There are some really great blog posts bouncing around the internet regarding Set Etiquette.

I like this one for it’s basic, no-nonsense set of rules. It’s geared primarily to movie sets, which are truly their own world: weeks or months on the same project, with the same crew, often in studio.

My world is very different.

I’m usually working with different crews, in different locations including private homes and businesses. I expect a businesslike demeanor from the professionals I work with. Occasionally, I get an unpleasant surprise.

On one shoot, I was preparing to start an interview with our guest in her home. I happened to glance over to see a grip not only sitting on the couch, but with his feet propped up on the coffee table. I stood up, made some excuse about needing to check something and pulled the DP aside. I made it clear that this needed to be corrected immediately. And it was.

So here are my guidelines for shooting on location in a private home or business:

  • No off color language.
  • No off color jokes.
  • No raised voices – I don’t do it, no one else should have to.
  • No open cans on set. Drinks must have screw-on caps. My water bottle sits in my set pack on the floor.
  • No drinks on the furniture, ever.
  • We do not sit on the comfy furniture. Find an apple box.
  • If I have a problem with Grips, Electric, Audio, I will run it through the DP.
  • I will communicate directly with PAs, Art Director, Makeup and Talent.
  • If I’m conducting an interview and there’s a problem, DO NOT bust the shot. Chances are I am aware of the issue, and I want the talent to complete their thoughts. I have no problem going back and doing it again, but I’ve had talent get frazzled by someone yelling “Cut!” while they were talking. Very simply, that’s my line.
  • If we’re shooting hand held and you don’t know where to stand, stand behind me.
  • Crew are first in line for meals.

And finally, when we wrap a location, no one should be able to tell we were ever there.

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