So you’re looking for some tips before going on set hey?? Please, take them. Take them all.
Photo/video shoots can be a bit scary the first few times – being on set is worlds away from any other working environment. They become there own little microcosms that you have to figure out as you go (check a recent one out here!). Being on a set with a good crew can be the most fun you can have while working – enjoy it! I hope you find these tips useful; I’ll feel like my mistakes weren’t in vain if you learn from them 😉
1. LEARN THE HIERARCHY
One of the most important initial things I’ve found is to learn the names & faces of the team. Most importantly, know who the director is, the producer, and the production manager, but try to get to know everyone if you can! There’s nothing worse than having to ask someone who the producer is a few hours into the shoot…
2. BE THE MOST ENTHUSIASTIC VERSION OF YOURSELF
This doesn’t mean become Tigger incarnate (you don’t want to annoy people!) but get excited about the job, and all the little tasks that are part & parcel of it. Whether it’s something glamorous or just ironing bedsheets, do it with a smile and enjoy yourself! Shoots can go on a loooooonnng time – the last one I did was 12 hours – so staying chirpy & upbeat even when you’re feeling tired is so important. Good vibes rub off on people & on the flip side, it only takes one sour person to bring the mood down, so don’t be that guy!
3. MIND THE CAMERAS
Oh my goodness, if you only take one thing away from this post, let it be this. ALWAYS BE AWARE OF WHERE THE PHOTOGRAPHERS / CAMERAMEN / CAMERAS ARE! It may not always be immediately obvious when they’re filming, so make it a priority to stay out of shot when you’re not sure. If they’ve set up a tripod / other camera rigging, give it a wide birth – one tiny nudge could throw the whole shot. This is such an important one, everyone has enough to be worrying about without other members of the crew messing up takes!
4. KEEP ALL YOUR PROPS LABELLED
This is such an easy step that will save you a world of pain at the end of a shoot. If you’ve hired things from prop houses or borrowed from brands, make sure everything is labelled or keep an inventory with descriptions of all your props & where they came from. It can take hours & even days to find out where to return everything if you don’t do this, which could mean more charges. (You may also want to check out my Stylist’s Toolkit Checklist here.)
5. CHECK BEFORE YOU POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Make sure you check with the production manager at the beginning of the shoot whether it’s okay to update your social media feeds or not. You definitely don’t want to be the person in the sh*t for leaking part of a hyped music video! If you can’t get a clear answer, it’s always better to be on the safe side & not post.