Tim Robbins on What Gets Lost With Modern Filmmaking Workflow
Every now and then, a seasoned talent talks about her/his experience adapting their skills to the filmmaking revolution.
The reduction in size and cost of equipments, along with the digital revolution have democratised filmmaking; but they’ve also modified the pace behind what is a craft doubled of an Art.
And if speed is the producer’s friend, it creates cracks within which a dose of magic gets lost.
American actor Tim Robbins sheds light on another aspect of the filmmaking process that has been altered with the change of pace and workflow: the dailies.
When film was the only way to go, at the end of each day, rolls were sent, developed, synced to sound, printed and sent back to the set. The ritual of watching dailies consisted of watching the previous day of work. The filmmaker and a handful of key players (which often included leads actors) would gather in a screening room and assess where they were at.
You can now watch what’s happening in real time in the video village, and quickly scan the takes if need be. Of course, nothing prevents you from still going through the dailies ritual, but when time is ticking, everything that isn’t imperative gets crushed.
Tim Robbins has been part of this ritual most of his career, and is now going through its disappearance. And here are some of the elements that made dailies such a valuable component of the filmmaking magic:
Why Dailies Matter
- You can go see the process and your work as it evolves.
- It’s a great way to learn how to act on film, because when you make a mistake, you correct very quickly.
- It makes everyone fallible, so it’s ok that you’re making mistakes because we learn from that mistakes.
- It helps build community on a movie set. Oftentimes you go from dailies to dinner, and it’s more of a communal experience.
I find it to be an interesting point, one that as filmmakers from the revolution, we might not think about. It’s a process and each filmmaker will chose what works for them, but being aware that that’s a way to do it leaves you with the opportunity to test out and chose, and that’s priceless.