Filmmaking / Directing : Sound on Set, and Hushing People by Michele Seidman

Michele Seidman

Sound on Set, and Hushing People

Ok, maybe it is a little bit age, and maybe it is just the frustration of getting the emotional scene perfect, only to have it ruined by a crew member answering their phone, while cameras & sound were rolling! Seriously, what is going wrong on set these days? It is not just a me thing either. Friend working a feature reports back to me, new young producer talking on his phone and pacing back and forth, while rolling...and when my friend said to shut it down...he was threatened with firing. Young producer was a bit shocked to find out he not only could not fire my friend, or anyone else... he was told to learn basic set protocol by the Exec Producer and to stop talking on his phone, when cameras roll. Do these new cast and crew not understand how much money is lost, from people running their mouths, walking across set or knocking things about, while rolling? Do they have no idea how disruptive it is for an actor to go through a heavy emotional scene...nail it...barely be able to think after... and then hear it has to be done again, because someone had to run their mouth or walk around, during the shot? Do they even think about the poor sound guy with headphones who just got his hearing tested? What part of "Quiet all around", is not making sense? Is anyone here noticing this happening? Curious what other things you may have seen on set, that surprised the heck out of you...from newbies. Dish..but don't use names or identifiers! We don't need to embarrass anyone, by name! Perhaps by telling these things..a few new folks will learn, before they walk on a set!

JD Hartman

It comes partly from a lack of "Professional" crew, both above and below the line. They've no training, they didn't come up through the ranks, many have never been part of a "real" shoot. Everybody today with a iphone or a go pro is a filmmaker, none of them have a clue.

Christopher Binder

For those who disrupted filming on the set of Avatar, the mellowed out version of James Cameron pinned their phones above the Exit sign with a nail gun.

Michele Seidman

To true, JD. ha ha ha Christopher, I had forgotten that story! Not sure that is exactly how I heard it and hoping your version is the real one! Too rich!

Sandrene Mathews

While I love that so many people are able to make content and share it, there are a bunch of "professionals" who have come up the ranks by just making films with their buddies. And even on professional sets, you often end up with people there who don't understand basic set etiquette. Most of the time they're producers. Or young blood PAs. I AD a lot and fortunately I haven't had to deal with that sort of thing much, but when I do I employ the kind but firm method. I explain how sound works, how much more expensive it is to fix it in post than it is to get it right on set. If it's a producer with money invested, they usually straighten up, and if they start to get out of line I put them back in place with a look and a smile (because I'm ALWAYS watching). If it's a PA, I let them know that while I appreciate their otherwise hard work, they're not irreplaceable and when they start to cost the production more than they're contributing, the next conversation I'll have to have will be to let them go.

Michele Seidman

Sandrene...oh I would love working with you! :)

James Clark

its the nature of the job now. I deal with it as well. I ban mobiles in the make up room. The basic idea that you are there do provide a service is not getting through. On set it becomes a distraction and shows a lack of respect for the talent.

Michele Seidman

James, my sister is an on set Hair and MU person, and I think I am going to tell her you banned phones in the MU space! Other than the actors who might need to reply to an agent or manager, while they are not shooting. Many can step away from set while cameras roll...but not the actor!

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