Waterloo Film Studios- Day 2

Today was my first day as a runner. I had a bright and early start, having to leave the house at 6.30 in order to make the dreaded commute to Waterloo for 8am. Well, I say dreaded, it wasn’t as bad as I had been anticipating, even if it is only my second day.
I got to the studios and was made busy straight away which I was pleased with- no sitting on reception and getting told off today! I had to help with a change over of green rooms which City Scape had been using the day before and get the pastries ready for the actors and crew that would be arriving shortly. I spoke to the Assistant Director who ran by me what I would be having to do for the day and what the company were filming for. They are a visual architectural company who were filming on green screen for an advert for a new complex or apartments in central London. I was told that I would be helping out their runner and working closely with the AD to make sure the shoot ran smoothly. I was so excited for the opportunity, but also a little worried. I had been told yesterday that being a runner is just a lot about common sense, but I didn’t want to disappoint with what I was doing. Luckily, the crew knew it was my first time and they were an exceptionally friendly bunch.
When the actors arrived at reception I had to go and meet and greet and take them to the green room. I made sure they were fed enough to last them until lunch time and kept them topped up with the never ending supply of tea and coffee. It was interesting hearing their conversations about what they had last worked with. One of the actors had been a last minute fill in for someone that dropped out and knew the AD. My first witnessing of networking and the overly repeated saying ‘It’s not what you, know it’s who you know’.
By about 9am the actors and crew had no room for indecisiveness about what they wanted for lunch as I was instructed to take their lunch orders which I later had to go and order and make sure they were delivered at the right time. Although I thought this would have been an easy task, some of the actors were children and a little bit fussy with the choices, which became a bit of a struggle. However, I think that was probably my biggest struggle of the day so it was no issue.
As the second runner I found myself not doing much on set, as firstly I didn’t want to get in anyones way and the other runner seemed to know exactly what he was doing. I found it interesting guessing people’s roles (and getting them right, may I add!). As I will be a DoP in my short film module it was helpful to see a ‘real’ DoP in his job. He didn’t go near the camera at all, and instead was standing behind a screen telling the camera op and the focus puller what to do. There was a man sitting at a desk full of batteries, hard drives, a laptop and memory cards who seemed to be filling up hard drive after hard drive of footage.
When it came to lunch time, I had to make sure everybody had their lunch and was comfortable before I had mine. Although it felt a bit like I wasn’t allowed to have my lunch until everyone had what they wanted, I didn’t mind. As a typical student handed a free hot lunch, I couldn’t have been much happier! Once everyone had finished I had a big tidy of the green room and studios and made sure all the actors were in makeup and wardrobe at the right times and kept topping up empty plates with plenty of sugary snacks in the studio to keep everyone going throughout the afternoon.
It became clear that the crew was getting a bit sluggish a couple of hours after lunch. It was interesting to see the role of the AD too, as I had never really been too clear on what they actually did. She was persistently but politely hurrying the crew along when they were behind schedule, which sometimes they would ignore. It seemed that filming for green screen was an incredibly confusing task with someone almost constantly on the phone talking through calculations of where actors should stand for what seemed like every frame of the storyboard. There was lots of measuring out, lots of configuring between scenes and for me, lots of ripping old tape off the floor!
After lots of tidying up, getting actors from the green room to the studio, lots of waiting around for something to do, the day drew to an end. I had an exhausting twelve hour day without including travelling home time and I am now absolutely shattered. However I have already learnt so much more than I thought I would have done. I’m really glad that the crew and actors were so nice and accommodating towards me and that I have finally had my first experience for my CV as a runner!

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