Since 2015, I have been lucky enough to spend time on a lot of different sets, in many different roles. From Actor to Cinematographer, to Lighting Assist and Director, from 1st AD to Health and Safety. Along the way, I have learnt some key do’s and don’ts for set life.
Have a moment of stillness before you head out to work.
You have been prepping for this shoot for anywhere from 3 days to 3 months. Tension is high, you want it to go well. You want to be fresh, creative, fun… But from this pressure, comes the completely natural feeling of nerves. Taking 10 minutes to look out your window and feel the breeze, sit in the morning sun and check in with how you’re feeling, or even having a cold shower (courtesy of the Wim Hof method) will make the day a lot more bearable.
Don’t over do it on the Craft/Unit table.
Breakfast was a couple of hours ago, lunch is a couple of hours away. There’s been a technical problem, and your stomach rumbles. You glance around, bored, when the Unit table catches your eye.
Biscuits, Lollies, Crackers, Fruit, Vege sticks…
Now this might be one of the biggest things I have learnt – don’t down half the table. Just because it is there, doesn’t mean you should necessarily go for it. If you don’t usually eat sugar, then I promise you – you will have a sugar crash. Try and keep your eating habits as normal as possible, this will keep your mood stable and help keep you doing your best work. (You also never know where the nearest toilet is…)
Choose your shoes wisely.
Maybe it is your first time you have been on set, and you’ve heard horror stories of people standing around for 12+ hours because production didn’t have enough budget for chairs. You rush out to get some shoes. You ask yourself, “When will be the next time I go on set?”
Do you get the expensive $300 hiking boots or the $30 boots?
The answer is neither.
You probably have the best shoes for your day on set at home. Wear the shoes that you can spend your whole day in. If this is a half decent production, even a low/no budget shoot, they will most likely have a chair or a designated seating area. Wear the shoes you don’t mind getting a little bit mucky. There might be grass, small amounts of mud, a bit of gravel. Waterproof is a plus, but not a must. Same advices goes for socks; nothing too tight, nothing too loose.
BONUS: Drink lots of water.
You think you already drink enough water? You might be shooting outside all day, standing next to big bright lights, or in really dark video village tents, and likely racking up 10,000+ steps a day… So make sure you keep well hydrated, and don’t be afraid to ask for water. Someone will be more than happy to fill your bottle or get you a reusable cup with your name on it.
That being said, have a great day on set. Remember that you aren’t saving lives. Tension might run high at times, but at the end of the day, you are all there to make something awesome. So enjoy it!
This post was written by Jack Barry, co-founder of 2113 Creatives. Keep up with him on Instagram – @jackbaz.