The ShootEquipment

It is not necessarily a good idea to buy your own equipment. This can upset equipment rental companies who are trying to make their own living. However, if you do buy your own equipment, making sure that the equipment looks professional will benefit you in two ways: it will impress the filmmaker with your professionalism and if something goes wrong, the filmmakeer is less likely to blame the problem on you and your “shoddy” gear.

If a production requests a piece of equipment, agree on a rental price for it before shooting. Make them believe that they are getting a bargain; you can ask what they think is reasonable and meet that price,  or you can say “I will do ‘a’ and ‘b’ for ‘x’ amount, and throw in ‘c’ in a free.”

Remember, it’s better to have work than not to have work, so don’t ask for too much. Do not charge a price for delivery; just deliver it as part of the rental. Expect to wait a while to be paid in this industry.

On set, look after everyone’s equipment as well as your own. That way, others are more likely to look after yours.

The day of the shoot

On the morning of the shoot, make sure you take a short list of what to do and talk about it with the Assistant Director. Also, tell the best boy what equipment will be needed. As you set up, be listening to what the Director, Photo Director and the first Assistant Director are saying, so you’re clear about their desires and any changes that they have made to the original plan.

You will likely be working in someone else’s community, so you need be aware of your behavior. Do not assume that locals will be fascinated and welcoming of you and your crew. Get permission  from the local community before filming, if possible. On arrival, it’s good to have someone with great social skills and something in common with the residents to be the first person to approach them.  Asking for help can be a good way to go too.  Do wear clothes that help you fit in with the area.

Be helpful. For  example, apologize and get crew members out of the way if they are inconveniencing the public.  Don’t block traffic and show local people that you are keen to protect their property.

Make sure you treat people and amenities well if you are staying in town; news spreads quickly, and bad news spreads even more quickly. Also keep your gear out of sight.  Don’t tempt thieves.