if I had come because I saw the post on Twitter. When I was blank, the PA said that they (the PAs) were warned that they may get as many as 60 fans and they needed to be prepared and more cautious because of it.

3) This next reason is kind of selfish, but when there are less fans you have a better chance of interacting and talking to the crew and stars when they are not busy and seeing more increases. The more fans the less likely you are to have that kind of opportunity. If you listen to stories of fans who have found them shooting, those who were part of small groups generally have the better stories.

4) PAPARAZZI, there were three on the location the day we attended, all of them had heard about the shoot on the net. One in particular was not only obnoxious but obviously actively disliked by the crew and proud of it too.



Now that you know where the shoot is, there are some things that you can do to make your time visiting the crew, more enjoyable for you and easier on them.
1) Scope out the location the day before if possible. Identify parking if you are driving, nearest bathroom facilities, and whether you need to bring a lunch or if you can buy locally.

2) Determine if the site is residential, forest preserve/ park or business. Each of these areas pose their own challenge. In a residential neighborhood you have to be considerate of people’s homes, too much walking over or trampling grass becomes something Supernatural has to pay for. Remember any bad feelings you cause reflects back on the show and crew so always be polite to the home owners, and be sure to ask their permission if they are outside, Stick to the side walks and curbs. In forest preserves and parks you don’t have to worry about trampling someone’s property but finding a good spot to watch from may be harder. In either case important to bring something to sit on, in case the ground is wet, something to cover yourself it is raining, and something to eat and drink. If you are likely to be using a forest preserve facility bring wet wipes and toilet paper, you will need them. From my point of view a site in the city with plenty of businesses around is better, There is a coffee shop almost every 5 feet in Vancouver. Ok I am exaggerating but it is darn near close, Vancouverites must live on coffee. Coffee shops of course mean food, seats and reasonably clean bathrooms, big pluses when you are standing for 18 to 20 hours. I can’t believe how lucky we got as first timers, their was a little very tasty coffee shop, 5 feet from the shoot and a community college down the block that was open 24/7.

3) Plan for a little boredom, bring a book, a friend, or an ipod. You will get to see a lot of interesting things and talk to some friendly people but there will be some down time, so just be prepared.

4) Plan for the weather and the standing. Find out what the weather will be and carry the proper gear, don’t wear really good bottoms because at some point you will be sitting on the ground, even the crew do. And wear really good shoes athletic shoes with arch supports.

5) If you are not driving have a taxi cab number and your phone with you. It may be in walking distance but after hours of standing walking back looks daunting, besides which, what is safe to walk through in the day time is less safe at 2am in the morning

6)Bring a note pad and pen

7) And don’t forget to charge up your camera and understand all its settings.  There is a lot of night shots on this show and flash photography is not allowed  

On Location

Now that you are on location there are somethings to check and some to remember. My experiences are based on being in a business district but I think some of these will transfer to any site.

              1)Talk to anyone who looks curious not just fans and crew. Let them see how much you love the show. Your
              enthusiasm and good humor can get you all kinds of interesting stories and hints you might not hear other wise.

              2) Patronize local businesses, this makes them more accepting if you use their bathrooms or sit in their chairs.
              Also local businesses and home owners will be given shooting schedules. Since it is more economic to get
              multiple shots at one location, the crew maybe shooting all day long or for several days at that or nearby  
              locations so getting a peek at the shooting schedule is valuable to give you the times and locations in that

              3) Come early – really really early. If you are early enough and alone sometime nice things can happen, like our
              friends who got there before us got a peek inside the bank where the Vampire lair was from the owner of the
              property, before the crew really got going. Being early has its perks

              4) Coming early and staying until the last of the filming takes place can really take a toll on your body,
             sit frequently.

              5) Keep with the smallest group of fans possible and away from the Paparazzi, when they bring the Actors and
              Actresses in, they don’t bring them past the largest group of fans, they usually go through the smallest group
              possible and sometimes they will stop to  say hello.

              6) Be respectful of the equipment, props and autos in the area. Sometimes a prop does not even look like a ,
             prop;  for example garbage in the alley.

              7) We all love Metallicar and want a picture with her, Don’t touch her! And definitely don’t sit on her, you make
              work for the Crew responsible for her care and risk continuity for the shoot. The Impala is allowed to get different
              levels of dirty to show how busy Dean is at any time, if Car-wrangler  has to clean and redirty her and he may
              not be able to get it exactly how it was in earlier shots

              8) Always be polite to the crew and PAs even when they are telling you something you are sure is untrue.
              Sometimes they don’t know everything about the show that we do or don’t know the answer and sometimes it
              is because their job is to protect the shoot and make sure there are no interruptions and that may include
              discouraging fans, especially when the numbers of fans start to climb.  Just smile thank them, and then
             double, triple, quadruple check and use your own commonsense.

             9) Stay out of Frame. The best way to do this is when they are setting up an out door shot find out where
             the cameras are and either  be behind them or to the side. If you ask nicely before the shooting starts the
             Crew might give you a hint where to be. But above all things listen to the PAs, because if you don’t they will
             push you to the very next block where you can't see and they don't have to  worry about you having any
             chance of being in Frame or ruining a take.  Time really is money for a film crew and every retake costs big $$$

            10) Before you talk to a PA or Crew member check to be sure no one is shooting the show near or around
            you. A PA guarding a door may well be guarding the shoot so you may want to hand them a piece of paper
             asking if it is ok if you can talk before you start asking questions. Also if you are watching the filming be
             quiet when you are instructed to be quiet or the result is the same as item 9

            11) Be polite not just to the people in the area and the crew but to other fans that may be there. It’s a good
             way to make friends and it  puts a good face on the fandom.
            12) Lastly go in with the attitude that you are going to have fun. Its easy when you are tired to get cranky,
            but if you focus on the wonder of just being there, no matter what you see or do you will have a good time
            and it will make the crew smile as well

Hope these hints prove helpful if you have any to add just jot them in the comments  or add your own experiences.  Now on to how the day was vs all I learned. Click here for Metallicar
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