Over the years, I've produced and directed programming on location in more than 50 countries around the world. For everyone that spends lots of time on a film or video set – particularly in far away places – there are certain things you just don't leave behind. Novices could do well to learn what more experienced filmmakers consider "must have" items during a shoot. For me? The top 3 would probably be my laptop (I'm always writing), a raincoat, and a great bag. In fact, I'm a little obsessive about bags and have way more than I should. But on location, a bag is my office, so I'm not afraid to spend money for one that does what I need. So I asked some other experienced professionals what were the top 3 absolutely "must have" items they take to every location. Here's a few answers:
From Stu Hazeldine, Director of the upcoming feature film "The Shack:"
• Script in a leather binder.
• Director's Viewfinder.
• Blundstone boots.
From Lisa Swain, formerly Production Coordinator on films like "Big Fish," "Anger Management," and "Face/Off" and now Associate Professor of Cinema at Biola University:
• Swiss Army pocket knife.
From Korey Pollard, Assistant Director of "House," "Grey's Anatomy," "Nashville," "CSI," and "Monk:"
Charlie Peacock's West Coast Diaries.
• My Bible.
• AA meeting list.
And when I asked Ralph Winter, Producer of films like "X-Men," "Wolverine," "Planet of the Apes," and the upcoming "The Promise," and "Altered Carbon" from Netflix, he couldn't stick to 3 items, but since he produces $100 million plus movies in all kind of challenging conditions, I let him explain:
From years of traveling, I build several "go" bags, that are always ready. Probably too much to explain here. But for instance:
• Snow bag: heavy gear, sweat shirts, sweaters, hats, gloves, boots, various levels of socks, scarves, etc. Hockey size bag, good to –20 degrees. Ready for Fedx with manifest to any country.
• Computer gear: backup laptop updated exact copy of working laptop; backup drives (3); various cables, power supply for apartment, office, trailer; Apple TV; older but spare Apple Extreme for use in apartment; Blu-ray NTSC drive with USB for laptop (otherwise a problem in countries like Spain, which are PAL); computer repair tools (several packets).
• Phone gear: separate iPhone 6+ for local sim card (everything else syncs with iCloud and iTunes); phone repair tools and various covers.
• Passport, Global Entry, Nexus cards; local currency which I have built up over the years; never know when you need cash for taxi, or a favour.
• Reduce wallet size: I take only specific credits cards that I will use on location, leaving others at home so they don't get lost. Cards in my wallet I make of and keep copy in office and home, in case of loss.
• Always carry a pocket knife (good site for this is www.everydaycarry.com) but this is in packed luggage of course, along with cigar lighter, cutter, etc.