Things are moving along and we are starting to fill out the rest of our crew for the upcoming shoot of Breakaway. One of the most important positions on set is the director’s right hand – the 1st AD. The fill this position, I called on the wonderful Whitney Nicole Shumaker.
I first met Whitney several years ago on a film called For Her
I was the cinematographer and she pulled triple duty as an AD, camera assistant, and also actress. The film was also the first collaboration with my producers Evelyn Lorena and Shannon Godly.
For Her (2013)
Whitney also became our savior on the set of Sprout, she wasn’t able to be on set our first day of shooting and we had barely made our day. She came on set the 2nd day and we were actually able to finish early!
A great AD is invaluable. The right arm and left brain of the director, they organize the shoot, schedule, and make sure all of the on-set logistics are taken care of. A great AD takes your creative vision and puts you in the best position to succeed in crafting it.
Whitney on the set of Outdooring
Since the last time I had the opportunity to work with Whitney, she’s been busy ADing on bigger shoots. She’s had the chance to be the go-to AD for AFI film projects as well as several feature films.
The reputation of an AD that of a screaming drill sergeant. Someone who drives fear into their subordinates in an effort to make them move faster. I personally like to keep my sets calm but still functional. Whitney brings that same sense of calm and assertiveness to the AD position. She makes the working environment like a family project where everyone is involved and happy to be creating together.
When we met just yesterday evening, she reminded me again why she’s so great at her job. She came with the schedule already half-planned and with a litany of questions that helped us get Breakaway started.
It’s looking like we’re going to be shooting over the course of 4 days. It’s a 20 page script that takes place over the course of one evening and one location. That makes planning the shoot easier, but we want to be able to take our time with the film and make sure we get everything (plus a little extra).
Our plan is to shoot inside our pending location for 2 days where the majority of the story takes place. We will then shoot one evening outside for a long dialogue scene, followed by a separate day of shooting that involves a car rig.
We could try and rush everything in less time. But that would only hinder the final product which wouldn’t be worthy of all the time and effort we’ve put in thus far. With Whitney keeping us honest and organized, I’m even more confident we’re going to have the chance to create something special.