Etiquette expert and stage and screen veteran Zoë Yeoman offers up advice on proper on-set etiquette.
You most likely understand by now (unless you’re completed disconnected from the television and social media), that between “cancel culture” and the #metoo movement, and Covid, everyone’s just a teensy bit on edge, socially speaking. The best way to keep yourself and others safe? Use your good (and very recently updated), manners.
Whether it’s wearing your mask gleefully (because we all feel that way, don’t we?), or having to take multiple Covid tests, we’re all being expected to show up, do our jobs and as importantly, take care of others.
For example, times have changed and it’s no longer appropriate to say any number of things to other people any more. A “you look amazing in that dress” or “Wow! You clean up nice”; and as harmless as they may be intended, those few words could seriously land you in some very hot water.
So, let’s consider some more examples to make sure your on-set experience is a complete and total pleasure (and they ask you back again)!
1) Keep your thoughts around people’s looks to yourselves, please.
2) Watch your language (don’t be a “hot mic” victim).
3) Don’t be a “selfie” or an “autograph hound”.
4) Do not ever, ever put your hands on someone else, unless you ask and get their permission first.
5) Don’t talk incessantly and if you must, please keep it down. The chances are really good that someone around you is trying to concentrate/work on lines/character, etc., and lastly…
Now, these are only a handful of items you may want to keep in mind. Obviously, being too much work anywhere, makes you less fun to be around. Listening matters and being kind to others and as considerate as possible to everyone in your orbit is the definition of being (a) professional.
Don’t let your mouth, your bad mood or your nerves get the better of you.
We never know who that 2nd AD will end up directing, hiring or not hiring. Who the next Edith Head may be or, who that one-line, co-star, may be related to. So be sure you’re really good to everyone and genuinely so.
Recently, on-set, I listened to a group of working professionals down their current home town. One woman stated that she was born and bred in said town and someone said, “I’m sorry”. Cringeworthy. You get my drift.
In closing, keep it fresh, fun and cherry. Stay positive and stay present. Mingle when it’s appropriate and don’t push yourself on others. The best way to meet someone you’re longing to meet, sometimes is to simply smile!
Wishing you an amazing on-set experience with lots of wonderful memories to have and to hold onto for the rest of your career.
Zoë Yeoman is a highly sought after etiquette expert and a 30+ year veteran of the stage and screen.