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Set Etiquette - (What to do and NOT to do-THAT is the question:)

How to behave, impress, & be remembered.

(Thank you Patrick Dumas for bringing this important subject to my attention and submitting a LOT of this content:) Founder, Director, Exec Producer of Midnight Samurai Films)

WHEN SUBMITTING YOURSELF: Briefly in a paragraph explain your submission info., I.E., Name, Headshot & Resume, Demo Reel, and agent if you have one. Ending it with... Thank you very much for your consideration to my submission. Regards, John or Jane Doe When replying back, the speed of your reply is noticed! Being punctual in responding to text and emails and phone calls and being engaged in their production will show you are reliable and can communicate. You never know who might be working on a smaller scale production that is also working on bigger projects; Crew often wears many hats! If you get a text or email notification from your Agent or a production manager or casting director, answer them quickly, as delays for hours could result in you missing an opportunity. T.V. Series move VERY QUICKLY! "Ok thank you, I can get that to you asap. Thank you very much!" , shows more professionalism than 'ok sure. Thx'. Be polite! Ask how the director how he/she would like to be referred to, some prefer Sir or Ma'am, and others abhor it. Never assume! Some sets are very laid back and relaxed, and some reflect business world professionalism and etiquette, know which one with whom you have the privilege of working. They have titles, and there is experience behind those titles that should be respected regardless of level cast. Whether you are an Extra, Supporting or Lead on a production, treat every level of Production with such courtesy and respectful demeanor that will reflect on you being regarded as a professional. YOU ARE BOOKED! NOW WHAT? You get an email, phone call or text from Production or your Agent- You Are Booked! Now stay ALERT and attentive to your phone calls and email. You will hear from Wardrobe what wardrobe to bring, what to wear, to come 'Camera Ready', (meaning they don't have to do makeup, hair or wardrobe you can hit the set and start shooting), or not meaning they will do makeup hair and wardrobe when you get there, or they will confirm what your sizes are so they can pull a variety of wardrobe for you. You may hear from the 1st or 2nd A.D., or P.M.(depending on how big production is) if they need to discuss transportation to get you to where the film or show is shooting. Make sure you get the D.O.D., Day of Day's which shows you location and the time you are expected on set. I don't have to say this, but TRAFFIC IS STUPID! ALLOW FOR THAT! One person can hold up production and be responsible for throwing the entire shoot off kilter by being late once. Don't be that person, especially if being on time (i:e: 15 minutes early) is not your thing. I use the WAZE app, and leave earlier than it suggests just so I'm not stressed going to set. If they want wardrobe, bring at LEAST 3 options, including shoes, belts, appropriate underwear etc., hair options for women. When you get to set, look for the 1st A.D., (Assistant Director) and let them know you are there and ask where they want you. Any time you move from where they know you to be, let the 1st A.D. know! Or 2nd, depending on who is wrangling your level of role. Nothing annoys them more than when they call talent to set and cannot find you! (Well, I'm sure there are many pet peeves, but this is a BIG one!) KNOW YOUR LINES-BE 'OFF BOOK' Using time wisely while on set is professional; wasting time on set talking vs learning lines and rehearsing is not only unprofessional and wasted time, it is DISTRACTING and slows production. Especially if that time is given and then you'll feel panicked if you get on set/camera and don't know your lines? Performance goes out the window if you are struggling for the lines! Lines come from the analytical left brain, performance and emotion and creativity come from the right brain. Left brain takes over when we start to feel panicked, and then it is very very hard to come back and bring your best work once panic has set in. QUIET ON SET: Talking after "Quiet on Set" has been stated is very unprofessional and inconsiderate of cast and crew. Even whispering or moving or opening a noisy candy wrapper can cause a camera man to stop filming because you did not stop talking or making noise! Please be respectful on set to the cast and crew when 'QUIET ON THE SET' is called. Being on phones and not focused on set, in meetings, or when any crew member is giving instructions is very rude! Word spreads quickly in the film industry on who are and are not good to work with. RESPECT THE SCRIPT: Memorize verbatim! Lots of actors develop a bad habit of memorizing at the last minute and paraphrasing. It's disrespectful to the writer, other actors who have to figure out what their cue is, the director, and the editor that has to find a way to cut the performance together. Leaving scripts behind is a huge no-no! Please do not leave scripts laying around; these are private, copy-written documents. You should be responsible with these materials. On big shows and films, you are asked to sign an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) and you can be sued if something gets leaked and they find out you were the responsible party! IF YOU CAN'T SAY SOMETHING NICE... Being rude or gossiping about other cast or the production in a negative way is not professional and is childish and word will spread quickly that you are talking badly about people. Some you talk to may actually like the people you might have issues with so it's best to keep negative feelings to yourself. You can get fired, and lose your agent, and get blacklisted. I have seen it happen! Express nly post positive stuff openly! If you have issues, talk with your agent and let them sort it out, or speak with The 1st or 2nd A.D. It is important to take care of yourself on set, but there are ways of doing this. (If you are stuck, call me:) TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Never let yourself get bullied into doing something that crosses a moral boundary for yourself that wasn't previously agreed upon and explicitly explained in your contract. This happens from time to time, and an actor can be made to feel like they are 'unprofessional', or 'holding up production', when in fact, this can be a manipulative tactic to get something out of you they think you might object to, i.e. nudity, cursing, etc. If this happens, say you need a moment, go to the bathroom, or your trailer, and call your agent! If its a SAG production, call your SAG office or speak to the SAG rep on set! Do not agree to ANYTHING that you will regret for the rest of your life, it is not worth it. Value your own moral boundary no matter who is pushing that limit, if you didn't agree prior to showing up on set.

  • If you have a question or concern make sure you are bringing it to the right production team member, don’t hassle the director about something the PM should be dealing with and don’t ask the PM something that the AD’s should be dealing with.

  • Keep a copy of the call sheet on you at all times, production doesn’t need to be bothered with questions that can be answered if you just read the call sheet.



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