Life in Vancouver has been bliss. While I used to work in TV and film back home in Austria, set experiences here are a completely different matter. You can get so close to all the action and basically spend an entire day on set if you want to, I would have never expected that. People in Vancouver are so used to their city (and surrounding area) being occupied by film crews, most of them don’t even care to stop anymore unless it’s a scene for “Deadpool” (Seriously, the first question asked on any set is “Is this Deadpool?”). That means sets usually attract real fans or TV enthusiasts instead of random passersby and the crew does their best to accommodate these people while still trying to do their job. I think it’s only fair to not make their life any more difficult in the process, so here are some of my tiny tips and rules while visiting sets. *
*I am Jon Snow-ing this. I know nothing, I just pretend I do, so no guarantee on this working all the time.
RULE 1: Be Quiet
I was so used to just shutting my mouth mid-sentence whenever I heard someone scream “rolling” (pretty much what you’ll hear as soon as the cameras go on), that I didn’t even consider that some people might not know what that means. Technology is amazing these days and the microphones will pick up your voice for sure if you keep talking while they’re filming, even if you stand on the other side of the lot. I get that it’s exciting to be on set and to see your faves in action, you want to share that giddiness with the world, but there is nothing more uncomfortable than a crew member coming over to tell you that you just ruined a shot.
So, you don’t have to be mute the entire time. That would kind of defeat the purpose of the set visit, but just make sure you pay attention to when they are filming and when it would be more appropriate to be quiet.
RULE 2: Don’t Mess Up the Shot
This one goes kind of hand in hand with the previous one. Don’t just be aware of your sound volume, but also keep in mind the position of the camera. Most of the time PAs (Production Assistants, who you will recognise through their bright neon vests and solid attachment to their walkie talkies) will inform you if you are in the way, but you can make their life a lot easier if you just move on your own if you see they are changing the camera angle in your direction.
Also, even if you don’t feel like you are in the shot, move if the crew tells you to. This could have multiple reasons. For one, maybe you are wearing bright colors or fandom clothes and even if those were just in the periphery of the shot, they could be a real distraction. Second, and this isn’t the case very often but does happen from time to time, some actors/actresses prefer if the fans aren’t in their direct eye line while they are filming. As pretentious as that sounds, imagine being deep into character and there are random people staring at you, sometimes even waving or maybe taking pictures from the other side of the street, it really ruins the mood. Speaking of cameras, this leads me directly to my next point.
RULE 3: Check What You’re Allowed to Photograph/Film
Most times it is perfectly okay to take pictures or film while you are on set, however, there can be certain restrictions to it. It may be due to the production not wanting certain details to leak (if certain characters survive/new costumes/special events or crossovers/etc.) before the release of the show/film or any other reason, but most of the time they prefer it if you don’t take pictures while they are rolling.
But don’t worry, essentially you’ll get plenty of chances to catch your faves during some fun behind the scenes moments and isn’t that better than the actual scene anyway? Now you just have to consider whether you really want to share those pictures on all your social media or not, because … spoilers?
RULE 4: Treat the Crew/Cast with Respect
Sometimes crew members will lie to you simply to get you out of the way. Sometimes actors/actresses had a rough day and don’t have the time to meet you. Don’t hold it against them. These people are only doing their job and believe it isn’t always an easy one. The hours are crazy, the concentration necessary is insane but they never actively try to work against the fans. They know that without them, they wouldn’t be able to work on their shows, but everyone has a bad day every now and then.
In my opinion this should be a no-brainer, but always treat the cast and crew with respect. There have been an increasing amount of incidences where fans were pulling and screaming at actors in an attempt to get a photo with them and it’s quite disturbing to be honest. Just because they lead a very public life, does in NO way whatsoever mean they are public property. I know that these people are a mere minority among the fans, but they are the loudest of them all and they overshadow all the others.
It is true that sometimes you have to be bold and go up to the person to chat with them and take a picture. No one will ever hold that against you and most people are really used to it (just don’t do it while they are eating. Seriously, don’t ever get between people and their food), but in most cases, the actors/actresses came up to the fans when they had the time. It means they don’t feel ambushed and may even be up for a little chat. To me, that’s the best case scenario.
In conclusion, I feel like most of these were pretty obvious ones, but apparently not to all people. Being on set can be exciting, but also super boring. Sometimes you just stand around for hours, not even really seeing what’s going on. It’s up to you to determine whether it’s worth it or not. I hope this post was a little helpful in case you want to try your luck one day. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments below!