I’ve had quite a few students come along with me on film shoots over the years. I’ve also been on many film sets for work experience myself, both in make up and art depts. I don’t claim to be any sort of expert, but there have been a few occasions where I have found myself silently screaming ‘For the love of God, NO!’. Similarly, I have inwardly punched the air in triumph at other students actions.
It may surprise you to know that none of these reactions have been provoked by actual make up application. It’s only really half the job. Film sets have certain etiquette about them, or ‘setiquette’, if you will. It is important to fit into this in order to succeed. Here are a few tips (more to follow at a later date) in no particular order:
DO make yourself useful. Despite the fact that you are working for free, you’re not actually doing the film crew any favours. It’s the other way around in fact. The film crew can probably manage just fine without you and would probably save themselves time and money (transport, insurance, catering, expenses etc) by not having you there. No matter how long the hours may be, don’t moan, do join in, volunteer for little tasks and be proactive.
I had one assistant complain about being asked to do touch ups. She felt her talents were being wasted. I didn’t ask her back. I had another refuse to stay at base to mind expensive pieces of kit whilst we went to set. Apparently it was too boring. I didn’t ask her back either. I had another student ignore my emails and text messages about the next days filming. It was the last time I asked her. DON’T act like you don’t want to be there. If you don’t want to be there, don’t be there. It’s that simple.
I know I may sound like an unsympathetic grump who has forgotten what it’s like to be a student, but honestly I haven’t. I had another student, pretty recently in fact, phone me up on her days off to ask whether or not I needed her to come in. Although I didn’t need her in, it actually cost the production nothing for her to come in that day (she was in the area anyway) and so she came in. It was a quiet, easy days filming and so I was able to explain things to her in greater detail, she got to know the crew better and was asked back for several extra days. Everyone’s a winner!
DO make yourself useful. Show willing and you will be given more responsibility. DO make sure people remember you for the right reasons (more to follow on this!) because the grapevine can make or break careers.