A friend of mine holds the opinion that nothing has contributed to the breakdown of discipline on set as the advent of HD. I tend to agree. For years, film sets have operated under a framework of unwritten rules known as "Set Etiquette." Since the advent of digital filmmaking, these rules seem to be breaking down. Here are a few of these for those who don't know:
1. Don't cross the lens if the operator is looking through it. Saying "crossing" as you block it is not only an indicator that you are a newbie on set, it draws attention to the fact that you are breaking rule number one. Be aware of where the camera is. Don't stand in front of it. Period. Ever.
2. Don't stand in doorways. Seriously. There's an old joke about the DGA standing for "Door Guards of America." It's not a compliment. I immediately know who is new on set when I see them standing in a doorway. Just stop it.
3. If you are a makeup or hair artist, don't practice your art in the middle of the set while we are lighting or lining up a shot. Or in doorways. Also, don't leave your bags in front of or on the dolly or grip equipment. Yes this happens.
4. If your camera has a flash, and you need to take a still, announce "flashing." It ain't brain surgery. The electricians will thank you. If you don't know why, go back to film school. You don't belong on a set.
5. If you are a juicer and you turn on a light, practice courtesy. Announce before you blast thousands of watts of light onto unsuspecting eyes. I was almost blinded last week because some rookie hit a button and swung a 6k directly into my eyes with no warning.
6. If The Walking Dead was your first show, you are a rookie. Shut it, you know nothing. Go sand out the jockey boxes.
7. When "rolling" is called, just stop. Stop moving. Don't pick anything up. Don't put anything down. It's the easiest thing in the world to stand still and do nothing. Just do that.
It's up to us to teach these new people and apparently we are failing miserably. I blame myself (not really). I blame you,
The Captain has spoken.
Wow, I've gotten such a big response in such a short amount of time that I've decided to add more. Please feel free to add your own rules that you see broken on a regular basis.
8. If you don't know how to operate a particular piece of equipment, then say so. I've heard of cranes coming off of tracks, cameras falling off of heads etc. Just because you call yourself a Key Grip or a Dolly Grip doesn't make you one. Learn your craft. I'm thinking of someone in particular. Jackass.
9. If the dolly isn't working and is off to the side, that doesn't mean it's free to use as a seat, coat rack, deli tray, or plaything. If you ask me, I'll usually tell you you can sit on it after I make sure it's safe. But at least ask me.
I have since edited this post. I got a little carried away and put some things that weren't etiquette issues in. I have taken those out. Also to my makeup and hair brothers and sisters, I have clarified my point after being asked to by a hair stylist on Twitter. I added "while we are lighting or lining up a shot." Okay, I think I'm done.