As you may have guessed by now, I used to be an actor. Ok, I technically still AM an actor because I do act for short films every now and then but I am more fascinated and interested in being behind the camera and actually creating.
But something that I have realised throughout my years of being in front and behind the camera is that there are still a few basic factors that people tend to forget while they are on set. This applies to both the talent and the crew!
Manners cost nothing- Possibly the most important one in my books, it doesn’t matter who you are… you NEED TO BE NICE TO PEOPLE! As an actor, if you are rude to a member of the crew then that could potentially ruin your chances of working with them again, and gossip spreads like wildfire. If one production company has had a bad experience with you, then they will inform other companies. The same can also be said for crew members. I know people who have had assistant directors who have been fired because they have been inappropriate whilst on set, or they have been rude to one of the actors and that news has made its way to the producer. And if there is one things you don’t want to happen, is bad news getting to the producer. They are mighty beings and will fire you in a heartbeat. And even if you don’t get fired for being rude, the people you are working alongside will not want to be around you, so kiss goodbye and pleasantries, working on set can be a very lonely place when no one wants to talk to you. Basically, DON’T BE A DICK.
It’s not an Us vs Them battle- For some reason, the actors and the crew members tend to split themselves. And then the crew split themselves up even more??? The camera department keep to the camera crew, the directors will mingle with the actors but then keep to themselves, the actors stick to the other actors like glue, and you get the drift. It’s like that scene in Mean Girls when Janice is introducing Cady to the canteen groups, you have the jocks, the nerds, to cool kids, the weirdos etc but you don’t actually name these groups when it comes to working on set. There aren’t any ‘cool kids’ or ‘weirdos’ which is WONDERFUL but the groups are still a noticeable thing. So something I wish people would remember is that THIS IS NOT A GAME OF RED V BLUE, everyone is there to make a film. Everyone is there to create something beautiful, so don’t turn it into a separated battle ground.
Faffing is time wasting- ok this is a personal peeve of mine, I totally understand that people want to get the perfect shot but there is only so much faffing around before you start getting not only angry crew members but angry actors. I have been on both sides of the team where there has been faffing. As a crew members, it just got tedious because there were creative differences between the director and the writer (the writer was the one being difficult) and because they spent so long discussing a scene, there was a lot of sitting around and the cast and crew were stood around getting more and more tired and frustrated. As an actor, my director was being very picky with shots, he kept us repeating the same scene at least 6 times and that’s not normally a bad thing, but when its 10pm on a freezing night and you’re wearing shorts for a nightclub scene, patience and a chirpy attitude disappears very quickly. So if you can, avoid faffing around as much as possible.
It’s very easy on either side of the production to get a bit uppity because of who you are in relation to the project. Actors feel like they are doing the crew a favour, the crew feel like they are doing the actors a favour… but in reality, everyone is there because they are in love with the process of creating a film. I personally think no one is better than anyone else on that set, without one member of the crew (no matter the role), the film might not even be able to be made, and the same goes for the actors. Sure, you can always hire another person to replace that role, but at the end of the day you STILL NEED THAT ROLE. And this is something that I think more people need to realise while they are working on set.
Let me know in the comments what you think; agree? disagree? indifferent?
Until next time,