View Full Version : TV studios' rules?
12-03-2004, 05:41 AM
My brother-in-law will be guest starring in a network drama which shoots while I'm in L.A. visiting them.
Would it be reasonable to ask him if I could spend a day observing on the set, or is there some hard rule against it?
12-03-2004, 02:37 PM
I don't know about rules. I imagine it depends on the show, the producers, the director, etc. But you never know unless you ask. It might be a valuable lesson on how good craft services can really be.
12-03-2004, 03:53 PM
Well, I'm sure I'd learn a lot, and I guess I will ask. I just hope it's not like asking the airline pilot if I can fly the plane for a while.
12-06-2004, 08:12 AM
It can be a real pain to observe on set sometimes, because the production people generally think of any outsider as a rube who has the potential to hurt themselves or break equipment with their big fumbling fingers.
I was invited to the set of "Ed" by the show's cinematographer, but the 2nd AD really treated my friend and I like dirt from the time we arrived. Even though we were both experienced in production (which admittedly this guy didn't know a thing about us), the 2nd AD made us sit in a holding area for well over an hour. If we even stood up, he'd come by and talk to us about how he couldn't have us walking around the set.
This got to be a big problem because the DP would come over and tell us to go check out some cool part of the set, so we'd walk off and take a look only to have the AD find us and scold us for being out of our holding area. I would understand if we were actively poking through stuff, but we were simply standing on the outside of a set, looking at the construction.
He didn't let up on us until the DP actually invited us to stand by the camera during a take, when the AD saw us interacting with the cinematographer, asking questions about his choice of lenses, he finally went easy on us.
While this guy was probably a little more persistant then the average Assistant Director, it seems to be a general opinion that any visitor to a set is a hinderance that must be watched carefully.
This doesn't mean you won't learn something by going, just that you should expect to be treated like a child on occasion.
12-06-2004, 08:49 AM
I have worked on sets for over a decade and J's story is the worst I have ever heard of a visitor being treated. Glad I will not run into that AD. Sorry to hear it. But most of the time people are acepted as long as they do not get in the way. It is up to the producers, but unless there is something sensative being shot, or the director or actors are asses, it should be fine. Just stay back at first, get to know the flow of things when you get there. As much as I have a love/hate for being on set, theflow of a good crew is something to watch. Just do not go touching anything, not that you would, and be alert. And enjoy the craft services. Hope it all works out for you.
12-06-2004, 11:32 AM
Thanks! If I get that AD or similar, is it fairly easy to just leave the set? Do they lock the doors or anything?
12-07-2004, 11:14 AM
Obviously you wouldn't be able to leave the set during a take, but locking doors is generally a fire hazard and isn't done.
12-09-2004, 12:21 PM
I hope no one minds but J_Barnes’s story reminds me of a similar experience. When I first moved to LA I was hired to be the production manager on the movie Medicine Man with Sean Connery, this was one of those I knew someone who got me the job. To gain experience working together the producer asked me to manage a 35mm promo for ABC called “Wednesday Night Mom’s,” it was a lot of the same crew that would be working on the movie.
Once everything got underway, the producer asked me to come and sit with him and the director, I had no idea where you sit on a set is such a big deal. Anyway, I watched a couple of takes and noticed there was a frying pan hanging from the pan rack that appeared to be “growing” out of the actors head, I quietly leaned over and mentioned my observation to the producer who did the same to the DP. This A-hole did seven more takes before stopping and moving the pan and letting me know what he thought of me. I was just trying to save a little film. Needless to say, I blew the opportunity to work on the feature.
A couple of years later I ran into the same producer and director flying to a shoot in Vancouver where I was the effects supervisor, the DP was still an arrogant idiot – he wouldn’t even look at me, the producer was quite talkative. When I asked him why I didn’t get the job he said that the DP didn’t like me so they paid me, what I thought was a fair price, to get out of the contract. The next day when I showed up to the set, guess who the DP was…
So I had a decision to make, was I going to be a bigger man then he was and work with him anyway – all the while making his life pure hell, or should I tell the producer, who by the way is still a good friend and the same producer who tried to get me the production management job on Medicine Man?
Luckily he was part of the second unit and we didn’t need him – there is justice in the world…
12-10-2004, 07:55 PM
It really depends on the set and what type of scene is being shot. I can honestly say that I walked right onto a set once when I was in college. I read in the paper that a film crew was going to be in town filming a low budget movie. I had my resume in pocket and I walked right onto the set and shot the breeze with a P.A. who I eventually showed them my resume and they were impressed and showed the Director and just like that, I landed a P.A. position! It was more like a intern thing but hey I got to spend 2 weeks on a working set just by walking up and talking to the right person!
12-11-2004, 02:00 AM
Regardless of profession, I find that the real pros tend to be approachable and modest. It's the ones who are insecure who tend to be arrogant. I wonder why so many insecure people in the film biz?
12-22-2004, 04:07 PM
cuz their are 3 types of people in this biz
1. those who know what they are doing
2. Those who don't
3. those who don't so much they pretend that they do
it's number 3 ya gotta watch out for
12-26-2004, 11:01 AM
Great Posts guys