Whether you’re an unpaid intern, a brand new crew member, or just someone thinking about entering the world of production, here are some things you should know.
- Get any experience that you can.
Get that foot in the door. Take what’s available even if it doesn’t appear to be a job that will further your career. Trust that it will. An acquaintance of mine took his first set job as a craft service worker. Today, he’s worked his way to line producer and will soon be fulfilling his dream to be a director. Don’t be afraid to take an odd job. If anything, you’ll get the chance to network, which is VERY important.
- If you’re on time, you’re late.
In the film and video production industry it’s common practice to show up early to set. If you show up at call time, it’s likely people are already concerned about where you are… or more likely, mad at why you’re not there. To avoid annoying your crew mates and possibly losing your job, plan to arrive 15-30 minutes early. In the event something doesn’t go quite as planned, you’ll still have a better chance of being on time.
- Get ready to wait.
So you’ve come early and you’re all ready to start production? Great! Now sit and wait. In this industry, there is a good amount of sitting around while you wait for numerous things such as the talent’s arrival, a lens change, a camera angle change, or lighting adjustments. Remember, a set is made up of many people and many equally important teams so try to be patient if your skills are put on hold.
- Keep busy.
This one is more for interns and production assistants. Standing idly by as others run around working doesn’t leave a good impression. If you currently don’t have a task at hand, find something helpful to do. I wouldn’t suggest fiddling with other people’s equipment but maybe ask around (without interrupting work flow) if there’s anything you can to do help.
- Be prepared to write it down.
This may mean bringing a pen and paper or having a writing app on the front page of your phone. When being given tasks or a list of items, you may think you can remember them. You can’t. To be safe, just assume it’s a long list and write it down.
- Stay up-to-date.
Make a point to learn about and be open to new developments in technology as well as technique. This will help you in being creative, cost-efficient, and you may even impress your coworkers.