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Guest Editorial
Set Etiquette
| Monday, 08.01.2016, 10:44 PM |   (4597 views)

Set Etiquette

By Carol Ferrill

Working in the role as a Script Supervisor on numerous productions I’ve observed both highly professional set etiquette behavior as well as conduct lacking in the art of basic good manners and common sense.  Consequently, I wish to address some ground rules.


When addressing others on set here are some dos and don’ts.  Actors:  Actors are professional interpreters of a character in the production.  When they arrive on set they are there to fulfill a job requirement, as is anyone else on set.  Their job requires focus.  They need to memorize lines and get into a character, which demands solitude.  A simple acknowledgement of them is appropriate.  But, don’t distract the actors by requesting autographs, pictures or conversations.  This is considered unacceptable behavior and can get you fired, kicked off the set, and blackballed from working.  Don’t disturb the actors!  Director:  Directors are the engines on the train.  They are responsible for keeping that train on the track and moving ahead at an acceptable speed.  They coordinate everyone and everything during the production.  They have so much on their plate that they don’t have time to greet everyone or to socialize.  They have assistants under them to coordinate many other facets of the production.  Consequently, as a crewmember, report to the appropriate head of the department in which you belong.


Time is money in a shoot.  Arrive on set on time and be prepared to commence work immediately. Start organizing and planning your job duties and responsibilities so the shoot can be shot in a timely manner.  Productions are allotted a specific amount of time in which to complete the production.  Consequently, horseplay and unprofessional behavior can result in the production going over budget.  Remain alert.  When the director calls “quiet on the set” that means you freeze.  Don’t talk or even whisper.  Don’t move.  And, be sure all cells phones are silenced.  Production microphones are extremely sensitive and can pick up the smallest rustle. So, if you must breathe, do it quietly.  There will be time for fun later.  But, when on set, exhibit proper set etiquette.


Requests from a script supervisor.  Script supervisors need to consult with the actors, wardrobe and makeup professionals. They require a certain space to work during the shoot. It’s imperative the script supervisor has easy access to the monitor.  This means the script supervisor possesses a chair near the monitor and near the director.  If the director or script supervisor happen to leave their chair don’t feel a sense of entitlement to take over that spot in order to have a front row seat. Crew pertinent to that location on set will be placed there if necessary.  Don’t assume.


At the end of the day, unless it is a union shoot, pitch in and help tidy up so that everyone gets to leave in a timely manner. This is just exhibiting basic good manners to the rest of the crew. Basically, use common sense and maturity while on set.


Carole A. Ferrill is a Past  State President of Florida Motion Picture &

Television Association and a Script Supervisor

 She can be reached at


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