Set Etiquette: Is It Really That Important?

We’ve all heard a million times that reputation in the film industry is essential, but how much does set etiquette affect actors?

It’s easy to think, “Well, I’m only with these people for a short time, so I don’t need to worry about how I interact with them”, but in reality, how you present yourself on set can make or break you as an actor. 

Set etiquette is put in place not to discriminate or segregate, but rather to help the set run smoothly. Sets are chaotic places where one can easily be swept away in the ruckus. 

When you know your role and abide by the boundaries that role has, you are in turn helping everyone around you do their job to the best of their abilities. 

If you’re like me, you love spending time with people, chatting and watching the chaos of set life, but it’s essential to remember that when actors are sent off set it’s not because we are not wanted, but rather it’s to help assist the crew to set up for the next scene without worrying about stepping around us. 

Crew have an incredible job of creating the space actors get to work in, giving them their space is the least we can do to thank them for their hard work. 

Along with that, between takes, and especially during takes, it’s important to remain as quiet as possible. Talking too loud, or with the crew can be a distraction and can slow down production greatly. Talking during takes if you’re not in front of the camera can potentially end up ruining a take and can negatively affect the project. 

Another thing to note, is that the key people actors should be speaking with is the AD department and the director. This practice is put in place so there’s as little confusion as possible. The AD is our point person for anything from when to be quiet to running to the restroom. 

Also, this may sound obvious, but don’t ever move or touch anything you haven’t been given express permission to touch. The crew keeps track of every piece of equipment, so moving or touching anything could potentially cost the production greatly in wasted time trying to readjust something. 

Things on the actual set, like props, are fine to touch, but mainly the ones you will interact with within the scene. This will give the set decorators an easier job when repositioning props for takes. Again, that may sound obvious, but sometimes weird things happen. 

As long as you remember to respect everyone, you will be such a wonderful asset to your film crew.

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