My Dad was somewhat of a perfectionist and he “encouraged” me to be the same. I realized, however, that not everyone shares the same definition of perfection and so, thankfully, I loosened up (a little) as I grew up. But I am still very detail oriented, for those things that I have a passion for. The Toxic State production is the latest focus of this.
When I was growing up, my Mother worked for the BBC in London. I would go over to the Wood Lane Television Center everyday after school to meet her. With that came access to all sorts of television production people and facilities. I was the interested little boy that directors, actors, producers, would take under their wing while my Mother was finishing up her work day.
One of the many topics that fascinated me was continuity. We have all seen those little continuity issues in movies when, for example, we see an actor holding a wine glass that is mostly empty, and in the next cut, the wine glass is nearly full.
What I learned at the BBC, amongst other things, is that audiences get quickly and easily confused if people on camera are wearing different clothing outfits with no clear transition between one outfit and another. I also watched some footage that I shot in September, last year, also in Utah. Wanting a relaxed look, I wore t-shirt and jeans. Unfortunately, when viewing this on screen, I looked unkempt – need to be smarter. And so, prior to my recent visit to Ohio and Pennsylvania to visit radioactive waste sites, I researched smarter shirts to wear. Ideally, the shirts needed to be a neutral, solid color for the camera to be able to handle it easily. Given the travel involved, the shirts needed to be easy to pack and easy to iron, so that I always looked smart when on camera.
My first selection was an Eddie Bauer shirt, all cotton, which looked smart and nicely pressed on the Eddie Bauer site but when I received them, the day before leaving for Ohio, I found them to be easily creased and impossible to iron well without copious amounts of starch. Terrible shirts for travel. But given that the weather in OH and PA was pretty darn cold (snowing, freezing weather), the long sleeves of the shirts were welcome, and I almost always wore a fleece jacket or GoreTex waterproof over them.
Thinking ahead to the April/May shoot in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado, the weather will be much warmer (thankfully) and the locations largely desert. So I have gone back to an old favorite, the 5.11 Tactical wear polo shirt. Tough, each to wash, easy to iron, solid tan color – I have five of the same shirt to ensure continuity.
Another important consideration is editing. The order of the shots I capture is not finalized as far as the final production sequence goes. Wearing the same outfit for every shot makes it much easier to move the order of shots around without seeing me wear outfits out of order, or apparently changing between consecutive shots.
This is one of many little continuity considerations that must be recognized and managed in order to raise the quality of production.