How to approach a daily role on set
You will likely audition for TV and film roles. This part usually has 50 words or less and is typically shot in one day. This sounds simple, but it can be not easy. It’s like acting as a substitute teacher. You are expected to drop into this established environment and get to work immediately. This is even though it’s completely foreign to you. These are the things I do when I approach a day-to-day job:
Professionalism is key
First, be punctual, polite, and ready to work. The set has been in operation for some time, so it is important to be ready to work. You don’t want to play the part of the captain who cannot move. My idea of hell is playing a small part in a large production and making it all go wrong. It forces everyone to wait while I sort out my nonsense.
Know your lines
This is doubly important or triple if you have only a few lines. You must be able to read and understand your lines. This is a common mistake that I made. I was caught with one line on a TV series. I turned up on the set looking like a cool actor. Set up and managed to speak every variation of the line without saying it. This particular scene was cut from the episode. Insert facepalm emoji here.
This is a crucial point that cannot be overemphasized. No matter how many lines you have, learn these lines.
Check out the room
Each set has its vibe, and each one is unique. Get down to the set as soon as possible and figure out who is who, what their style is and how they feel. Are they serious? Do they avoid eye contact? Or are they making jokes and having fun? That vibe is what you want to feel as often as possible.
Do your part to help others.
It can be not easy, but I suggest that you do your best to make the lives of others on set easier without telling them how to do their jobs. Let me give you an example. I was a junior officer who brought up files for a detective on a cop show. They were shooting in a small room with reflections and glass walls. The director couldn’t find a way for me to arrive without creating reflection problems. The director had an idea. He saw me coming in the previous scene and motioned for me to follow him. They could see me coming over his shoulder and then set up another shoot in the office to get my line.
Do not forget to smash it. You have to get out there and do your best. You can’t fit in with the on-set behaviour as much as you like. You might be able to make your production team notice how authentically you delivered that one line. This could help you get more work in the future. These smaller roles can be auditioned for larger and more important roles down the road. Take it seriously, put in the effort and seize your chance.
These are just a few tips to help you approach your day-to-day job. It’s about mixing it up between being comfortable and being different. You must immerse yourself in your work and use your critical thinking skills to solve any problems. Keep it professional and friendly. This should give you some ideas on what to do next. Good luck!