Welcome to the wonderful world of production. Before you hit “OK” on that Instagram selfie of you chowing down on set – here are a few things you may want to consider as you make that climb up the production ladder.
YOUR OPINION – SHOULD REMAIN SILENTLY YOUR OPINION
As much as you have a creative opinion, and we all have them, you are on set, not at a dinner with your friends sharing your viewpoints on life. This is not place to let it all hang out. In this instance, sharing is unnecessary. Even if the director flat out asks you what you think – s/he doesn’t really mean it. What they’re really saying is – “You agree with me don’t you?”
As much as you think you have a better way to do it, or your creative idea is the best, there’s an Executive Producer, Supervising Producer, Field Producer and Director on the set. They likely have 50-years of combined experience. It’s not that your idea isn’t special or doesn’t warrant being heard, but this is the time for you to shut up and learn. Look around you, see what’s happening, and who’s doing what. When your neck is on the line for 3-5 million dollars for a series, then it’s your turn and you can scream your creative opinion from the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. Have at it. But for now, soak it in. Watch and learn.
FOOD IS REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT ON LOCATION OR ON A SET
Don’t be the person who is ALWAYS at the crafty (snack and beverage) table. Food is an important part of a shoot. The crew has been up since before the sun peaked over the East. They’ve been carrying cases, cameras, lights, props, furniture and in general doing the hustle without any disco music playing – do not be the one person who is at the crafty table stuffing your face. It just makes you look like you have nothing to do, or that you’re unwilling to help others when you have nothing to do. And people who have time on their hands are dispensable.
DON’T MESS WITH A HOT SET
A Hot Set is a set they will come back and shoot, but for right now the crew is either eating lunch, screening something, working over the script, or shooting something else. Whatever the case, the set marked with tape or string and has HOT SET written all over it, means do not touch, we’re in the middle of shooting and we aren’t finished. Don’t be the dumb-ass who picks up a pen and paper from the hot set cause you need to write a coffee order. You should have a pad and pen in your pocket at all times anyway.
YOU WANT SOCIAL HOUR – CALL YOUR FRIENDS
Don’t join in on the conversation when the Director is directing the actors. First it’s his/her conversation with the actors and second – you’re not there to socialize. The Director is giving direction and you have no part in the conversation unless someone asks you a direct question. Stand back. Far back. And listen. Watch. Learn.
WATCH WHERE YOU’RE WALKING
This may seem obvious. Almost like telling someone not to text and drive. But – I’ve seen it time and time again and I have been guilty of said crime – not looking where I’m going and bam – tripping over something important. Don’t be the one who trips over the light stand causing the light to move when they just spent 2 hours placing that light. People will give you dirty looks. Be observant – do not sleep walk while on set or on location.
Enjoy your first few times on set or on location – they can be exhilarating. The most important point is to be observant – you’ll learn a lot. A Lot.
I’ve had my share of rookie moves on set – come on spill. What’s the funniest mistake you’ve seen happen on a set or on location?