Take any medicine that you might need. They are often hard to get on location
especially in countries where medicine is "Socialized". Request that others
take things that they may need so that they don't deplete your own stores. Even
vitamin C can be hard to get.
Pack things that can leak under the reduced pressure of baggage compartments
in plastic bags to reduce leakage into clothing.
Eating little and drinking lots of water seems to help prevent Jet Lag. I think
that "No Jet Lag" from New Zealand works.
Carrying the bare minimum leaves room for purchases, but don't neglect rain
and cold protection or shoes to stand around in the rain. A hat, umbrella.
Power adapters are useful that you can buy and take, but there are some that
you will never find at home. They are the ones that switch the power on as they
The outlet in the bathroom for shavers only put out a few watts. I changed my
computer and 8 mm camcorder batteries with them. They would never charge film
camera batteries. Some hotels have larger transformers, but don't rely on it.
It is wise to carry tissues as many places do not provide them.
You might consider duty free booze and cigarettes as gifts even if you have
no use for them yourself.
I used to carry Spectra light meters to sell at cost to very grateful local
crewmembers. If you are talking to any of the crews in advance you might ask
if there are small things that you can bring them from the States in your baggage.
Maps are always hard to get. I have found that locals often don't know their
way around and get lost. If you are good with maps, get them. Many locals don't
know how to get good maps. Most tourist maps are useless.
About Film and Customs
There are many different rules about film exposed and not exposed. Some countries
don't want porn film to come in or be shot. Some it's just a matter of taxes.
Other places want what comes in to go back out. Local people can help you get
by rules that you may not be able to handle yourself.
You should consider two Carnets if you have to split the equipment along the
way. If you want to leave something or ship it home, you would be able. We took
the precaution of getting a carnet on a camera package that was ready to ship
if we had a problem and had stuff tied up somewhere.
I have found that local grips, AC's and gaffers to understand the biz better
than wardrobe and prop people. On the set you can do it yourself if it comes
down to that, but you are in trouble if the props and wardrobe are all wrong.
If you do things yourself, do it graciously to not embarrass the people that
you are not communicating well with. Show them how do it your way. Tell them
when it's going well. Tell them that you are getting what you want, even if
it is a struggle.
I have had problems with people who lacked experience in film as crews. It happens
when the local production company was spread too thin with other shoots. Many
companies have a good staff one crew deep. If they have other things going,
be careful and ask a lot of questions. You may not be a regular customer and
they may not worry about your repeat business.
Be prepared when things don't go according to plan to make do with what you
have. Getting bent out of shape doesn't help. Most problems are a communication
problem. You should assume that people are trying their best to please you.
Only after you are sure that they are flaky, get mad. In the Far East saving
face is very important and it will accomplish little blaming anyone. It costs
nothing to take the blame for not making your self clear.
Local holidays can shut things down, but with a small crew you may be able to
shoot things that would be difficult on a regular day. Crews often get premium
rates on holidays.
It seems that all the bast weather happens during scouting. Be prepared for
rain or overcast. Have things that can be changed to a rain shot. Get the wide
stuff when you can. You can cover or light a lot of tight shots. Be prepared
to get the wide stuff maybe even before the regular schedule starts. Forecasts
can be quite inaccurate.
There seems to be a worldwide tendency by people who don't understand to not
admit that they do not understand and do what they think they heard. Asking
for some one to repeat what you said can help.(Nicely) Asking is questioning
their ability to use your language, but very often things are not understood.
A cycle meter to check generator frequency for HMI's.
© Copyright 1999-2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.