Posts

On-Set Etiquette

You have been scouring the Internet in search of opportunities for a first job in the film or TV industry. You have been applying for many of them and finally, it happened. You got that email, the job is yours.

Landing your first on-set job in film or TV is a very exciting time. However, how to behave, what to do, what to say and even what to wear might be some of the questions going through your mind. Hopefully this article will point you in the right direction and put you at ease so you can go off to a wonderful first day.

Chances are your first job will be that of a runner-like role, be it camera, floor or otherwise. If for some reason this is not your case, I’d like to encourage you to read on as you might still find the rest of the article very useful. There are things stated below that might sound very obvious, however they don’t always come across as such.

General behaviour

Being as helpful as possible is a no-brainer, but you should also be aware that sometimes too much assistance can be considered interfering. Sometimes we want to be so helpful that we get in the way of other people, which is evidently not well-regarded. Along the same lines, you should only speak when you are spoken to. Don’t try to look or sound smart by demonstrating your skills and just focus on completing the tasks you are given. One thing to keep in mind is that a production always runs against the clock so everyone is always very busy doing their part and no one has time to waste.

Be proactive about offering help if you don’t have anything to do at a given time and never do something you haven’t been asked to do or touch anything you haven’t been asked to touch. Conversely, always ask about things if there’s something you don’t understand or if you are not sure about how to do something. It is much better to ask again and get it right than not asking and getting it wrong. If you do make a mistake anyway, apologise, try to find a solution for it and move on.

It’s also very important to always be jolly, polite, respectful and never complain. Shooting days can be very long (sometimes even 12 or 16 hours) and occur during the so-called “unsociable” hours. Therefore, you will normally spend a very long time working with the same people. This can be great if people get along but also uncomfortable if you have to put up with someone unpleasant for so long. For this reason, many would go so far as to say that they’d rather work with someone nice that doesn’t know as much than someone who is a tech wizard but not likeable.

The same goes for complaining. You will get tired and possibly hungry and thirsty. In any case, keep it to yourself and never complain. No one likes a whiner.

Nevertheless, don’t think that you have to do everything you are asked to without question. For instance, if you are told to go buy lunch with your own money and they will reimburse you later, it’s okay for you to politely decline if you don’t feel comfortable doing it. There might be reasons why the company hasn’t sorted out some of the meals, however it is not included in the runners’ duties to financially take charge of this.

Also, don’t attempt to lift anything that looks too heavy for you just because you have been told to do so. It’s perfectly fine for you to state that a determined load is too heavy for you and ask for help.

In the same way, it’s okay to admit you don’t know something if you’re asked for technical advice or told to do something beyond your knowledge or that you have never done before. The important thing here is to not try to “save the day”, especially if you are going to go about something by guessing. Again, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Along these lines, never overestimate your skills by suggesting that you are able to do something beyond your duties. For example, if you are a camera runner, don’t walk up to a camera assistant and ask if you can pull focus on the next take. Anything like this would be considered very rude, even if you can pull focus.

Productions are organised in a very hierarchical way. Always be respectful of everyone but especially more so the heads of department and talent. Try not to be nervous around talent, they are normal people too and are pretty much in the same boat. If you know who someone is without having met them before, don’t talk to them unless you have to or if they approach you.

What to wear and carry

The dress code may vary from production to production, but it will be usually indicated on the call sheet if there is one. Take the weather into account, especially if you are going to be working outdoors. Since weather can be unpredictable (particularly in the UK) it’s a safe bet to wear a waterproof jacket and shoes. The latter should be as comfortable as possible, so a pair of nondescript trainers would probably be a good call. Also think in terms of temperature, you don’t want to spend the whole day shivering or sweating.

In regards to the rest of your attire, a normal pair of jeans or trousers and a basic t-shirt should do the trick. Tracksuits can be a grey area, but it would be safe to say that most of the times they will be considered as “too casual/comfortable”. Just make sure that the clothes you’ve chosen are not noisy when you move.

In terms of colours, you can never really go wrong with dark clothes –except for maybe those occasional hot days in the summer.  However, don’t wear light or bright clothes as these cause reflections on the actors, scene, or sometimes in windows.  The plainer, the better, and it is best to avoid wearing big logos. This can cause some trouble depending on the nature of the production, so best to make sure this is alright or avoid it altogether.

A torchlight can be very useful – the one on your phone should be alright but remember to silence it! – and if you want to be extra helpful always carry a couple of Sharpies and pens, even some blank paper sheets and some gaffer tape.

What to expect

You have to be aware that “runner” is the lowest of the roles in a production. This isn’t anything bad, it’s just a matter of hierarchy. Don’t be offended if someone explains something to you that you already know, just listen and learn. Practice makes perfect, so hearing about something one more time can never be a bad thing.

As a runner you won’t be (shouldn’t be) treated any differently. However, you might find yourself having to carry out what might seem like menial tasks, such as breakfast/lunch runs, making tea and coffee, fetching objects or water and conveying messages. Again, this is not a bad thing. There is always something to learn from everything and completing allegedly easy and boring tasks in a timely manner with efficiency and a good disposition will eventually get you noticed as a hard-working, reliable and pleasant individual, which can earn you good references that will lead to roles with more responsibility in the future.

Another excellent skill to have on set is the ability to remain calm when something goes wrong –it will happen, more than you would think. In these situations, people get nervous and stressed and therefore you can expect to be yelled at as a result of high stress. If this happens don’t take it to heart, just carry on with your tasks and be as helpful as possible. However, if by any chance you had a truly unpleasant encounter with anyone that shouldn’t be ignored, leave it for the end of the day and make sure to report it to the head of department.

In terms of food, it depends on the arrangements that have been done for the day. You can expect at least one catered meal and complimentary water throughout the day.

In terms of working time, as I stated before you should expect to work long hours and to have some breaks during the course of the day. How many will depend on the intensity of the work and the schedule.

Last but definitely not least, you should always get paid for your work, unless it’s clearly stated beforehand that the role is not paid but you still decide to do it. Unpaid jobs however, are luckily becoming more of a rarity. In any case, always go on a job having clarified compensation matters beforehand.

Do’s and Don’ts

Here is a list of some additional do’s and don’ts that can help you on set:

  • Be polite, respectful, pleasant and helpful.
  • Never sit down unless you are on a break. In this case, make sure to stay away from the set and any busy areas.
  • Don’t carry copies of your latest script/film to show people, especially not to heads of department or the director, producer, etc.
  • Don’t ask for anyone to let you do anything beyond your duties/capabilities.
  • Never brag about your past work and preferably don’t mention it unless you are specifically asked about it.
  • Always keep receipts if you buy anything, whether it’s for yourself, the production or someone else.
  • Never give your opinion about the work that is being done unless you are asked to. If this is the case, always start with something like: “I’m not sure, what do you think?”
  • Use your common sense.

Events

The 88th Annual Awards Ceremony and Bernard Happé Lecture

Join us as celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of the industry at our 88th Annual Awards Ceremony and Bernard Happé Lecture at the Regent Street Cinema. Among the recipients for our awards are the creme de la creme of industry professionals. Our ceremony will be lead by former Sky News anchor woman and BBC television presenter Vivien Creegor.

Awards to Be Given:

ChEFF Award

Technical and Scientific Achievement Award

Outstanding Contribution to the Industry

President’s Award

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lady Doris and Sir Sydney Samuelson Award

The John Tompkins Natural History Award

Fellowships

Honorary Fellowships

About Vivien Creegor:

Vivien started her broadcasting career as a newsreader for BBC Radio 4. She then moved to BBC Television in Bristol fronting ‘Points West’, the local news show, for 5 years. There were also stints at TV Centre presenting the national lunchtime news and also co-hosting a travel series on BBC 2 called ‘Transit’.  She then joined the fledgling Sky News and stayed for 15 years as one of the main anchors, which was interspersed with chairing a number of conferences for the United Nations. She jumped ship in 2006 to go and live briefly in California, becoming a student at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  Her main focus now is on acting, voiceovers and travel writing for ‘The Mail on Sunday’.

Before the annual awards we will have this year’s Bernard Happé Lecture focussing on the extraordinary coverage of the Royal Wedding. Andrew Cotton and Phil Layton from the BBC, will focus on the challenges faced in delivering the superb images from their 2018 trials of ultra HD high dynamic range TV.

The speakers will:

  • Talk about production workflows for UHD HDR recording of the Royal Wedding
  • Discuss how the workflows paved the way for their UHD coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon Centre Court on BBC iPlayer
  • Address the complexities of delivering live UHD over IP
  • Show highlights for demonstration throughout the lecture

About Andrew Cotton:

Andrew is a Principal Technologist within BBC R&D’s Broadcast & Connected Systems Section. He has a background in video compression and image processing. Andrew and his team work across the entire television acquisition, production, delivery and IP distribution chains, ensuring the technical integrity of BBC systems. Most recently their work has focused on high dynamic range TV, as Andrew is one of the developers of the Hybrid Log-Gamma HDR system. Andrew joined BBC Research in 1987 with a degree in Engineering Science. After seven years he left the BBC to work in industry for a leading broadcast equipment manufacturer, but returned to the BBC in 2002.

About Phil Layton:

Phil initially joined the BBC in 1983 and has worked on a wide variety of projects involving hardware, software and systems engineering. Since 1996 he has worked on all the major BBC digital TV projects across our joint ventures and third party platforms. As Head of the Broadcast & Connected Systems team within BBC R&D he is responsible for a workplan covering all aspects of content distribution over both traditional broadcast and IP platforms.

Screenwriting Bootcamp: Write Your Feature Film Outline In One Sitting

Been sitting on an idea for a movie, but never have time to write it?

Have an idea but no idea how to map out your screenplay?

Then join us on for a webinar training ‘Screenwriting Bootcamp: Write Your Feature Film Outline in One Sitting’! Recognised Canadian screenwriter Larissa Thomas brings her successful screenwriting bootcamp to IMIS in an exciting training. In this 3-hour screenwriting workshop you’ll learn how to turn your idea into a story and leave with a completed, rough outline of your feature film.

This live online workshop is taught using video examples, hand-outs, and slides to help you gain a better understanding of film structure and character. Through guided writing sprints, you’ll put your ideas onto paper without dwelling on perfection. With this outline, you can confidently write your feature screenplay knowing you’ve nailed your structural and character arc points.

ALL IMIS MEMBERS CAN ATTEND THE WEBINAR FOR FREE!

(Non-Members: £15+VAT)

About Larissa Thomas:

Larissa Thomas co-wrote, directed, and produced a web series called Allie & Lara Make a Horror Movie (literally about the horrors of trying to make your own films) with two more episodes to go.

Her successful “FINISHIT: Screenwriting Sprint” workshop she created to help beat procrastination, and to help writers take ideas they talk about and make them a reality. ‘It began in 2015 at my very own kitchen table’ before being recognised by filmmaking organization Raindance Canada (based in Toronto). It quickly became a member-favourite, monthly screenwriting workshop. Thomas has ran over 20 iterations of the workshop, broken down over 14 films, and guided almost 200 writers through the process.

ALL IMIS MEMBERS CAN ATTEND THE WEBINAR FOR FREE!

(Non-Members: £15+VAT)

About IMIS

The International Moving Image Society’s (IMIS) aim is to inspire, train, educate, and connect all members of the moving image industry, whether at entry or professional level, around the world. We accomplish this by putting on networking events.

Benefits of Becoming a Member

  • Free access to all our events (like this one)
  • Access to our discounts on Vimeo, Mandy Network (formerly Film and TV Pro) and many more
  • Becoming a part of a tight network of industry professionals
  • Discounts on training
  • Online access to our Cinema Technology publication

Perfecting the Pitch: An Introduction to Pitching Screenplays

 

About IMIS

The International Moving Image Society’s (IMIS) aim is to inspire, train, educate, and connect all members of the moving image industry, whether at entry or professional level, around the world. We accomplish this by putting on networking events.

Benefits of Becoming a Member

  • Free access to all our events (like this one)
  • Access to our discounts on Vimeo, Mandy Network (formerly Film and TV Pro) and many more
  • Becoming a part of a tight network of industry professionals
  • Discounts on training
  • Online access to our Cinema Technology publication

Secret Agent: How To Get An Agent As A Screenwriter

Come join us as Film and TV agent Leah Middleton, representing talents at Marjacq gives invaluable insight into the art of promoting your talent as a screenwriter and finding a suitable agent in this competitive business.

She will:

  • tell us what an agent is and what do they do
  • discuss why screenwriters should want an agent
  • give insight into how to approach an agent and whom to choose
  • talk about ways to prepare a pitch yourself to an agent
  • describe tips on working with agents successfully

About Leah Middleton:

After gaining substantial experience working in the film and television department at Aitken Alexander Associates, across drama and factual programming, she joined Marjacq as Film and TV as well as Literary Agent.

Leah is looking for screenwriters and authors. She is interested in commercial fiction, particularly historical, high-concept YA, black comedy and stories with recognisable settings from unusual perspectives. In non-fiction she would like to see investigative journalism, polemic, topical memoir and popular science/history.

About Marjacq: 

Founded in 1974, Marjacq is an energetic full-service literary agency with a  diverse range of writers of both fiction and non-fiction, for adults, young adults and children.

They work closely with their authors at every stage of the process, from editorial guidance and negotiating deals,  to long-term career management – including selling their work into as many languages as possible and seeking the best opportunities for adaptation to Film, TV and other media.

Marjacq are a member of the Association of Authors’ Agents (AAA).

Come join us as at one of our regular networking events. Meet peers and fellow professionals, chat, exchange details, collaborate and most of all, have fun!

About IMIS

The International Moving Image Society’s (IMIS) aim is to inspire, train, educate, and connect all members of the moving image industry, whether at entry or professional level, around the world. We accomplish this by putting on networking events.

Benefits of Becoming a Member

  • Free access to all our events (like this one)
  • Access to our discounts on Vimeo, Mandy Network (formerly Film and TV Pro) and many more
  • Becoming a part of a tight network of industry professionals
  • Discounts on training
  • Online access to our Cinema Technology publication

Big Shorts – Passion Projects with High Name Cast

Come join us as the award-winning production team of the short comedy drama Some Sweet Oblivious Antidote starring Sir Lenny Henry, talk about the joys and trails of short filmmaking.

They will:

  • screen Some Sweet Oblivious Antidote and talk about its success on the festival circuit (Encounters, LSFF, MANIFF, etc.)
  • talk about the making-of their Shakespeare project
  • give insight into the casting process of a high name actor

Some Sweet Oblivious Antidote (Premise):

Exasperated by her daughters insistence on speaking only in Shakespearean verse, her mother resorts to psychotherapy. A Shakespearean quote-off in the theatre uncovers the reason for the girls affliction.

The Team:

  • Writer/Actor Moya O’Shea is best known for her work on The Clinic and Doctors.
  • Director Christiana Ebohon Green is best know for her work on Doctors, Emmerdale and East Enders.
  • Producer Fiona Gillies is best known for her work on City Slacker, Mother Love and Casualty.
  • Producer Michael Mueller is best known for his work on The Beat Beneath My Feet, City Slacker and Sherlock.
Come join us as at one of our regular networking events. Meet peers and fellow professionals, chat, exchange details, collaborate and most of all, have fun!

About IMIS

The International Moving Image Society’s (IMIS) aim is to inspire, train, educate, and connect all members of the moving image industry, whether at entry or professional level, around the world. We accomplish this by putting on networking events.

Benefits of Becoming a Member

  • Free access to all our events (like this one)
  • Access to our discounts on Vimeo, Mandy Network (formerly Film and TV Pro) and many more
  • Becoming a part of a tight network of industry professionals
  • Discounts on training
  • Online access to our Cinema Technology publication

Filmmaking Without Borders: Award-winning writer/director Sade Adeniran on filmmaking without constraints

Come join us as award-winning screenwriter and director Sade Adeniran will talk about her journey across cultures and industries. She will be screening two short films which have brought her national and international attention: My Mother’s Journey (2016) which won Best Script at the UK Parliamentary competition, Film The House, and My Mother’s Stew (2018) which was an official selection at the 2018 International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR).

My Mother’s Stew:

A young woman stands outside the front door of the family home and the smell of her favourite stew reminds her of happy memories from her childhood. Can she reconcile that period of innocence before her life was shattered by some devastating family news?

My Mother’s Journey:

As a child, Lola Ogunwole was abandoned by her mother.  Now a mother herself, and suffering from postnatal depression, will Lola finally heal the hidden scars by meeting the woman who left her?  
Or is she destined to repeat the cycle and sins from a childhood she’d rather forget?

On stage, she will be joined on stage by fellow director and Award-winner Evy Barry.

Meet peers and fellow professionals, chat, exchange details, collaborate and most of all, have fun!

 

About Sade Adeniran:

Sade Adeniran has written for radio, theatre and film.  She is primarily known for her debut award-winning novel Imagine This, which won the 2008 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize.  As a filmmaker, Sade has written, produced and directed several short films.  Her last live-action short film, A Mother’s Journey recently won Best Script at the UK Parliamentary competition, Film The House.  Sade has embarked on the adaptation of her novel into a 90-minute animated feature and it was selected for development at the 2017 Ouaga Film Lab in Burkina Faso.  Her last short film, My Mother’s Stew (experimental animation) was an official selection at the 2018 International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR).  Her latest animated short, E Go Betta Oh,  is in post-production and will be completed by end of March 2018.

 

About Evy Barry:

Evy has worked across various disciplines ranging from major documentaries for network TV to award-winning short dramas and films for online brands. In a broadcasting career spanning more than 12 years, she has twice been nominated for best science programme at the Indie Awards in recognition of the high quality of her work.

Evy also has extensive experience in a corporate capacity making high-quality films for charities like The Lonely Road Foundation and companies such as Red Car Pubs and Cap Gemini. She has been able to harness her skills as a camera woman, editor and poet to produce some highly original video art.

About IMIS

The International Moving Image Society’s (IMIS) aim is to inspire, train, educate, and connect all members of the moving image industry, whether at entry or professional level, around the world. We accomplish this by putting on networking events.

Benefits of Becoming a Member

  • Free access to all our events (like this one)
  • Access to our discounts on Vimeo, Mandy Network (formerly Film and TV Pro) and many more
  • Becoming a part of a tight network of industry professionals
  • Discounts on training
  • Online access to our Cinema Technology publication

Acorns to Oaks: From Business Plan to Production Company

Find out about MAYHEM’s successful transition from a concept to an up and coming production company in London.

Come join us as at one of our regular networking events. Meet peers and fellow professionals, chat, exchange details, collaborate and most of all, have fun!

 

About MAYHEM:

Mayhem is a production company based in London founded by 4 graduates from the award winning National Film & Television School. Upon winning a British Arrows Craft Student Award, the team has gone from strength to strength building a diverse portfolio of clients such as NBA, Qantas, Virgin Active, Beko, Conde Naste, BT Sport to name but a few. In 2017, Mayhem expanded it’s output (alongside social and commercial content) to provide live stream production which has been a great success. This year the team hope to continue to grow their output whilst also focussing more time on developing and producing longer form content.

About IMIS

The International Moving Image Society’s (IMIS) aim is to inspire, train, educate, and connect all members of the moving image industry, whether at entry or professional level, around the world. We accomplish this by putting on networking events.

Benefits of Becoming a Member

  • Free access to all our events (like this one)
  • Access to our discounts on Vimeo, Mandy Network (formerly Film and TV Pro) and many more
  • Becoming a part of a tight network of industry professionals
  • Discounts on training
  • Online access to our Cinema Technology publication