Movie SetMaking a movie, whether it’s a low-budget indie flick, or a multi-million dollar Hollywood extravaganza, is a process that must run as efficiently as a well-oiled machine. Each person from a make-up assistant to a leading director must play his or her part in order for the operation to continue uninhibited. Since the production relies so heavily on efficiency, there are strict rules that must be followed at all times.

Don’t Be Late

As mentioned above, it’s essential that every member of the crew plays their role. Every position, no matter how minor, is required for the movie. If one person is running behind, the whole process could be delayed. While working on a film set, it’s important to arrive fifteen to thirty minutes early. That allows for enough time to take stock of the current situation and what needs to be done for the day.

Obey the Hierarchy

Already, it’s evident that the movie industry is highly dependent on being assigned a job and sticking to it. Everyone has their respective tasks to look after, and it messes up the natural order of things if a high ranking director is asked about the rolls of film left, for example. The directors and producers don’t have time for people to pester them. The work will get done much faster if you work within your own department, and never cross the line with any higher-ups.

Don’t Touch Anything

Electricians and cameramen work very hard to rig the lighting, microphones, and cameras for each shot, and messing with their construction can ruin the whole set up. Moving wires, unplugging things, or even setting items on top of something can ruin what others have created. If no orders have been given to move anything, leave everything alone. In addition, illicitly moving things around can distract actors from their take, which can ruin the shoot.


Each department, such as lighting, wardrobe, and make up, operate independently of each other, for the most part. However, each unit must coalesce to create the finish product. Communication between workers is key to making sure that all the work is being done properly and on time. It’s also important to remember to communicate up the chain of command, since the next person up is more likely to know what’s going on, as opposed to the next person down. When communicating to coworkers, keep messages brief. A lot of the talking will be done over walkie-talkies, and it’s important to keep messages as clear as possible.

Stay Busy

Even if filming is in progress, there’s always work to be done. Taking an unofficial break, sitting down, or standing around collecting dust can result in disciplinary action. By taking initiative, and taking care of small, organizational things, the film can actually move along faster.

Become a Ninja

Silence and stealth are two very essential traits to have on a film set. Making a lot of noise can interrupt a take, distract the actors, or interrupt communication between other workers. Private conversations, even work related, should be taken off-set. It’s also vital to wear dark clothing. Light colored clothes can reflect light and ruin the lighting for a certain scene.

Be Prepared

The proper materials should always be taken on set, depending on what jobs are needed for the day. If on location shooting is happening, be prepared for the weather conditions. It’s also important to be mentally prepared to quickly switch tasks and adapt to the current situation.

No Personal Issues

Bad days and mistakes are a part of life, but not a part of movie life. If a mistake is made, correct is as quickly as possible. Leave all emotional stress and family at home, as well. Focus solely on the work and be distraction free as possible, to ensure the highest possible work ethic.


There’s a lot of heavy machinery and expensive equipment on set. Running can knock these, or at the very least, another person over. Also, if it appears as if something is rigged up incorrectly or dangerously, alert someone who can fix it right away.