On Set Etiquette - The Hierarchy System and Production Love

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On Set Etiquette - The Hierarchy System and Production Love

On Set Etiquette
The hierarchy System

So there is this natural hierarchy on set, it takes a little bit of getting used to.

It is this, you can't cross departments and departments heads are the only ones who can.

What does this mean? Well say your are in one department and you see something that you think is wrong with another one, you cant just walk straight over there and change it or make the suggestion (the clause to this is if you have worked together over the years there becomes an shared respect that allows I, but by then you are usually a department head anyway.)

this is done because you may not know the whole story or what they are trying to achieve. You have to fight your urge to help out someone and leave them to it. If you think it will effect your department an anyway then tell someone senior to you and it will flow up the chain until the department heads can chat. If it doesn't effect you then say nothing, it's non of your business.

The exception to any of this is safety, if you see something unsafe, then like any other work place you do something about it or you get a safety or department head to.

Where do you stand?

Usually with your department unless you are need on set or off set on a particular task.

Here is a real green mistake.

We will always leave a clear path on any set for the cast and crew to use to transport gear and people. Experienced crew know this and leave it clear, inexperienced crew see it as an open and free area to stand, don't be that person. If you think you have found a good spot (which is a constant takes on set), then double check that it is not a work path.

Can you talk or should you not?

Yes you can talk and you want to get to know people, but to a point.

Naturally when they are rolling up for a take, just be quiet, you don't need to talk and you don't need to walk slowly somewhere, just stand for the minute or two and then move on cut. Don't try to be sneaky in the shot, it never works and doesn't get anything done faster, you just look like you are in slow motion when everyone else is at regular speed.

When you are getting to know people on set. Here is the most important rule. Don't talk about other people, in favour or against. You have no idea who anyone is and who they know and what kind of relationship they have with the other person. You can offend people and get them off side by complimenting someone. Yes its crazy but that's just how it is. Just be polite to everyone and helpful, focus one the job and over time you will find those you can have a few laughs with and who you can't.

Oh and here is a personal tip, if you are standing somewhere and people come over or are nearby and are complaining or talking about someone, they you walk away. Immediately, don't excuse yourself, just go somewhere else. I have been on set and two people where complaining about someone and because they were near me someone else went back and told the other person. Next thing you know i am in the situation where I am being accused of bad talking. I sorted it out but it was uncomfortable. So even by association a good set experience can turn sour.

So walk away, don't get caught up in any of that. If you feel you need to let something out then tell a friend in your department and just vent a little, that's why you have a team.

Production Romance

yep people fall in love on set, why?

Simple, you both have the same lifestyle and interest. A film person will think nothing of their partner going overseas for a month or two and then coming home. Its just how the work is and a film person understands this and the bonds that you form with others on set and there is little jealousy, but it's never 100% now is it.

Here is why it happens. We are in long working hours where you have to bond to be able to work together and give everyone their space. Ironically you are in close proximity to everyone. So this creates a bonding and a closeness that can make the crew feel like friends or family and sometimes more. The trick is to decide and realise if its a real feeling or a production feeling and a few weeks after the film is done or when you walk onto your next set if you are back to back gigs. If you still feel the same about the person then it could be something special.

So with love out of the way lets just talk about attraction.

Pure lust for another person. It happens and the only thing is, no one will care if you are discrete about it. Unless you are on an agenda driven set for a particular ideology or belief system, then you will find that most film people are pretty relaxed and don't get bothered by much and if they do they get the reason why. We do work in story telling and the human psychology after all, so most are pretty self aware.

Bottom line is you do what you want, just keep if off set as we have a job to do and a producer and director to keep happy.


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