Example Footage Log Sheet
There are a lot of categories in here, I don't want anyone to write these down, because these are actually too many, I want you to look at what the log notes actually look like and then we're just gonna quickly make our own set of categories. But on the left-hand column, you'll see that I've got the series, 1001J, the Camera Person, that's me, it's the Date, those were the dates, that things were shot at, you'll see some repeat dates, which was like an early mistake and I'll explain that, but most importantly, I want you to just look at the Description, ignore everything else for right now. Nina travels to Esprit, unpacks in her hotel room. Nina does her beauty routine. Nina dresses up and goes shopping. These are really kind of basic, basic descriptions of what I was seeing, hot tub. Nina sit-down interview. Kara gets ready to go out, partying at pool, at the bar at night, driving night shots. Just simple little expressions, descriptions of things, that I had shot through the day and ...
at first, a lot of it is very basic, in part because you don't know what you're looking for, at the beginning of the project, you just are like, unless you've really gone in for something targeted, at the beginning, often, you're like, well, I don't know what's here, you have to kind of absorb and collect and continue to collect and then eventually these kind of through lines and threads and themes start to become apparent, at first, you just don't know what's there, so a lot of the descriptions early on are pretty basic, then you keep going. Alright, now I'm a little further along. it's 4000 series, Nina doing errands in guy mode during the day, Nina delivering pizza at night in guy mode. Now I'm starting to kind of say, like, this is what's happening, but this is a little extra detail. Amy's outhouse. Girls getting ready for holiday gala. Amy's outhouse, having taco dinner, hanging around the house, living room, etc. This is kind of one I wanna draw your attention to. Nighttime at Amy's house, Allison goes to sleep. Abigail and Lonnesse walking through the park. Intimate moments at Amy's house. Women sitting around talking. Lonnesse and Amy cuddling. Amy brushing her teeth. So at this point in my shoot and this is really my log notes from this project, at this point in the shooting cycle, I'm starting to notice some themes already, that I'm like starting to pick up on, I'm like, not only is there this place, Amy's outhouse, but within Amy's outhouse, there are like relationships, patterns, things that are starting to develop and I, as a shooter am taking note of them, it's not 'cause anyone's telling me to write this down, it's that I'm being, like, oh, you know, the intimacy of like all of these women all living together in this one room and under one roof and cuddling, and talking and like, you know, this kind of very close to skin and dependent type of feeling is starting to kind of bubble up and that's reflected in the notes. The reason that this is important is that as I'm moving along and noticing this in the scenes, chances are it's because it's important to story and so when my editor, months and months and months later, now needs to start crafting this story and it's like, well, you know, there are these people and they're all living in this home and they're really, really close, it's like, "Well, where do I find that? "Okay, Jessica, you tell me that exists, "but how do I know that that exists? "Where do I find that?" You find that certainly by watching all the material, but in part because I've started to take note of it as the like director and maker of this project and by taking note of it, I'm also like saying, this is where you can see it, this closeness that I'm describing, you can see it in this night, in this shot, in this detail. The more detail you can go into, the better, 'cause sometimes you don't know if it's gonna matter later on or not, you don't know that this close relationship matters, I don't think I totally knew that it would matter here. Cut to... even later, let's go down to here. The girls get ready for Amy to come home. Amy had gone to Thailand, she had all of these people living in her house, as I described earlier, there was this close, kind of tight relationship, then Amy goes off to Thailand, she leaves her home in the hands of these younger women, and she comes back. The girls get ready for Amy to come home. Amy returns. Amy is shown around the house, shown the lack of progress, that happened while she was gone. They eat dinner. Terry and Amy spend time in Terry's room. The division of the house starts. So it's like, again, I don't know, when I'm writing, I'm just shooting, I haven't cut the thing yet, I don't know that this is gonna really be a thing, but I'm starting to see, like, oh, I see where this story is going, it's not just that I say, they ate dinner, it's that I'm like starting to kind of, in a basic way, storyboard, this is the story that's developing, there is a division between the people that left and the people that stayed back, or the people that take care of the house and the people that kind of let it go. The morning Comcast, like a web, Internet, argument continues. Dinner, Terry and Amy dilate in the same bed. Morning in the house, Amy starts getting upset at what the house has been left like, yells at the girls. Nathan starts tearing apart the work that was done. So this is like, I'm starting to see in the day-to-day shooting, oh, there's a problem, it's coming to a head, we're feeling the tension. Then another day, it's like ratcheting up. In the edit, this will all be way compressed, it will happen very quickly, but in the notes, it's very helpful to be able to say, this was the moment that you could see the division, this was the time that she got upset, because sometimes, it's just a general feeling and it's helpful to be able to kind of point to it. Let's see, okay, now we're gonna watch a scene that kind of shows how all of this information ends up getting used.
I just have to shake my head and say, what were they thinking? Jesus.
That's just gonna be trimmed down to the door, same thing up here, that's about all I know. That's your molding.
And what the hell this is, I don't know. All of this is gonna need to be done.
And so why do it?
Okay, I'm a man, I don't understand.
Well, the problem here is the people doing this repair aren't women, they're men in drag.
Yeah, I know. The ceiling is, all that should have been done, all the work that should have been done.
Yeah, that's all we needed doing.
But they, I know that they wanted to redo the wiring for the internet purposes.
That's pretty much what the whole fuss was about.
Oh, I've got to strangle somebody. Here we go. Oh. Well, yeah, last Thursday, what is it? Last Thursday, someone got into an accident with my car, thank you very much.
Who got in an acci, what? (speaking far away from mic) Really? There's a claim on my insurance from last Thursday.
This is kind of a hell to me. My main problem is we came home from Bangkok and we find this place like this. I used to have a nice home here, this used to be a home, for God's sake, now, what is it now? It's a mess. Just total dysfunction, everyone's going off in different directions, no one communicates, no one agrees, no one tries to cooperate. Now I don't wanna have to kick anyone out, but I'm getting close to it actually.
If you won't dare, I mean, I can leave.
It's supposed to be a family, that's what I thought we were.
I'm sorry, Amy.
We need to redo this house, just sort of rethink it and we need some ego smashing, 'cause your masculinity is in your ego, that's what we learn when we're young to do things your way and shout louder, drown out other people, don't listen to them and this kind of thing happens. Otherwise I don't know what this place is for, if it's just a crash pad for idiots, who are playing at being women. Find that real self, the human being is like, sort of like a, like an oyster, it's this little soft thing down in the bottom of the sea and in order to get by, it builds itself this hard, sharp, crude shell, we all have that pearl, you gotta find the pearl and forget the shell.
Anyway, I wanna find, is there a hole I can crawl into? Somewhere?
Technically there's an alcove there by the bed, (laughs) just there in the corner by the window.
Now is not the time to be cracking jokes, dear.
Yes. (light haunting music)
This scene happened whether or not we were writing it down or not, I mean, you know, obviously me writing down every night, that these tensions were starting to kind of develop and erupt doesn't change the fact of whether or not it's going to happen, but in the process of making a short film, a longer film, a lot of things happen, some are more poignant than others, but also it's very easy to forget when you go many, many months later and you look back to all of the stuff that happened, it's very easy to forget sometimes even really large things. Sometimes you're exhausted and you kind of show up and you put your camera on your shoulder, because you know it's important, but like as soon as the shoot's over, you're brain dead and you pass out and you're like, oh, I dug deep to get the last kind of reserves of energy to kind of do this thing, but now I'm gonna go crash and it's amazing how much you can kind of forget some of the important stuff and the edit happens not just because you've gone back and watched all of the material or your editor has, it's that like there in all of this stuff, there are kind of these peaks and values of things that are important and meaningful and the writing down of them and understanding where they are and understanding where they're coming from and where they're going is really important and sometimes it's these early details, that in the moment you don't realize are important, you know, a cat might die later on in the film, if you have written down, you know, Amy feeds the cat, even if it's just kind of this normal, mundane thing, it all of a sudden might have much more kind of relevance and resonance in a later moment, that you just don't realize and if you didn't write it down, you just don't know that it's not necessarily there, even for your editor, editors often also watch things chronologically, so they're kind of learning and experiencing the material in a very similar way that you did, which is that they're like starting from the beginning and not knowing stuff, by the time they get over here, where they're understanding, they don't necessarily remember everything that came before and they didn't have that knowledge the first viewing, so it's really important to try to like sit down with your material, think about what you saw, think about, it's also a great place, especially for yourself as the shooter to think not only about description, but to think about metaphor, you know, what did you see, that can stand for something else? In this kind of scene, the fact that Amy's house was falling apart and there was this construction, there was this leaky roof, it's also a metaphor for the fact that like this family unit, this kind of close environment that she was trying to build was kind of breaking apart, so before we even realized, that she would ever come back and find this place in a total mess and like lose it on these people and yell at them and basically say, you know, "This is totally unacceptable," before that ever happened, we were just shooting a lot of it and pointing our cameras at a lot of it, because it was a metaphor for the fact that things were starting to fall apart, we didn't know beforehand that eventually it would crack, but seeing those cracks, seeing a leak in the wall, we're like, oh, that kind of stands for the fact that things are starting to break down in their personal lives too, it's amazing how like, you know, in retrospect, you look back and you're like, of course this was gonna happen, but you don't know that at the time and so logging is not just an opportunity to get down kind of the details, but the details, like the details of the day and what the characters did and their actions, but also the things that you were seeing and experiencing, that you think might mean something, oh, you know, she was out on a boat ride and like the sea was calm and there was this kind of calm, that came over the character as well, write that down, you know, write down the things that you were kind of feeling and experiencing being there on the ground with people, because you'll forget about it, you'll completely forget and then looking back, you'll be like, oh, that was really meaningful. And reading through, reading through a little bit of this, I mean, no matter how long these sheets go on for and they do go on for a long time, reading this stuff is so much quicker, than trying to go back and watching all of this stuff, especially from two cameras, it just takes forever to watch this stuff.
One question that came in from Richard Seagraves was, "Was that scene shot with two cameras? "How many cameras did you have?"
That was, that's a great question and yes, that was shot with two cameras and so that like, you know, that kind of varied perspective and also being be able to look at Amy look back at them is because we were both there covering it at the same time.