5 Ways to Make the Best Impression on Set

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Photo Source: Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

You’ve done it! You booked a job and are about to head to your first day. But once you arrive on set, how can you make the best impression? Here are five things you can do.

1. Respect everyone.
One of the most important things to remember to do on set is to respect the importance of every department and the work they need to do. This means respecting the costumer as she comes over in the middle of your performance to tuck in your shirt, the makeup artist as they rush over while you’re preparing for a deeply emotional scene, and the hair stylist who checks throughout your performance to make sure all your stray hairs are flattened out.

This may seem like simple courtesy and should come naturally to anyone but when you’re emotionally preparing and contending with nerves, these people may seem like they’re interfering with you and it might be easier to become less courteous. How you act with every department on a set can gain their support or alienate them throughout your shoot. However you act, don’t doubt this information will travel back all the way up to the director and producers. Be respectful and gracious with every person even under challenging circumstances.

2. Know your boundaries. 
Don’t try to be overly personal with anyone in power or the star on the set. All of us want to be liked so we may feel pressure to make contact with other people and even attempt to be more personal or friendly with some. Remember you’re there to do a job. Be respectful and cordial to everyone, but don’t try for additional attention or personally befriending people. It can lead to you being seen as interfering with people’s concentration and privacy. Stay in your lane and know your place in the chain of command. Allow actors their privacy. You’re more likely to be liked if you do that more than anything else.

What to Know About Being on Set for the First Time

3. Arrive on time (or 15 minutes early.) 
This may seem like common sense. Who would come late to work? Unfortunately, people don’t account for traffic, they procrastinate, or they don’t recognize the importance of being accounted for by their call time. Some actors will rush to a set looking hurried and have an excuse for their lateness. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and having to make up for that mistake while you’re working is additional pressure. Plus, it will impact your performance. No matter what your time management issue, find the most creative solution: set your clock back, have two alarms, or don’t go out the night before. Do what you need to do so you can be early or at the very least, be on time.

4. Avoid trouble.
There may be situations in which people are having conflicts on the set. Actors may be discussing issues or directors and producers may conflict with each other or other actors. It’s critical that you stay away from all trouble. Don’t engage with complaining actors. Don’t gossip. Stay positive, stay focused, and stay away from trouble in all forms!

5. Be flexible.
It’s critical that you stay open to taking direction from the director, producer, showrunner, AD, and any authority giving you instruction. Actors who get argumentative become a problem. It’s essential for an actor to remain flexible about when and how they work rather than demanding and inflexible. Being easy to work with makes you attractive to rehire! 

Remember these five ways to make a good impression and you’re on your way to building a career.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Author Headshot
Joanne Baron
Joanne Baron is an actor, producer, and the artistic director of the Joanne Baron/D.W. Brown Studio in Santa Monica, Calif.
See full bio and articles here!
Author Headshot
D.W. Brown
D.W. Brown is an actor, writer, director, and studio co-owner and head teacher of the Baron Brown Studio in Santa Monica, California. Brown is also the author of the acclaimed acting guide “You Can Act” and a second book, “2500 Years of Wisdom: Sayings of the Great Masters.”
See full bio and articles here!