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Advice

Ways to Make Your Film Crew Like You

1. Be aware of your surroundings.

"There are 1,001 things on set that can injure you if you are not paying attention. When a grip yells, 'Make a hole!' or 'Points!' they're saying it for your safety so you don't take a piece of dolly track or a c-stand to the face. Dental work is expensive. Also, doorways and entrances/exits are not good places to stand and have a conversation. When you're not acting or working, we are. Be courteous and step out of the way so we can do our jobs."

-David A. Hoffman, key grip

2. Know your own continuity.

"A script supervisor has to pay attention to everything between 'Action' and 'Cut.' That includes actors' actions, wardrobe, hair, makeup, set decoration, props, spoken words, sound, lighting, camera angle, camera placement, frame line, director's favorite takes, D.P.'s favorite takes, the time of each take. We even go as far to take note of on what word the actor tucks her hair behind her ear. With all that, something is bound to get missed. If you don't want your best performance to end up on the cutting room floor because it doesn't match, know your continuity." (See accompanying story on continuity.)

-Melinda Denny, script supervisor

3. Be prepared.


"There is nothing worse than unprepared actors. Not having lines memorized takes up precious time that could have been used to create chemistry with your fellow actors. Coming in memorized allows you to really bring life into the scene. Also, by coming in prepared, it shows the crew and other cast members that you respect them."

-Joey Schow, assistant director

4. Don't ever leave without letting someone know.

"If you have to leave the area that has been designated for you, let someone on the production team know, preferably the second A.D., even if you are just going to the restroom or craft services. You may think this is annoying to the production team, but we need to know where talent is at all times. A lot of time is spent waiting for the shot to be set up, and when it's ready, talent needs to be ready as well. I can't tell you how many times actors wander around set, and when it comes time for them to be in front of the camera, they are nowhere to be found. A production team likes nothing less than having to play hide-and-seek with an MIA talent. Also, don't ever leave without completing the necessary paperwork. It is the job of the UPM or the production coordinator to make sure that all of your paperwork is filled out, from appearance release forms to Exhibit G's to payroll. It is not our job to chase you down and force you to sign the paperwork, or to scan the paperwork and then email it to you for your signature because you left early without informing the production team. Become familiar with the standard paperwork forms, and, even if the director or the first A.D. has dismissed you from set, always check in with the production team at the end of the day before leaving set."

-John Cleland, UPM/producer

5. Trust your makeup and hair people.

"We are there to make sure you look as good, or bad, as your character requires. If there is something you don't like-for your character, not personal preference-talk to your artist or stylist. Do not adjust it yourself without permission! There is no faster way to show disrespect for the department and make yourself an enemy. If you're dealing with someone difficult or inexperienced, talk to production and work out a peaceful middle ground. Hair and makeup are your closest allies and often your biggest advocates. Develop a good relationship with us."

-Lexx Staats, makeup and hair

6. "Don't be a diva."


-Every crew member interviewed

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