The TV / FILM set is a busy environment. BE FOCUSED
Time is of the most value and getting as much done as possible in a block of time is key.
This requires high focus and mutual respect for the entire time we are on call. Perhaps doing your best is not your thing, but please respect all others that want to work hard. Being focused on set/stage is also a safety issue. There are a lot of moving parts. Folks get hurt when they fool around.
TRUST THE PROCESS – you are but one small element of a huge picture, even when you are the star. Sometimes hundred of people help every moment happen. Focus on your part of the puzzle. Prepare yourself to be great, perform the best you can, the move on. If something goes awry, breathe before reacting. Stay in the moment through the good, bad and ugly. Not knowing everything is normal. You need to know your part and perhaps how it fits into the other actors, your set, props and costume. But that’s about it. The rest is out of your hands and our of your worry zone.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are no stupid/bad questions!!!
HOWEVER, know that your questions may be keeping another form doing their work to make you look great. Consider timing. Want to learn on set – WATCH others work and listen. Don’t expect them to become your mentor/teacher when they are focused on their job.
BE A TEAM PLAYER – The only harder than getting your first gig is getting your second. When you are great on set, the chances of that director/producer hiring you back is great. bad attitudes, laziness, etc… divas get followed by their reputations. Be someone folks want to work with and for. Stay positive. Have fun. be professional and focused at all times.
CALL TIMES – generally a professional shows up at least 15-minutes before call time. For me this is all about craft services (FREE FOOD). But it is really about respecting the production crew that has been there for hours setting up sets, props, costumes, sound and lights to make you look and sound great. the performer often gets all the kudos, but it is the design and support staff that does the most work. So be grateful they did all the heavy lifting for you so you can focus on your craft of being funny, dramatic etc
Early = Ontime
Ontime = Late
Late = Fired
ARRIVING ON SET
Once on location we need to be quiet. Even when we are not rolling sound and film, we need to be listening for directions and looking out for possible danger. Folks move fast. When we the artist show up on set, we often are not on the same page yet. They are work hard and fast to be ready for us. We need to stay out of their way. Find the appropriate holding area (if you don’t have a trailer) until you are called to places.
CALL TO SET
Once on set we need to be 100% focused. Listen to everything. This is the worst time to be thinking – or talking 0 about anything BUT the task at hand. Watch out for props and set dressers. They are our best friend until we are in their way. You don’t want a lighting or sound instrument whacking you in the back of the head. If it does, it’s probably because you were goofing off. Don’t.
Listen for directions. The director (or first AD – assistant director) will block the leads. usually an AD or PA (Production Assistant) will tell extras where to go and when.
TIME TO WORK
QUIET ON THE SET – means QUIET ON THE SET. NO TALKING. No lip smacking, no laughing, no crying… 100% focused on your task during the following take. The last thing you want to do is be the one that ruins a great take.
IN OR OUT – Once we are about roll, there is no going in and out of filming area. a PA should be at the doors keeping folks form ruining takes.
ROLLING – Don’t move. This a call for sound and cameras to start recording
SLATE – That’s the famous clapper board. We will probably only do a clap. This is so that all the cameras and sounds can be lined up in editing.
ACTION – OK NOW you can start. Breathe. Folks are so eager and start talking while director is still saying the word “ACTION”.
– At this point EVERYONE in front and behind the camera needs to be 150% focused on their task. your performance relies on all of your team. Whether the star, supporting player, extra or boom stick operator, anyone can ruin a take with a single unfocused moment, wasting time and all that hard work form the rest of the team.
BE IN THE MOMENT
STILL ROLLING – Director wants to make a quick note but not cut and start over.
CUT – OK you can relax a bit but not too much. Stay focused. The goal is to get filming again as soon as possible.
RESET – go back to start of last take
CHECKING THE GATE – Director and team makes sure they got what they needed from the take. Usually a sign they are moving on
MOVING ON – Going onto next scene to be filmed.
TURN AROUND – filming same scene form different angle
THAT’s A WRAP – It’s time to go home.
Take a breath, unwind. This is usually when you leave your phone in the dressing room.
Stop focusing on your work and focus on yourself a second. What did you bring with you that you need to take home.
Perhaps hit that craft services one more time. Why be a starving artist when free food is available, right?