Article by Thembi Zikalala

Be aware of your surroundings whilst on set and have an overall good set experience. Here are 5 SET ETIQUETTE TIPS ACTORS SHOULD KNOW:


  • Good Energy

Arrive on set with good energy!!! always be polite and kind towards your co- filmmakers. If you’re unsure of anything or feeling lost, communicate with your Assistant Director (AD) to help you navigate your way around the set.

“Be a positive energy trampoline – absorb what you need and rebound more back. – Dave Carolan.


  • Respect – “Silence on set”

Once the AD says “silence on set” silence needs to be maintained by everyone, except for the actors on dialogue. Unexpected sounds may interrupt the process for the actors and cause technical issues for crew.

NB Your phone should be off, this can be a very embarrassing moment when your phone rings in between takes. Also ensure that your device is nowhere near the equipment as it may interfere.


  • Respect Equipment and Props

Equipment can be expensive, fragile and usually requires extra care when being used. Before you use or touch anything, always ask for assistance from the crew, even if you just want to clear it out of the way. It may come across disrespectful to move equipment without prior approval of the head of department. Every equipment, object and prop on-set has its place. If you don’t know where some props or items belong, alert the relevant head of department.

SIDE NOTE: Minor things such as asking before you plug in the charger for your phone ensures that lights on set will not be disturbed.


  • Do Not Disappear

Never disappear from a set without telling anyone!

Disappearing from your workplace is generally bad etiquette in any job. Always tell someone close to you when you’re going on a break or using a toilet in order to avoid complications (especially between takes). Sit comfortably and remain in the green room with your co-actors until you’re called on set.


  • Posting Photos from Set!

Social media protocol can vary from set to set. On open sets, posting a photo of yourself or with a fellow crew member is the most common “on set” content that appears on social media. They’re also a good networking tool as other filmmakers become familiar with your name and see your face.

Keep in mind that the crew you’re on set with will likely also see those posts. Be smart. Wait for a moment of downtime to take your “on set” shots, never post immediately! Posting a photo of cool gear or a crazy gear setup is also probably the most acceptable type of “on set shot”. It shows that you celebrate the craft.

On closed sets, do NOT post until production embargoes have been lifted. This is a serious offense that could lead to legal charges.


  • BONUS: Know the Lingo! Speak the language…

Using jargon onset is an important part of film set etiquette. Make sure you learn the common lingo to navigate yourself through the whole film industry.

Here are a few common examples:

  • Recce – Visiting a location before shooting, here you plan and work through any issues that may arise from the location.
  • Craft (Crafties) – The craft/crafties food table placed near the set, supplies snacks and food to the crew and cast.
  • Blocking – When cast are rehearsing a scene. The Director works with the cast to place everybody in the set and walk through actions and dialogue. The set stays quiet while this is happening.
  • Rolling: This is when the cameras (and/or sound) are rolling to film a take. Pay attention and be quiet on set when this is announced.
  • Wrap – Called out by the Director at the end of the day of shooting. It can also be used as a wrap on a scene or actor on the set.



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