BTS—Behind the Scenes of an Indie Film Shoot

  Filmmaking is hard work. Hard as writing a novel, building a website, or resisting chocolate cake. But with some difficult tasks come fun times you can’t get any other way. In filmmaking that includes the production phase, the time of being on the set, behind the scenes, managing (or creating) chaos. At least that’s what I tried to do (or not do) as second assistant director on Dallas Christian Filmmakers’ YouTube interactive film project this past January. What I really needed was someone to follow me around and pick up my clipboard when I set it down. More on that later.

Day One

I stayed outside the shooting rooms, echoing “Quiet on the set, please!” for those of us hanging out in the hall, waiting to be useful. Someone asked what my “title” was.

“Second Assistant Director,” I replied. “In other words, a glorified PA.”

My friend Elaine, a Production Assistant, said, “Hey, don’t be talking down PAs.”

Adam, another PA, added, “And that’s Pa to you.”


The location was way cool. We shot in the historic Ambassador Hotel. It has the oldest elevator in Texas and it can take you six stories to explore each floor. Well, we didn’t do that exactly since a few people live there.

End of Day Two, after “That’s a wrap!”

It all started when I wanted to take my friend, Aimee, to the rooftop via the maintenance elevator. Then I grabbed Jessica and before we made it to the end of the hall, word had spread, and I now had a group.

Kyra scared me to death when she sat on the edge of the roof. I was terrified, and having a blast at the same time. Nice, huh?

Back on the second floor, we needed to finish packing up. But then someone asked if we’d been to the basement yet. The basement? No way could we miss out on that.

The Ambassador is one of the best buildings I’ve been in, and the creepiest. You just don’t want to be on any floor, walk the six flights of steps or ride the maintenance elevator alone. So by the time we went to the basement, we were ready to spook each other. It’s the place where even when someone knows you’re behind them, you can grab them and make them jump.


Yes, the roof and basement adventures were awesome.

Oh and my clipboard? Yes, I laid it down to round up PAs to help serve pizza and drinks, run upstairs for cups, and eat before the kids got the last piece. Wherever I laid it down that final time is where it remains to this day, as far as I know.

Fun stuff.


For Him,

Sarah Elisabeth