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Backstage Experts

5 Tips for How to Act On Set When You’re Not Acting

5 Tips for How to Act On Set When You’re Not Acting

Whether you’ve been acting for years or you have just booked your first gig, an actor’s day on set can be absolutely thrilling. But do you know how act when you’re not acting? That’s when it’s you (and not your character) that people are going to be watching. And that’s why it’s so important to have appropriate manners on set.

1. Be on time. You will most likely receive your call sheet the evening before your shoot. Allow enough time for traffic, so you can avoid stress upon arrival to set. This is a job; professionals show up on time.

2. Follow instruction. This goes all the way from designated actor parking, signing in, to going to your honeywagon. If you’re going to be leaving your trailer at any time (for instance, to visit craft services or use a restroom outside of your trailer), tell a crew member. When you are called to set, go right away.

3. Be a civilized eater. You know the basics. Chew with your mouth closed, eat moderate portions, bring your food up to your mouth…and if you’re in costume, make sure you either protect it with napkins or, if you have enough time (and approval from the wardrobe department), change back into your day clothes to eat. It’s important to keep stains away!

4. Have two-sided conversations. It’s a habit for actors to talk all about their latest projects—and that’s OK! But make sure the conversation isn’t one-sided. Whether you’re talking with another actor or a crew member, be extra nice to all and show that you are interested in them by being a good listener. 

5. Stay positive. Complaining on set can be toxic for actors. In order to uphold your outstanding reputation, it is of great importance to have an attitude of gratitude! Please and thank you go a long way, too. When you’re grateful, people notice. Being grateful, you recognize that you are a part of a project bigger than yourself—and you will be remembered fondly and have a wonderful experience.

Your acting career is blossoming! And now, your reputation of being a professional, grateful actor can as well. Enjoy! 

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

Mae Ross is an acting teacher and Backstage Expert. For more information, check out Ross’ full bio!

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