19 Film Set Rules You Need To Know

19 Film Set Rules You Need To Know

by Jul 24, 2010

Being on a film set during production can be an exciting. But if you want the production process to go smoothly, there are certain “rules” that should be followed.

Alan Goodson Creative Director looking through camera lens

19 rules to follow while on a film or commercial set.

  1. You’re in the way; MOVE, please.
  2. There are too many of you in the room. Our supply of oxygen is limited. Please leave the room.
  3. Don’t believe the monitor. The film will look gorgeous. (I would personally hesitate to say this one.)
  4. All that food is for the crew. BYOCS
  5. “Quiet on the set!” means you; Hush please.
  6. The crew are highly trained, intelligent technicians who know more than you do about film and video production. Defer to their good judgment.
  7. Shooting too many versions of the same thing is NOT good.
  8. Stay in Video Village. (Again, I would personally hesitate to say this one.)
  9. Being on a shoot is an adventure. Rough it; get wet, have fun, relax!
  10. Tipping the crew is classy and good for morale.
  11. The Phones are for everyone on set; Don’t be a phone hog.
  12. You don’t want to ride on the Process Trailer; Tow Vehicle; Camera Car; Titan; Helicopter; and especially not on the dolly. Crew members have what’s known as “Set Legs,” which help them keep their equilibrium while on set. To be on set without set legs is to risk injury.
  13. The Video Technician is your friend, treat him/her accordingly. Invite him / her to lunch with you, ask for ideas, advice and feedback.
  14. Film crews are like the motorcycle gang members that Billy Jack fought. Unless you too were a Marine Sniper, do not mess with them.
  15. If you are seated when asked to move, take your seat with you. Failure to do this just creates double work for a crew that’s already trying its best to salvage some good effective cinematography from your creepy dead horse ideas.
  16. Production people are not your personal slaves. They are highly skilled people who pull together commercials out of flabby ideas. They are the backbone of a shoot and, if they want, can paralyze everything, which means–OVERAGES.
  17. The Director of Photography can make your commercial look hideous. His / hers is a good ass to kiss.
  18. Bring enough for everyone. This goes especially for Belgian Chocolates, fresh baked breads, frequent flyer miles and cappuccinos. It also applies to magazines, newspapers and masseuses.
  19. Being the “Cool” client is a status worth striving for. On future shoots, crews will recognize you and greet you. Many, including grips, will joke and crack wise with you, showing your co-clients that you are “down” with the shoot thing. Also implying that you understand the workers, and they like your style, and that you’d be the perfect person to head all the campaigns in the world!

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