DOs and DON’Ts of Life on Set
Working in film is a tricky business, and life on set can be intimidating, particularly for the uninitiated.
Luckily, we at Mr.Frank have many years of filmmaking experience, with the physical and mental scars to prove it. Now, we're lifting the lid on the film industry, and sharing our invaluable insider know-how.
So, whether you're an eager-to-please runner or a seen-it-all-before gaffer, you'd do well to study our essential guide to surviving life on-set. Featuring practical advice applicable to any filmmaking situation, we've distilled our cumulative knowledge into one easy to digest list for you to print out, recite before bed, and commit to eternal memory.
Please note that while these pointers are based on actual real-life events and circumstances, Mr.Frank can be held in no way liable for any subsequent damages incurred to your project, professional reputation or overdraft…
DO – Keep smiling at the client
They're paying the bills and it's in your best interest to appear gregarious, even when every fibre of your being wants to lie down and cry.
DON’T – Forget deodorant
Be prepared to leave any remaining shred of self-respect at the door, but try to make sure you smell half-decent.
DO – Take advantage of the free food
You work in film, so you're probably poor. A no-brainer.
DON'T – Wear a white t-shirt
This is a surefire way to attract the inevitable coffee/blood/ectoplasm that will be hurled through the air at some point. Wear the darkest clothes you own so that you blend into the studio background.
DO – Laugh
If you're lucky, you can disguise your utter incompetence as an elaborate practical joke or piece of performance art.
DON’T – Forget where you left your production assistant
They can be blamed for anything that goes wrong. Keep them close at hand.
DO – Download all relevant documents to your phone
When at a loose end, you can pretend to scrutinise the call sheet and appear to be doing something useful.
DON'T – Make plans for after the wrap
The shoot will run over, and you might as well get used to having no social life anyway.
DO – Dispose of any priceless artwork you damage before the AirBnB host returns
If they can't find it, they can't fine you. Get creative!
DON'T – Shout across set
Research shows that quiet desperation is invariably more persuasive than angry yelling.
DO – Bring beer
The quickest way to make friends and diffuse terse situations is with the crack of a ring-pull. Plus, many directors are functioning alcoholics, so this is practically a medical requirement.
DON'T – Close car doors on your boss's head
No matter how tempted you may be. You'll have to drive him to hospital and it's very difficult to remove blood from rental car upholstery.
DO – Bring a positive "can do” attitude to the set
This is the job you always dreamed of, so try to ignore the voices in your head suggesting otherwise.
Peter Gigg is a producer at Mr.Frank