On-Set Etiquette

Image of Rachel Peters
Rachel Peters

Q: What do clients look for on my first day on the job? How can I make sure they ask me back?

Question of the Day: On-Set Etiquette

If you’ve been in the business for awhile, it’s easy to show up to a shoot with nothing but a smile, the knowledge in your head and the work ethic to get things done. If you’re new to the game, you may be eager to impress and show someone how much you can handle.

Either way, it’s important to take 3 minutes to check your vibe when meeting a new client or going on a new gig or interview. Setting a good first impression requires more than showing up on time. Good set etiquette is the strongest driver for repeat bookings.

For me, it was wrapping cables and keeping my mouth shut working with a fiery Technical Director. Knowing to keep my opinion to myself and my hands active allowed me to make it to the next show, rather than being shown the door like my vociferous crew mate…and the Technical Director.

Knowing when and how to apply your skill is just as important as the skill itself. Being self-aware when setting that first impression is key to how a client will remember you.

Production Don'ts...

  • Selling your latest film project or your daughter's Girl Scout cookies to executives on the set
  • Wearing strong scents, jean shorts or stained t-shirts, even if they are from a tour you worked
  • Venting openly while on the job
  • Eating food that is not yours or meant for event participants
  • Disappearing or being on your phone for long periods of time

Production Do’s…

  • Always have your badge or ID on-hand, respect and build trust with security
  • Monitor the set and anticipate any potential problems or delays – always look for solutions
  • Bringing food or water for others when you have the chance
  • Gaffer tape – Keep it handy as there are 1,000,001 uses
  • Share industry apps or new trends with other crew
  • Stay active and offer assistance

It may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised at the unexpected things that people do knowing that production can be a friendly and familiar environment.

An astute, proactive vibe will always go a long way to boost that first impression and ensure that you’re asked back for the next gig.


TeamPeople is a media staffing company. We work with clients ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to government agencies to recruit, hire and manage creative and technical media production and AV talent. We combine extensive industry expertise with a passion for what we do to deliver best-in-class solutions for our diverse clients.

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