Congratulations! Perhaps it’s your first day on one of our film sets or maybe you’re a seasoned professional that just wants to make films. Either way, we would like to make it an exciting opportunity that could kickstart your career in film or simply meet a deep desire within you. So, we’re here with a guide to help you fit in and make a good impression with the rest of the crew.
Some of the following tips sound pretty straightforward but it’s surprising how some people behave on set. Follow these steps and you’re guaranteed to nail your first day on set and leave an impression with people who could be instrumental in helping you launch a successful career.
1. Always act professionally
Whenever you’re on set it’s important to remember you’re at work and act accordingly. It can be fun on set but your priority is getting the job done and being seen to do so. Arrive early and ready to start your chosen role as soon as the day begins and of course, never be late – you don’t want to set off on the wrong foot.
The very nature of our sets means that a lot of the cast and crew might not be very experienced in their current role. It does not mean that they are not skilled in other roles, so they may be able to help you develop in the role you’re in.
Make sure that when people notice you it’s for being good at your job and nothing else. If you’re serious about being part of the film industry you never want to be caught playing about or being idle. And, we cant stress this enough, turn off your phone. Being caught playing on it, or worse, having it beep during a take is not something you want to be remembered for.
2. Take pride in your work
When you’re on set, make sure you learn quickly and do everything that’s required of you. When you’re given a task take ownership and complete it to the best of your ability. If, for any reason, you cant complete it, let the person who delegated the task know as soon as possible. Because it doesn’t matter what your role is on the production, your co-workers are relying on you to do your job so that they can do theirs. Take pride in your work and always perform in the way that is most helpful to your team.
For example, if you’re asked to photograph the set and email the images to a colleague then use file names that describes what the images are and an email subject that will make it easy to find if they need to locate it in the future. It’s little details like these that will make life easier down the line.
Remember that this is your chance to prove that you’re a valuable asset to the team. If you’re working well and making things easier for your colleagues, they might just think of you when they hiring for the next project.
3. Learn the right way to ask questions
When you’re new to the industry, hell, even when you’ve been in it for decades, you’re sure to have a lot of questions. And that’s fine, but it’s important to know the right way to do it. Firstly, there’s a right person to ask. If you’re looking for the bathroom, don’t make this your opportunity to speak to the Director or Head of Department, ask someone at a similar level to yourself.
There’s also a right time to ask questions. Unless its something urgent and relating to the production, it doesn’t take precedence over what’s important for the wider group. If there’s work in progress it’s probably not the best time to pipe up. And if it’s something you can figure out for yourself, or with the use of Google, that’s a much better use of your time.
4. Learn how to listen
This might sound like a weird one but people do fail at this simple behaviour. There are two ways you should be listening when on set. The first way is
The second type of listening is passively, and this is where you distinguish yourself from the crowd. This type of listening comes from remaining on set at all times and observing everything around you. By silently observing what’s going on you’ll learn more and may even be able to step in and help sometimes. You’ll be alert and aware of what’s happening and what the next step is without being told. It might be more fun to play around or raid the on-set snacks during your down time but this is what will help you stand out from your peers.
Finally, learn when NOT to listen. If you notice that the Director and a Producer are having a hushed conversation near you then politely move away to give them some space.
5. Keep it tidy
Always throw away your rubbish. Not only is it unprofessional and rude to leave litter lying around, a misplaced piece of rubbish discovered in the background of a scene could render a perfect shot useless.
Organise your belongings and any filming gear to be as inconspicuous as possible. If there’s no set place for your stuff then find somewhere for it that’s out of the way. Having the set organised in this way is important as we often shoot in small places which makes keeping everything out of shot difficult.
6. Dress appropriately
You may want to impress your colleagues and actors with your unique sense of style. Don’t. Your clothes need to be both practical and professional. Tasks on a film set can range from manually moving pieces of set and equipment around or climbing ladders to adjust lights to running to the D
The best outfits to wear on set are dark-coloured, unrestrictive, practical clothes and comfortable shoes that you’d be happy to run around in during a long day. And if you’re going to be working outside then be prepared for the weather – be sure to bring warm clothes or a hat and suncream, depending on the location.
7. Think about the next step
You may have heard the phrase “Don’t work hard, work smart”. Well on film sets it’s “W
For example, you may be asked to remove something from the current shot. Don’t just move it, think about where you’re going to put it that will be clear of every shot, rather than just putting it down and having to move it again in five minutes. But be quick about it.
If you can preempt potential issues and resolve them before they become a problem you’re doing your job well. You should also think ahead to the next day’s tasks before leaving set if you already know what’s expected of you. This may all sound intimidating but we promise it will all get easier the longer you spend on set and comes from learning and watching those around you.
8. Use your common sense
A lot of these tips boil down to common sense and always doing what you can to make people’s lives easier – including your own. In addition to these tips, it’s important that, just like in your day-to-day life, your safety is your own priority and that if you have any concerns about the safety of others, you do something about it.
Again, this will all get easier the longer you spend on set, but this guide should give you a head start. If you’re listening well and observing everything around you, then you’ll be learning as you work and getting better at your job every day. Take these lessons on board and always think about what you’re doing and how you can make things easier for other people on set.
Finally, good luck for your day on one of our film sets!