Film making can be categorized into three main stages: pre-production, production, and post-production.
Pre-production is the stage where all the planning regarding the film is done. It's a very critical as starting from financial commitments to finalizing cast and crew will be done.
'Actual' pre-production process is when you are spending money on script writing, casting and securing crew.
The second stage, production starts right after the financing. Here the shooting of the movie starts where everybody works as a team from dawn to dusk. Throughout production everything happens in one go. The arrangement of props, working with actors, making sure lights and camera are working fine and much more.
After completion of the movies, the post-production process starts. It is not difficult as compared to the production process, but very vital. Working as a production assistant is a tough and responsible job. Here, we have listed down some of the important points which can give you a feel about actual working on a movie set/production site. Following these points can help you prepare for the industry and achieve your goals.
1. Face Challenges
Always believe “Every single day on a job in the film is an opportunity to prove yourself”. Instead of asking yourself are you enjoying, challenge yourself if you have done things in a right way to make a film a success. Instead of questioning if some job is worth your time, believe in how it can be important and what you can learn from it. If you will every single challenge, people will value you more.
2. Proper Presentation
A film set is a judgemental place, where every individual will judge you. Everyone is dependent on each other, so everyone is constantly evaluating whom they can depend on. Your objective should be whatever job is assigned to you should be done in a proper manner make it look like as a professional work.
3. Keep It Simple and Comfortable
Your dress code should make you feel so comfortable yet presentable in every situation. Whether you are walking into a Director’s office or to climbing a 15-foot ladder, you should be able to carry yourself. Do not overdress.
4. Value time
Nobody will entertain you if you are late at your workplace. A late person and a person who have missed important meetings can never be trusted. All planning of your pre-work routine, and personal work like parking a car, eating breakfast, having coffee, reviewing the call sheet, checking in with your department etc.— all of them should happen before your call time.
5. Focus on details of a work assigned
Whatever work is assigned to you, do it with dedication and passion. If a work requires additional information, gather it, compile it into a clear format. If you have to send photos, label each one of them. Make searchable subject headings for your emails. If you are giving an object or a piece of paper, keep it in an envelope and label it.
6. Avoid on-set gossips
If you want to be focused on your work and gain respect from others, then keep your personal life personal. Avoid on-set drama and gossip.
7. Involvement in different departments
Inside each crew, one department will always be known as “problematic” department. they will be routinely blamed for every wrong thing. A bad reputation is always easy to earn and difficult to dismiss. Learn and try to involve in each department. What each department does and what are their responsibilities.
8. Ask questions from the right person at right time
Before asking anyone a question on the set, as yourself first is it the right time and place?
Not necessary what might be important for you should also be of equal importance to others. Asking for a break for lunch in between an important scene being shot can put you into a bad situation. In the case of doubts, first always try to reach out to your subordinates in the same or another department. Contacting your superiors is not always a great idea. For example, to know a wifi password, it's better to contact other production assistant instead of the producer.
9. Be an active listener only when required
If there is a conversation going on related to you or your department, listen properly and intervene when it is required. Do no indulge in conversations which are not related to you or your department. If the director is having a conversation with an actor in front of you, try to take a polite exit. Always give space to others when it is required and be there when they require you. Try to be always attentive in production meetings, or any type of announcement.
10. Always do a follow through
The way a film set is divided into different departments with different responsibilities, same way departments are also divided into individuals with specific responsibilities. Once your department head has assigned you some work, make sure it’s your responsibility to do the follow ups. When they assign it, they sometimes forget it. After finishing a portion of the task, discuss it with them. It will only prove your dedication and how sincere you are towards your work.
11. Give your best shot and leave the rest
Sometimes, film shoots experience can be terrible. Directors may lose their temper, producers can be crooks; people may behave badly with rough communication skills.
But it would be a mistake to think that this profile is not for you or you don’t belong to this place. The production industry can be a deck of cards, where everyone is restructured into different crews, an infinite number of times in a year. At that moment, don’t lose hope and give your best shot. Your focus should only be on your work and what should you do to look it better.
Every day, the film set selects a hero — the person who saves the shot, the person who is working hard in every situation. Think of the day when people are calling your name in harmony, your co-workers praising you, the actor who normally snubs you, telling you that you are the best they have ever worked with. If you master the art of work assigned to you, you can be that hero.
Your job is to make things better every day. When you succeed with grace, by keeping a positive attitude that is when you call working on movies is fun. Being a hero doesn’t mean to become the center of the attraction. It means working out hard in each possible way to help make the movie better.
Working on a film set and that too in a production team can be a very challenging job, but keeping in mind the above points can make you a hero at your own workplace.