It’s safe to say that most filmmaking students aspire to work on a film set. Whether they’ve found work while studying, or landed a job after graduation, it can sometimes be hard for new filmmakers to know what is expected of them on set. Here are four simple etiquette tips for working on a production whether you’re a grip, production runner or camera operator.
1 – Attitude
It’s fair to say that anyone who has worked on a set will have found it taxing. Your attitude at work is possibly an even more important asset than your skill set. Your composure is the first thing people will notice about you and a positive outlook is a filmmaker’s greatest strength. Filmmaking can consume heaps of both time and energy, and if you’re going to work for over twelve hours with the same group of people, it’s pretty damned important to ensure you get along with them. By having an easy-going and positive attitude not only will you find your time on set more enjoyable, but you’ll find more people will want to work with you in future.
2 – Opinion
Although your opinion is valuable, it isn’t always necessary. Voicing what you think about a shoot can distract your fellow filmmakers. When you’re on set, be careful what you say as you never know who could be listening and you could potentially throw off those who are trying to develop the film’s story. As a beginner, focus on how you can make your performance better and improve your work habits.
3 – Listen
Being able to listen to instruction and advice and apply it to your work is a great asset to any filmmaker. When you first get hired on a set, make sure to develop your listening skills as soon as possible to ensure you’re performing your job to the best of your abilities. Ask for clarification if you’re unsure about instructions, since repeating a job twice will eat up production time and costs. Stay alert while you work and try to take in the information both your department and others are providing you. By listening to your co-workers, especially those with more experience, you can gain knowledge that will not only help your immediate position, but also any future jobs.
4 – Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone was a beginner at some point and most filmmakers are willing to lend their advice to you. Not only will you be showing your co-workers how interested you are in learning everything there is to know, but they will appreciate your thirst for knowledge. Try to limit your conversations and questions to times that will not interfere with production, but make the most out of your fellow filmmakers’ experience.
By following these tips on film sets you will only help elevate your knowledge and status. Popularity can go a long way in the film industry and you never know who will offer you a job one day!