The other day, on a film set, an actress recognized me from a blog I had written about packing an ‘actor bag’ for the set. She told me how much it helped her and that she bookmarked that page. True story! It totally made my day, so I thought I’d share some more of my practical advice – this time about how to survive (literally and figuratively) on a movie set.
So, here we go, kids!
1. Watch your step and always look where you’re going!
O..M..G, a film set is full of death traps! As klutzy as I am, it’s a miracle I survived the film shoot intact! I did stumble over a sandbag on day 3 (I think it was day 3…it’s all a blur now) and almost fell face-first on top of a glass table; but I was lucky and caught myself, barely! Moving from one room of the set to another was like running the gauntlet and I halfway expected Klingon spears to be tossed at me. Sometimes the set had to be darkened for night scenes. Goodie! Add long hours plus fatigue and – voilà! You have a recipe for disaster! Also, never ever touch any of the lights on the set, because you will burn yourself worse than from a curling iron! Oh and last one: Never, ever touch the movie camera(s). Especially if it’s a RED. The DP, AC or AD will most likely kill you instantly!
2. Find cover!
If you’re not a big movie star, celebrity or any other VIP actor that has a trailer in which to relax in between camera setups, you’re SOL when it comes to finding a quiet and serene little spot. Wanna go over your lines again in peace? Wanna get in that ‘mode’? Need to focus and meditate? Are you on a low budget little indie film set? Well, then, GOOD LUCK, mwuahaha! Best bet is wherever the make-up people are (ssshhhh, don’t tell them I said that, it’s our little secret, ok? Just don’t touch their stuff). In my case, it was a quiet little bedroom and I took every opportunity I had to hide in there and go over my script again. Or maybe even nap a little…
3. Beware the live wireless mic!
Forgot about that tiny little mic that the sound guy put inside your blouse or under your collar? You know, that thing that comes with the transmitter tucked into the back of your pants? Oh yeah…this has potential embarrassment written all over it! Thankfully the sound dude had a sense of humor when he heard me make a joke at his expense to another actor – on the other, far side of the set! Ever wanted to disappear into a hole in the ground? Equally important to remember are two litte words when you’re ‘wired’: bathroom break!