3 Rules For Working On Set

by | Apr 21, 2017 | On-Set


There’s a lot to learn when you first start working on-set. Set has its own rhythm and vocabulary, with some jobs having evolved over a hundred years of repetition. New people stand out. While this article won’t change that, here are three rules that will help a rookie avoid most major missteps while making a good impression.

Rule #1: Do your job first

Remember that you are being paid to do a job and that everyone is relying on you to do that job well. That means being tidy, professional, calm, and paying attention to anything that may interact with your role. Sometimes it’s easy for newbies to get caught up helping someone in their department, like a data manager helping the camera crew to move equipment. If this comes at the expense of doing your job, it is an instant problem. Remember that no one gets fired for taking care of their job, but they sure as hell can get fired for neglecting it in favor of someone else’s.

Rule #2: Help when you can

To contradict the rule above, and therefore prove its value, is the rule to help – when you can. Never sit idle. In fact, don’t sit, if possible. There is always something to be done in your department – always – even if it is just picking up the water bottles and tossing them into the recycle bin. Always be ready to help. This does not mean that you should be ready with an opinion unless it pertains to your job. Even then, be cautious. If your opinion is being sought, you will know. If it is not, stay quiet and remain ready to help.

Rule #3: Don’t touch other people’s shit

This last rule also wraps around the others. Its good to help, but don’t assume you have any business touching anyone else’s equipment. Even moving it a few inches so you can get by can, and does, cause issues. Ask before you help. Ask before you touch.

One last word of caution: expect to see seasoned veterans breaking these often. You will too, occasionally, once you get some experience. But be aware, it’s not a pecking order thing, it’s an experience thing. Experience will teach you when and where and how, etc. But in the meantime, stick to these and you’ll avoid a lot of drama and embarrassment.

That’s it. It’s a great way not to look so green, but rather to catch attention for all the right reasons. Good luck out there. We are looking forward to seeing you on-set.

What’s your best advice for greenies on-set? Give us your stories in the comments!

Daren Smith

Daren Smith