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Set Etiquette

September 9, 2016

By now it's become a cliche in the industry that "good things happen to good people."  But what exactly does that mean?  What sort of behaviors need to be exhibited in the casting room, on set, in the editing room, and at the screening to ensure that everyone involved in the production has warm and fuzzy feelings about their colleagues?  


Here are a few tips about maintaining etiquette when working on a production.  


Tip 1:  Be Generous in the Casting Room

If you're a casting director, we know that you've got to sit through endless auditions, and some of these auditions start to go south from the moment they commence.  But when an actor starts into their monologue, or starts to read their sides, and you can instantly tell that they're NOT right for the part, it's important to treat the auditioning actor with respect.  Just think about the effort they expended just to drive to the casting facility and audition for you.  


And if you're an actor auditioning for a casting director, be open to suggestions in the casting room.  Remember- if you're challenged, or asked to read a character a different way, the producers aren't questioning your creative prowess, they're simply doing their due-diligence as filmmakers.  They have a big decision to make, so help them make it.  


Tip 2:  Always Follow Through

From time to time, some filmmakers will get discouraged about their film, and start to dislike several elements of performances during their productions.  But even if certain elements aren't up to your standards it is critical to follow through and actually finish your film.  Remember the sense of possibility you felt the first time you heard the actor read your lines in the casting room to rekindle the creative spark between you and your cast; and always remember that actors (especially those working for deferred or no-pay) deserve the footage they participated in for their reels. 


Tip 3:  Actors- Be patient

Let's say you've wrapped a project, and it's been weeks, and still- the final cut of your project hasn't emerged.  It's important to remember that after the shoot, there's a myriad of things that a filmmaker has to do- from basic editing, to color correction, to sound design, to adding titles in order to finalize your film.  It's important to give these directors space as they bring all of these disparate parts together.  


Also Directors:  If you've wrapped a shoot and it's going to be a while before the final cut, be sure to regularly update your actors.  


These are just a few tips to follow when being a good partner on set, and off. 

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