Film Set Survival Guide

A guide to making it to wrap

Let’s be real, the stress and long hours of film production can take its toll. It’s not for the faint of heart, but there are a few things you can do to help yourself survive and hopefully finish strong.

1. Start with the Basics

This means eating right, getting as much sleep as you can, taking your vitamins, and drinking plenty of water. These habits are important no matter what you’re doing, but during film production everyone is pushing a little harder so it’s important to start with a firm foundation for health and wellbeing.

2. Invest in Good Shoes

You’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet, it’s worth it to spend a little more for good shoes. Amidst all the chaos on set the last thing you want to deal with is sore feet.

3. Bring Your Own Snacks

Sometimes the craft services and meals on set are awesome. . . and sometimes they are totally not. You probably won’t know the food situation until it’s meal time; you’re already hungry, and it’s too late to make a plan B. Having your own snacks handy can literally be a lifesaver.

See also: Role of the Production Assistant: Vast & Various

4. Pack Extras of Everything

Extra clothes, extra socks, extra rain gear, extra equipment. . . extras of anything that you might need to keep on working. You never know what you will face each day on set and being prepared can help you stand out as an exceptional crew member.   

Film Set Survival Guide

Walkie Talkie Lingo Cheat Sheet

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5. Have a Texting Buddy

Working together on a film set can be intense. It’s usually not appropriate or professional to express your true feelings on set, but an off-set texting buddy that you can quickly vent to if needed can really help you get frustration out of the way so that you can focus on the work at hand.

6. Know When to Quit

Sometimes you just need to call it a day and take a rest. You can not work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and make it to the end of a long shoot. Remember, rest allows your body to recharge and reboots your creativity.

See also: 4 Essential Tools to Make Your Film Production a Breeze

7. Use Common Sense

If something about a production doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Listen to your gut. If you feel unsafe, you probably are! If you feel like you’re being cheated, you probably are! In the heat of the moment it’s easy for even responsible directors and producers to suddenly find themselves hanging their crew members out of 3rd story windows to get the perfect shot, or promising wages they can’t pay. Just because you’re told or asked to do something it doesn’t mean that it’s true or that you have to do it. Use your common sense, don’t be afraid to say no, and walk off set if you have to.  

If something about a production doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Listen to your gut.

8. Keep the Love Alive

The only way to really survive production is to truly love what you do. If you lose your passion for filmmaking it can be tough to make it to the end of a long shoot. Do what you can to keep that love alive; filmmaking should always be an adventure your heart loves and longs to be on.

Last but not least… Keep the coffee flowing. We all know what really fuels film sets.

Leslie-Signature

Film Set Survival Guide

Walkie Talkie Lingo Cheat Sheet

Professional Free Customizable

Making a film soon?

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Leslie Ruiz

Leslie is a filmmaker, artist, and businesswoman; she’s also a devout list maker, shops for relaxation, & has a strong aversion to the color red.

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