Thursday, October 11, 2007
Don't Overthink It
If you've ever experienced the exquisite terror of forgetting which way to turn the valve handle to go up or down during a take you know exactly what I'm talking about. I've even chosen poorly (hey, I had a 50/50 chance) and gone up when I should have gone down, earning that special "what the hell is going on back there?" look from my operator. It came from having too much time before my part of the shot started and thinking too much. In this is a lesson I have to teach myself at least once a show- don't think too much. Dolly moves are about zen. They're more feeling than nuts and bolts. A lot of the posts on this blog are about the technical stuff....ball bearings and bailing wire. This stuff is mainly what you have to know to set up a shot. Once the technical stuff is out of the way, you have to let your artistic side take over a little bit. Some people say it's one of those "either you have it or you don't" things and that may be true to a certain extent. You have to just know where the camera should be to see what it needs to, and then put it there; hopefully in a smooth and graceful manner without running off the track. A lot of it can probably be developed over time and some may just "get it" immediately. But if you try to think about it too much, your moves will be very mechanical. I did this once early in my career and had a director tell me my move had all the grace of a "truck pulling out of a parking lot." So relax. Use the force. If you know it then you know it so trust your talent. If you make a mistake, let it go. Just like a professional quarterback who throws a bad pass and gets intercepted, you will make some doozies, and then have to forget them to nail the next take. Over the years I've: run off the track, hit the boom handle with my knee and shoved the mag into a door frame, gone up when I should have gone down, gone left when I should have gone right, hit extras with the dolly, hit directors with the dolly,hit the DP with the dolly, and too many other mistakes to count, and they still call me to work. Let it go. Don't think too much until it's time to think.