Lessons from a Movie Set 2

So a movie set has a lot going on and this means people are pretty busy with one thing or the other. It might not be on set per se, but all things mesh together every single day. In simple English, it means that everyone connected to a movie production has one function or the other to fill. The set designer, wardrobe assistant, script supervisor, gaffer, boom operator, production assistant each has a role to play and play it they must!

Since I’m not a stranger to work and have done several versions of it so far I was totally alright with it. So once I understood that administrative duties were the core of what I signed up for, I got down to it. In doing some of them I was almost driven bonkers, but some things are part and parcel of life. Some of these not so humble duties meant I got to know how the money was spent. How much went on pre-production, location and post production…I followed the money! In fact that’s practically most of what I dealt with, but the fun of corresponding with different players and wearing several hats in the process became part of my repertoire.


One of the more mundane things, making calls almost became my worst nightmare ever. I had to call any and every body imaginable. It was so not fun! I had to spend more time yakking with strangers, suppliers, actors, vendors and personnel than I’d ever spent on the phone with my family. Those that like the sound of their own voice will not understand how traumatised I truly was. Trust me when I say that the strain of communicating (making sure everyone understands what’s said) is a skill that you think you have until you encounter those that repeatedly challenge it.


Doing your job is important as everyone can testify, more so on set. However, there’s a flip side to this and that brings me to another valuable lesson. There are times one must not only do the job but must be seen to be doing your job. Same difference right? It’s more complicated than that and although I had seen it play out I did not think much about it, until I had to theatrically demonstrate it myself. It turns out just doing your job is not enough, at times it must be clearly seen that you’re doing just that.


When everything runs smoothly it seems the person that makes it so could be easily overlooked. Hence if something they forgot (no matter how minor) comes to light, they get raked over the coals for that infraction. At times maybe someone just wants to stir things up and subtly throws shade that your department is not efficient, so you not only have to defend your actions but make as much noise about it as possible and shame all detractors in the process. Did I hear you say drama, of the highest order and this sometimes does not involve the actual actors on set either.



Doing your job and be seen to be doing your job are a lifelong understanding I have taken from my six weeks jaunt on my first movie set. To do one’s job ought to be considered normal, but the second lesson found me draw on my latent acting skills because it meant drawing attention to the job at hand and then blowing up what I had done or made happen for all and sundry to see. Of course this is not something I would have thought was necessary but in life one constantly lives and learns. Let this thought percolate as you let the weekend unfold. In fact try and relax but also let others see you to be chilling as well.

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