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What’s It Like To Be On A Film Production Set?

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Being on a film production set can be both exhilarating and demanding. Whether it is a large or small production, here’s a brief glimpse into what it’s like.

A huge aspect is teamwork and collaboration. Film sets are truly alive with activity and filled with professionals from various departments, including directors, producers, actors, cinematographers, sound technicians, gaffers, and more. Despite the seemingly chaotic nature of a film set, there’s a clear structured workflow in place. Each department has its own responsibilities and operates according to a predetermined schedule outlined prior by the production team. In turn, collaboration is key, and everyone works together to bring the vision to life. 

However, even on a production with proper amounts of pre-production, the intensity of the energy can be both revitalizing or overwhelming, depending on your personal demeanor. If, or more likely, when things don’t go as according to plan, whether it’s dealing with technical issues, adverse weather conditions, or last-minute script changes/ideas, crew members must be adaptable and resourceful, finding creative solutions to overcome obstacles and keep the production on track while maintaining a positive mood. It’s truly up to everyone to be a team player and collaborate and pull the production through to meet expectations.

Nevertheless, despite the fast-paced nature of filmmaking at times, there’s also a lot of waiting involved. Have you ever heard the saying, “Hurry up and wait!” It’s very accurate on set. Actors and crew members may spend days or hours preparing for a scene, only to shoot for a few minutes before resetting for the next take.

That being said, these breaks are often taken with gratitude. Film shoots often involve rather long hours, often stretching into days, weeks, or months. Crew members may work 12-hour days or longer to capture the necessary footage. If you’re not a big fan of coffee now, you will be after a few days on set.

It’s also important to stay focused on the end result throughout the process, even if you’re tired. The precision and attention to detail are paramount in every aspect of filmmaking, from lighting and framing to sound design and continuity. Every shot must be carefully planned and executed to ensure consistency and quality. 

At the end of the day, all the hard work pays off. Despite the challenges, being on a film set is incredibly rewarding. Even looking at this BTS photo from a film I Directed/Produced, floods me with visceral memories. Coming up with creative solutions on set is exhilarating and there’s a sense of camaraderie among the crew, and seeing months of hard work come together on screen is immensely gratifying.

Being on a film production set is a unique and immersive experience that requires dedication, creativity, and teamwork. It’s a blend of artistry and technical precision, where every member plays a crucial role in bringing a story to life. If you’d like to check out the project the BTS photo is from, just head on over here to learn more.

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Pedestrian Collective has been specializing in creative storytelling for over 15 years.

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