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The Film Industry - Backstage Pass!

A crash course in what to expect, what to wear, and exactly how much free food you can expect. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot.

That’s right!

We’re pulling back the curtain and giving you a backstage pass into our work in the film industry! You’ll see how we prepare, how we work, and how we Make. Stuff. Happen.

Let’s do this.

What do I wear?

Repeat after us: Comfort and function. Before you leave the house, get yourself together using these tips!

  • Shoes.

  • Pro tip: no open-toed shoes! Like ever.

  • Here are some of our faves! Psst … You may need multiple pairs for a single shoot day.

  • Converse Allstars - GREAT for outdoor sets

  • Nike Running Shoes

  • Ariat utility cowboy boots or some kind of work boot. You may need these just for load-in and load-out, particularly if caught in a Minnesota blizzard. (Speaking from experience) Check the forecast ahead of time, people!

  • Crocs … Don’t judge us. Pretty please?! These are seriously great for the times you need shoes that slip on and off easily, like when filming in someone’s home. But if Crocs aren’t your thang, you can opt for hard-soled slippers as well!

  • Clothes! ... Yes, wear clothes. Specifically:

  • Pants + Leggings.

  • The Carhartt Force Utility Leggings are the! These babies have a high waist, reinforced knees, and are tight at the ankles. They also have the perfect pockets to keep your utility knife and scissors handy.

  • Ladies, trust us. Give XL boys cargo pants a try, too. Katie has a couple of different pairs of the Land's End brand that she has picked up from thrift sales. Drawstring waist, pockets, and heavy-duty fabric. Win-win-WIN!

  • Bibs/Overalls - These are great if you want full coverage. Because we know you’re a mover and a shaker.

  • We also LOVE the Heirloom Overalls from Duluth Trading Company. Pockets, pockets, pockets!

  • Katie’s winter bibs are a boys’ department steal. And Carhartt. Sensing a pattern here? Pro tip: try the XL boys bibs before going to women's sizes, which can save you like $60!

  • Shirts + Sweatshirts.

  • Layer up! Things move quickly on set, so this will give you the comfort and flexibility you need to keep moving.

  • We usually do a combo of a crew neck t-shirt + a zip-up jacket. Consider an overcoat and/or vest depending on the weather.

  • Hats - Do what works best for you! We love a great baseball cap, beanie, or stocking cap, depending on the time of year. Or have a hood on your outerwear!

What do I bring?

  • On Your Person:

  • Have these on you at all times:

  • Your License, Debit/Credit Card, and some Cash

  • Utility Knife or Multitool, and Scissors

  • Pen, Pencil, and Sharpie

  • Bonus: Eye Drops, Chapstick, Advil, Hand Sanitizer

  • How do you keep them with you?! Try one of these out:

  • Ample Pocket Space, courtesy your new Carhartt purchases :)

  • A Fanny Pack! This is a fave for many of our Uncommon Creatives. Katie’s is epic - bright pink with doughnuts (which we can only assume are gluten-free)

  • A Fishing Vest for all the pocket space you will ever need

  • *What NOT to try: a cross-body bag. Katie learned early on that it just doesn’t cut it. The second you bend over, that thing is like a mini wrecking ball hanging from your shoulders, knocking over anything in its path.

  • On Set:

  • Bring along a snack and a water bottle!

  • A phone charger and/or cordless charger

  • A Lil Industry Nugget: VUER is this great app that allows us to look at the frame on our phone, rather than having to run back to the monitor when we’re adjusting and styling. Whaaaat?!? The only bummer is that it drains your phone battery, so be sure to have a way to charge that baby!

  • A notepad for jotting down errands and/or great advice from your fellow crew members

  • In Your Kit:

  • We will do an extensive Kit List in an upcoming blog post, but for now, we’ll give you some of the basics!

  • Adhesives: Joe Sticky, Super Tape, Gel Super Glue, Hot Glue, and ALL kinds of tape!

  • Writing Utensils: Highlighters, Dry Erase Markers, and Furniture Pens

  • Sharps: Fabric Shears, Xacto Knife, Utility Shears, and Wire Cutters

  • Small Hand Tools: Hand Saw, Staple Gun, Ribbon Sealer, Screw Drivers, Hammer, and Wrenches

  • Cleaning: Windex & Coffee Filters, Wood Dusting Spray, Multi-Surface Cleaner, Dusting Mits, Rags, and Stainless Steel Cleaner

  • Electrical: Drill, Impact Driver, and Batteries

  • Strings: Fishing Line, Twine, Cording, and Wire

What should I expect?

  • To be early! "Early is on time, and on time is late!"

  • Craft Services is a big perk of the film industry! A SNACK BUFFET ALL DAY. Need we say more?!

What do I need to know?

  • Every production is different but here are some key titles you will hear on set:

  • Director

  • Assistant Director

  • Producer

  • Production Coordinator

  • Director of Photography

  • Camera Assistant

  • Gaffer

  • Grips

  • Locations Team

  • Art Director

  • Production Designer

  • Set Dresser

  • Prop Master

  • Makeup Artist

  • Hair Stylist

  • Wardrobe

  • Craft Services

  • Production Assistants

  • Talent

  • Client

  • Electric

  • Here are some common terms you might hear on set:

  • Crew Call – When shooting is scheduled to begin for the day. Your call time may vary.

  • Hot Set – A set that is currently in use for filming or will be resuming filming in the near future. Don’t touch or move the props or set dressing!

  • Martini Shot – The last camera setup of the day. When announced, everyone knows to pack up any equipment that’s not in use.

  • Wrap – To end something, usually the end of the day

  • Apple Box – a solid wooden box that comes in different sizes (full, half, quarter, pancake)

  • Last Looks – hair/make-up’s final touch-up to actors before a scene is filmed

  • Picture’s Up – cameras are almost set to start rolling

  • Stinger – an extension cord

  • Talent – actor(s) or actress(es)

  • Video Village – where viewing monitors are placed for the client

  • Cyc - a curved wall used as a background of a stage set to suggest unlimited space. *If your set has this, be prepared to use those slip-on/slip-off shoes!

What else?!

The biggest thing on set is to always keep moving! There are so many eyes on a film set, and you never know who is watching. It could be your next employer! Be a team player and ask questions like, "How can I help?" and "Does anything need to be done right now?" Hint: There is ALWAYS something to do!

Truly, the industry is not that big. Make friends, chat with other departments, and learn AS MUCH as you can. Take notes, observe, and look for tips and tricks along the way. Many people who can hire you have likely been in the industry for a looooong time and are a wealth of knowledge!

Lastly, tell us! What else do YOU want to know about the film industry? What have YOU learned from being on set? How can we continue to support YOU in gaining valuable industry knowledge? We’d love to hear it!

That’s a wrap!

- The Uncommon Team

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