As an SA (Supporting Artist) there are key crewmembers that you will meet during your day on a film set. The AD (Assistant Director), Make-up and Costume personnel are the main departments that you will work with, but there will be other people who you will come across.
If you were thinking that they would be the Director and Main Artists, well, you’d be wrong. The director will have no interaction with SAs as his focus will be on the main actors, the scene, telling the story and a whole host of other, technical aspects of making the film. Likewise, the Main Artists will also be similarly focused on their roles, lines and directions.
To help you better understand the roles of the crew that you will come across, we have given you an idea of the job roles of the crew that you will work with. Whilst there are other crew on set, below are the ones you will meet.
2ND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
The 2nd AD is the main point of contact for all SAs and will guide you through the day. They are the person you must report to when you first arrive at Unit Base, before you do anything else, and the last person you will see before you go home.
Their job is to oversee the logistics of running the shoot and they work directly with the 1st AD to organise the daily schedule. They make sure that all actors and SAs are ready to film when they are called to set, that the unit cars are on standby to transport cast and crew to and from the location and they liaise with the Costume and Make-up designers to plan the calltimes for the Main Artists, Stunts and SAs.
They are also the one who fills in the SA’s Chit and it’s probably worth a little digression here to talk about these.
A Chit is basically an IOU for your payment so it’s very important that you get this signed off or you won’t get paid!
On the back of the chit there are agreement terms that promises the you won’t talk about the specifics of the days shoot to the press or post on social media. It is very important that you don’t take or post photos of the set, in your costume or of the Main Artists. We’ll be writing a blog about on-set etiquette so make sure you watch out for that soon.
CROWD 2ND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
On bigger productions that have a large call for SAs, the AD team will also have a Crowd 2nd within their department. The Crowd 2nd AD works closely with the Director to finalise the number of SAs required for the production. This is created on a scene-by-scene basis and it is the Crowd 2nd AD’s sole responsibility to source, organise and look after the SAs. Whilst this may sound like a simple task, it’s really not as easy as you’d imagine. Some scenes may need in excess of 150 SAs so it is a very full on job.
3RD ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
The 3rd AD is solely on-set and works directly with the 1st AD. The 1st AD run’s the floor and organises the logistics of each scene being shot. It is the 3rd AD that action those plans. They make sure that the 2nd AD knows of any changes to the schedule, when the filming of each scene is complete and when the Cast Members and SAs will needed on set.
The 3rd AD is also the person who will meet the SAs when they arrive at the location. They will direct you once you get there and tell you where you need to stand and what you need to be doing. This could be talking in a group, playing a game of hopscotch or running around a field.
The size of the production will determine how many runners there will be but they fall into 2 categories – Floor and Base.
Floor Runners will spend the majority of their time on-set. They are the ones who let the crew know when they are “Rehearsing”, doing “Final Checks”, “Going For A Take” and when they’ve “Cut There” (these are all terms you will hear a lot on set). Floor Runners are also the people who set up the ‘Craft Table’ where all the teas and coffees can be found.
Base Runners work from the Unit Base and their job is pretty similar to a Floor Runner. However, their focus is mostly on the Main Artists at Base. They meet the Main Cast as they arrive at their Calltime, get them tea, coffee, breakfast or lunch, take them to Costume and Make-Up and keep them informed of when they need to go down to set. Runners pretty much know where everything is. So, if you get lost or aren’t sure where you need to be – look for a Runner!
The chaperone is responsible for the health and welfare of the children working on the production. They log the times that children arrive, film, rest or travel to make sure that there are no infringements to the regulations as the rules for child performance are governed by UK Law. A chaperone will know these rules so it’s very important that you listen to them…. and do what they tell you!
On saying that, not all productions will have a registered chaperone on-set. They sometimes use a ‘Parent Chaperone’instead. This is a direct parent of the child employed by the production. The main difference here is that the parent is only responsible for their child whereas a chaperone can look after up to 12 children.
For those children who are lucky enough to have a longer stint on-set, the production will provide a Tutor to top-up any education hours owing. This is usually scheduled around your filming times throughout the day. A Tutor’s role is to continue the educational curriculum of your school, it’s like having your very own teacher!
In Who’s Who on a Films Set Part 2, learn about the job roles of the Costume and Hair and Make-up departments.
Want to know more about Assistant Directors and Chaperones? Watch this space as we’ll be posting crew interviews soon.