3 Tips for Actors on Set For the First Time


Ben Russell

Ben Russell

·4 min read

You’ve been invited to set for the very first time. Congratulations! Before you arrive on set for a very exciting day, it’s important to be familiar with the etiquette production crew will expect you to adhere to. These tips will help ensure that you’re invited back to set and kept in mind for future shoots.

  • Preparation is key. 

Come to set prepared. Of course there is a tight production schedule with a ton of moving parts. That means be on time (or a tad bit early) and ready to work. Know your lines because the producers on set will trust that you’ve taken your time to rehearse the script. Key insider tip: bring your own pen to sign paperwork, a phone charger and something to occupy your time just in case you end up sitting around waiting for the cameras to start rolling. You could be on set for an hour or eight hours… you’ll be happy you came prepared.

  • Work well with others. 

Everyone appreciates an actor that’s able to both take constructive direction and cooperate with the crew. Actors are only one piece of a gigantic puzzle that is a production shoot. Crew will constantly be giving direction throughout the day, and it can be tedious having to reiterate that direction to actors. Whether it be instructions, notes, or critiques on set - keep an open mind with their suggestions. It’s most likely coming from upper management anyways. If an actor is aptly willing to listen and work well with their co-stars, directors, producers, and so on, the project has even more potential of being a hit. 

Additionally, come to set with a smile. Other actors on set with you want to enjoy their time on set, and one rotten apple can spoil it for everyone. The production crew is most likely working 12-16 hour days on set to make the shoot happen, and the last thing they want is someone with a bad attitude. 

  • Don’t be Afraid to Speak Up. 

Being on set can be intimidating, especially for the first couple of shoots. Although it is extremely important to listen and take notes from the cast and crew, you have a voice, too. This doesn’t mean talking back to the director, but rather to voice an opinion or concern when necessary and appropriate. If you’re confused about something, such as stage direction or a character’s motivation, If the question or opinion is valid enough, speak up! Beware, however, of coming off too aggressive or unprofessional. It’s not your project at the end of the day.

Every set is different, but common set etiquette is appreciated universally. Don’t be the actor that’s grumpy and holds up the schedule!