BOOKED IT! You did it! You just heard those magic words and have been booked for your first production, and you are on Cloud 9! You should be; this is an exciting time. All of your hard work, late nights practicing your lines, and all of the call callbacks have led to this moment. Your first time on set! You might be excited and nervous about your first time on set, and that is Okay. We have put together our top five tips for anyone's first time on set. Plus, we have a Bonus tip in the mix for you too!
1 Know your lines - But not TOO well. We know, this seems like a no-brainer . . . but you would be surprised. Know your lines twice as well as you think you do. You might find the time on set when all the distractions can become overwhelming. You don't want to be that actor holding up production by messing up your three lines while having people stare at you impatiently on set. BUT, don't know your lines so well you anticipate them. This is one of the biggest mistakes new actors make on set, jumping lines or reactions.
2 Learn the Terms. Walking onto a set for the first time is very much like walking into a new world, and in this new world, there is a whole new language. You should know and understand camera angles, common on-set terms, and shot setups. Some important ones are: "Over the shoulder," "Rolling," “Speed,” "Marking Rehearsal," "Continuity," "Check the Gate," and our favorite, "Action." We have put together a list of 14 film set terms every actor should know, to help save you some time!
3. Repeat what you did in the callback. Ultimately you received this role because of what you did during your addition. Don't Change Anything! Don't give your character a crazy backstory or a new accent when your line is "Can't Do it, Trust me." The director has too much to worry about without needing to deal with why you changed everything about your character's motivation and why you changed your line delivery. Time is money, and when the producer or showrunners need to get through as much material each day as they can. You already showed you have what it takes for this role—Don't' change Anything.
4. Find & Hit Your Marks
The Camera focus is set to "Marks" on the set. If you overstep your mark, you will be out of focus. Experienced actors know how to hit their marks without looking and deliver their lines perfectly. Don't be afraid to ask for a mark or some clarity on where your “frame” is.
5. Photos and videos are a no go while on set! Please don't take photos/ videos of the set and post them to Instagram or TikTok unless specifically told you are allowed to. Most, if not all, productions will inform you that you can't post set photos or videos on social media in your contract. No one likes spoilers, and you don't want to be the person posting them. NOTE: Some projects have a social media submission process and person. They’ll ask you to send them what you want to post then they’ll approve or decline.
BONUS TIP: Have Fun! You are here, on set! You do not have to imagine the set, the other actors, or the props (unless a CGI shot 😁). All of those things are in front of you. Enjoy yourself; you will have some fantastic actors working opposite you, fun costumes, real locations, and a lot of people working hard to make you look amazing! When the time comes to film your scene, enjoy it!
We hope these tips help put your mind to ease. Have fun and good luck!