Best Practises For An Indie Film Set

Read The Script

All production crew should know the script or the sides for that days shoot. 

The Cinematographer/DP MUST know the story because they are translating the emotion of the story into images at the director's request. Too many indie DPs turn up not knowing the script inside out or not having really read it. This, in my opinion, is the same for all crew roles. If you are involved as part of the crew, bringing this film to life, you will do a better job by understanding the sentiment and story. 

Don’t Make Big Suggestions 

These decision should have been talked through and decided upon before you come to film. 

A director already have so much to worry about, to then have a crew member come up while they are working on a scene and start suggesting ways they could improve the lighting set-up or make big changes that could also impact the story is very distracting and only increases stress.

The set is not the place to start giving your ideas to the director. You should have been involved enough and eager enough prior to the shoot that you made suggestions and also be aware that the director may not want your suggestions. 

It's Not Your Film

Just remember as crew,  somebody else has spent months and usually years creating this story that you are now working on. 

A writer or director or producer has gone through battles over this project that you don’t know about. They may have gone through script reports and discussions with people who are not involved now, about the story and plot and the way they want to shoot, what angles and camera movement - it’s all in their head and some directors see it all vividly in their head. 

So if you make a suggestion and it’s either ignored or politely refused, don’t be precious about it. If you’re frustrated, go and make your own film. Remember this film belongs to someone else. There’s a huge emphasis on team work in the film industry and it is all about teamwork and every single person brings a huge value and talent to the production that you can’t create by yourself BUT unless you have been deeply involved from the very start, from the initial creation, through all the highs and lows of trying to make this happen, remember that ultimately you are there to try and make this beautiful story and images happen for someone else. 

Don’t make a suggestions and then go into a huff on set because nobody took your suggestion. In the end, if you were right and they were wrong - that’s their responsibility too. 

Be Prepared For Long Hours

Especially on indie shoots, come prepared to work and work and work. Just because the call sheet says wrap at 10pm don’t get upset if it doesn’t. Usually things run longer, you’re on your feet all day so bring things to help you. 

Warm clothes if you’re outside, a good book for the times you’re just standing around waiting for sets and lights to be setup, bring snacks, SNACKS that will give you energy between meal times, your favourite fleece blanket. Bring WATER. Never trust that everything will be provided for on a small set. Often the director is having to provide food and drink and sometimes they just have too much on to remember everything. Make sure you have enough to keep YOU going so you don't have to complain or disappear to feed yourself. 

Just accept that this film set will be your home for the time your on it so make camp there, otherwise you will get really upset and frustrated waiting for the day to end.