By Tony Natoli
Be on time. (15 minutes before your call time is the best).
Check in with a P/A or A/D, get your voucher, and start filling it out, (so at checkout, it keeps the lines moving faster.) Bring proper ID if it is your first day. Proper ID includes either your passport, or your drivers license along with your social security card. Sometimes it is a good idea to Xerox clear copies, and keep in your personal belongings.
Bring proper wardrobe or props if you were asked. Don’t complain or change what wardrobe gives you, or what hair and make up does to your looks. Maintain it throughout the day.
Bring proper make up, sun screen, hair products etc. Bring choices, that are ready to wear (not wrinkled). Bug sprays, mud boots, sweater, (common sense items for your comfort or protection) etc.
Never change wardrobe or jewelry without asking someone from Wardrobe.
Return props to props and wardrobe to wardrobe, either when at wrap, lunch, or after completion of any particular scene.
Listen for P/A’s or A/D’s directions.
“Rolling” means be quiet.
Key terms to pay attention to are: “PICTURE, ROLLING, ACTION, CUT, BACK TO ONE, TURNING AROUND, TIGHTER, NEW DEAL”
NEVER sleep or be on your cell phone, (best to leave cell phone in your car or out of sight) it is inappropriate. Especially when one of the above key terms, is yelled out.
Do not EVER sit in a Directors chair. It is an earned tradition, and shows disrespect to those who have earned it. Never touch any personal items around the chair, it is the actor’s “home away from their trailer”.
Leave main cast alone, do not approach them, unless they approach you.
Constant touching, hugging, physical contact is inappropriate in the work place.
Leave your camera at home. (Remember that a cell phone can be interpreted as a ≥camera≤ and one should be cautious about being on a cell phone when near or on set).
Remember your start marks (position 1) and your actions, so when the camera angle changes, you can match your actions.
Know your rules. Meal penalties, wardrobe changes, times in and out, total hours.
Never argue with anyone, if there is an issue, discuss it with the union.
Bring something to read, (magazines, crossword puzzles, novel), do not bring anything that is noisy (Game Boys, DVD players, I pod’s, even conversations etc.). By the way, using earphones for any of the previous devices don’t let you hear directions and give the impression you aren’t paying attention, they are inappropriate. Many expensive items seem to disappear on sets, so leave them at home.
Be sure to let a P/A or A/D know if you are going to the bathroom, or if you leave holding area.
Never leave the set early, nor ask to leave. If you committed to work, you have committed to a full day. (at least 12 hours).
When on set, keep voices low, as crew is always working.
Do not gather at video village (the area where the director, script supervisor and other executives, gather around, to watch small monitors, that show what is being filmed), or craft service. (The area where food has been put out, for the crew to eat).
Breakfast is a courtesy, don’t always expect it.
Know where to be. (if suddenly you are alone at holding, find out where everyone is and / or if you’re needed). Things always seem to happen when you go to the bathroom.
Look out for each other.
Lunch lines are set so that crew eats first (this is not a pecking order, so don’t take it personally) they have to be back at work before you do. Stand ins are considered crew.
If you are loaded into a van for transportation, please use good common sense. Load up from the back forward.
Be on time, to get sides, check wardrobe, for color cover, and time to read through your sides.
Be prepared to watch rehearsal.
Go to work with crew, as soon as rehearsal is over, do not wait for someone to yell out 2nd team. After lunch, be on the mark, when you hear “we’re back”.
Key terms to pay attention to are: “PICTURE, ROLLING, ACTION, CUT, TURNING AROUND, TIGHTER, NEW DEAL, WE’RE BACK” Don’t wait to be called in, grasp the second sense and be there to step in when actors leave.
Nothing frustrates A/D’s, camera operators, grips and electricians more than to be waiting on you to show up, or repeatedly called for. If you hear “2nd team,” run in, do not saunter in, or take your time to get to your mark.
When standing in, never be on your phone, eat, or TALK.
Go with the crew flow, never camp your belongings in a work path (between stage and camera cart, prop cart, electric staging etc.
Never sit on any equipment (i.e. apple boxes, coolers), these are others working tools.
Never touch or lean on anything, many items on set, are easily breakable or placed, as in a “hot set”.
Stare into the eyes of the other stand ins, go from person to person (look at him, look at her, etc.)
If appropriate, tell the actor any changes that were made (marks moved, anything to be aware of: like rocks, roots, branches sticking out, slippery terrain etc.), while they were away.
Do not talk to them about anything other than work related issues, unless they talk to you. They might be rehearsing their lines in their head, or concentrating on the tasks in front of them.
The electricians, grips, and camera dept. are trying to focus the lights and camera on you. Based on what you saw at rehearsal, be accurate in what you saw the actor do, to mimic the actions appropriately, so that they don’t need to waste time refocusing later. Be mindful of the movement of large equipment, you have to stay on your mark, but “dance” with the crew as they move heavy equipment around you.