The heavens are illuminated at that time of year, when raindrops are scarce and far between, followed by strong thunder sounds and incredibly vivid lightning sparks. Aha! The harbinger has arrived, and the dry season has returned.
The dry season is beneficial for most film producers in Nigeria’s film industry (Nollywood) since it allows us to shoot mostly outside sequences without fear of rain; yet, it is not without its drawbacks, whether you’re shooting interiors, exteriors, or both.
The dry season in Nigeria begins around August and ends around May, an average of ten sunny months with occasional very hot, searing, or warm heat waves. As the temperature rises, the atmosphere becomes both relaxing and aggravating.
The shooting schedule may require 5 days of interiors and 2 days of exteriors in a place where the heatwave is intense, or when ambient sound forces you to shut off the ACs, fans, and windows for takes, it can get pretty brutal, and you’re left wondering how the cast and crew will stay productive without suffering any injuries.
For a professional outlay of the tips, we got recommendations from the popular Iyk Affectionately known as the Baale of sets due to his many beautiful jobs done over the years in Nollywood, he was the set designer for any vintage jobs you can think of right now – Sakobi, Witches, One Chance, Oganigwe, Igodo, Stolen Bible, and many other vintage jobs that you can remember now.
Let’s take a look at his tips:
- STAY HYDRATED
When filming in the heat, it’s especially crucial for your cast and crew to stay hydrated. Throughout the day, drink plenty of water, maybe other fluids too. Don’t even wait till you’re thirsty to drink to avoid dehydration.
- WEAR LOOSE CLOTHING
When it comes to clothing in hot weather, producers should be open and honest with their cast ahead of time so that they may plan accordingly.
Your cast may not have a wardrobe choice, but if they know ahead of time, they can bring something cool to change into after each scene.
It’s a great idea if you’re able to add something lighter and cooler to your luggage as you enter the location. Trousers, T-shirts, and polos should be your ‘staples.’
- ENTER LOCATION WITH HAND FANS AND EVEN HAND-HELD ACS
Now, this tip is for actors. Kindly buy small electric/battery-operated hand fans and air conditioners. You will need them. In fact, in the past, we used to put some damp towels or facecloths in the freezer so that actors can dab them on their faces, necks, and skin when hot.
The idea is brilliant because, in the set, the lights are always too harsh for the skin that you end up dripping in no time.
Therefore, while waiting for the Director to call the shots, you need to cool off with your electric hand fans to help keep all your makeup and makeover intact.
is especially because cooling systems are usually turned off even before “ACTION!” is called because of the noise decibels that come from them. However, there is a word of advice for the crew especially the Director.
The notion of the actors coming with their own small fans is smart. But there is something you can do to ease the heat off too. Kindly instruct the lightman to ‘kill’ the lights until you’re ready to shoot.
- GO TO LOCATION WITH INSECTICIDES
Here, the suggestion is to get one insecticide or even bug spray for night scenes. You might be wondering but just like in raining season, there are also insects in the dry season.
Mosquitos, sun, and sand flies are common at night. Do you even know that because of the heavy lights, there are some insects that are attracted to the scenes? For example, there was a job in Bayelsa that we had one night shoot outside, and the entire cast and crew were almost eaten alive by bugs.
We were shooting in the dead of the night and we could see the bugs crowding in on us in most of the scenes. They were attracted by the very strong shooting lights.
The best advice is, go with mosquito and bug repellent creams and tubes too. They will help a great deal.
- TAKE COLD DRINKS ALONG
This tip will come as a plea to the production management. At the budgeting stage, kindly include cold drinks, at least, for the cast and crew while on set.
You might say the Welfare has already taken care of that. But no, there are times, people just get thirsty on set and they can’t see even if it’s chilled water to cool off.
We are not saying, bring the cooling van to the location but if budget permits, why not? Just get a cooler with ice, water, and beverages in it to help out.
- OPT FOR SHEDS IF YOU CAN
When you are shooting exteriors, why not opt to shoot under sheds if you can because of the scorching weather condition. In short, the entire cast and crew members should try and bring umbrellas and sunscreen to the location to help shed both equipment and talents.
- SHOOT INTERIOR SCENES WITH FEW PEOPLE
Concerned about everyone being ‘locked’ in a hot room for hours, you don’t need that. Remember that with many individuals in a small place shooting, there will be more noise, heat, and body odor to grapple with. Keep as many people offset as possible because of overcrowding and suffocation.
- TAKE SOME BREAKS TOO
In high heat and general production alike, cast and crew can become overheated or even plain grouchy as a result. Please don’t let them push themselves to the point of overwork. Your production will pay for it as your acts could take ill or even pass out.
In one production at Ikorodu, Lagos, the lead actress suddenly slumped… out of exhaustion. She had shot all night through another day and on.
It’s not funny. Directors can help by being more patient and taking some breaks when they notice a sign of breakdown and exhaustion. Yes, we know you are rushing to meet up with the budget but health too is important for the overall success of the project.
Now that the dry seasons are here, we hope you find these interesting tips useful in your next movie production.