8 Ways to Be Invaluable On Set

Punctuality – As the saying goes, early is on-time, on-time is late. Late, especially when cast and crew are present, results in termination. With multiple people working on a project, punctuality is especially important in the video production industry. Production days are long, and workers should prepare for 10-14+ hour days at a time. If you want to make a great impression and show your unmatched value on set, arrive first and plan to leave last. You should never have the crew waiting on you, especially the Producer. Punctuality exudes professionalism.

Energy – From the moment you arrive until the second you leave, your energy should be positive, productive, and prolific. As you may know, negative energy is easily absorbed and transmitted throughout the entire set. Allowing your mood to affect you and those around you is a major turn off to producers, agencies, and clients. We suggest preparing for a long production day the night before. Eat well, get enough sleep, and if all else fails, keep an energy drink within reach!

Situational Awareness – There’s nothing more frustrating than working alongside someone stuck daydreaming. While on set, refrain from texting, checking your phone, or scrolling through social media. While there is some downtime on set here and there, it’s best to keep alert so you’re ready for action once the ball gets rolling once again. You never want to be out of the loop, especially in the Director and Producer’s presence.

Spatial Awareness – Spatial awareness goes hand in hand with situational awareness but refers to the physical aspect of work rather than cognitive. Someone who is spatially aware knows where to stand and work in order to stay out of the way. For example, blocking or obstructing the view of the monitors is the Director’s biggest nightmare. Respecting your colleague’s space and know where you stand on set shows you are experienced and professional.

Limit Conversation – Since production days can be hectic, it’s best to keep conversation to a minimum. Generally, stick to set talk, using phrases like “copy that” and “10/1.” Other than that, it’s in your best interest to be friendly and cordial with those on set without diving into long discussions. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.

Know the Gear – Making an effort to learn the different types of gear you’ll be working with goes a long way. Take a close look at how each piece of equipment is stored so you know how to help clean and pack away gear and equipment once the day is over.

Anticipate – Anticipation and preparedness go hand in hand. Being a proactive asset to the team means keeping spare batteries and essential equipment nearby. Moreover, anticipating the DP and Director’s next direction saves time and helps the shoot run a little more smoothly.

Move Fast but Safe – Production days are long, but your hustle needs to last all day. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Work fast and hard, but also work efficiently. Showing up to work isn’t impressive, but surpassing expectations and what’s expected of you is.

Ask Questions – Asking questions shows you’re engaged and ready to learn. However, you should never ask a question once filming has begun. Wait until a break or after wrap. Working on a set is a huge learning experience, but knowing when to ask a question is critical.

Jonathan Weiner

Jonathan is the Owner and Executive Producer at 360 Visuals, Inc. He produces video commercials & photography shoots for companies of all sizes across North America.