Production

Set Packing List

Getting prepped for your first day on set, or even your first day on a new production can feel similar to moving away from home for the first time. You’re excited and probably a little nervous. You might not know the neighbours at first, but before you know it you’re sitting around at 2 am telling dirty jokes and over-sharing about your personal life. When travelling, your mom probably made you a packing list so you didn’t forget anything. In honour of moms everywhere, here is what you should be packing before you arrive on any production set.

1) A Good Attitude

Will Ferrel Smiles

I can see the eye rolling from here, but simple as it sounds, a good attitude goes miles towards a first impression.  It can be tempting to complain, but you’re all in the same boat and shutting up and getting your work done can only reflect positively. Remember, especially if it’s you’re first time on set – you’re not too good to take out the garbage or mop up after the ‘bloodbath’ scene.

2) Real pants with pockets

This tip is mainly for the ladies – it can be very tempting to wear your most comfy Lulu Lemons on set; after all they’re black, right?  But try clipping a walkie on them, and finding a place for your pen, call sheet, etc.  Go on, I’ll wait.  Unless your intention is to be hiking your pants up all day, go with something else.  You’re going to need your hands…well, handy.  Plus, pockets are a great spot to stash a granola bar from the craft table for future snacking.

3) Comfortable shoes

Boots on the Beach

It goes without saying (or should) but you are going to be on your feet all day.  Comfort always trumps fashion on set.  Closed toes shoes are also essential – inevitably you will drop something on your feet and this way you’re more likely to keep all your toenails. And for the love of god, nothing with a clicky sole or heel!  It’s hard enough to tip toe across set while the camera is rolling without your shoes actively trying to betray you.

4) A warm coat if you’re shooting outside and/or at night

This is probably the most ‘mom’ thing on this list, but it’s so important.  I don’t care what the weather is calling for; no one will have sympathy if you end up freezing your ass off in the wind when you’re outside on fire watch or locking down the set.

5) Your full attention

Pay attention

A busy set can be incredibly chaotic and it can be tempting to let your attention wander.  There’s nothing wrong with dissecting last night’s Habs/Leafs tilt with a camera assist or looking at pictures of the AD’s adorable dogs, as long as you don’t forget that you’re here to work.  Just because one department is waiting around doesn’t mean there’s nothing for you to do.  Always be alert to where you can jump in and offer help.

6) Call Sheet

This technically isn’t something you bring to set, but it’s the first thing to grab as soon as you get there.  You never want to be asking someone what’s going on, or what’s happening next – it’s all there on paper.  If you’re a real keener grab a couple extras and put them in your pocket for people who have forgotten this golden rule.

7) Pens, Sharpies & Tape.

Seth Rogan duct tapes a wall

This is the trifecta of set supplies – someone is always going to need one or all of these items, and it looks great when you can be the one to whip them out of your pocket or bag.  Just don’t expect to get any of this stuff back.


Did we miss anything?  What’s your essential list for set?

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