How to Shoot a Film at Stew Leonard’s Home
It was pouring. The trains in and out of Grand Central were delayed. Cars from NJ were stuck on the Turnpike. The Nest had a shoot for Stew Leonard, a supermarket chain throughout the Tri-State area.
Call time was 10am, but with the weather and all we weren’t going to make it in time. The shoot, based on Stu’s charity “Stewie the Duck”, works to teach children to swim in memory of Stu’s son who drowned in his childhood.
The plan was to recreate a birthday party, full of bubbles, beach balls, cakes, and of course swimming. After collecting everyone from the train station, and tackling the drive to Westport, CT, it was finally time to work.
The location was gorgeous, right on the beach with a lighthouse in the horizon. I got to try my hand at 16mm film, as well as wear a Steady Cam to try my hand at shooting footage.
Seven children showed up to the shoot, and filming began around 2. Bad idea. Early afternoon means nap time, and before any footage was shot the children were exhausted, when one began to cry they all did.
This is where Babson taught entrepreneurial skills come into place. How does one entertain seven crying children? You change the plan. Instead of having them eat cake, you switch the plan and have them run onto the beach and play with the sand. Build a sand castle. Collect the shells. Giggle as the waves roll in.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from working on a professional shoot, it would be to always be ready to change direction. Thinking about how to reach the final objective several different ways with different road maps leading to the same destination.