Professional Grade: Set Etiquette

I’ve been searching for the right words to lay out my feelings about set etiquette (and general professionalism), so I looked to the experts for a little help:

Greene Street Beauty pretty much covers a bunch of things that SHOULD be common sense… but unfortunately are not.

So, this week, when I Keyed Alakazia’s show, I came across quite a few “dont’s” — and wanted to add to that list.

Regarding commitment and time, please be truthful about your availability. I will not be offended if you can’t / don’t want to participate. I will not be offended if you want to be paid more than (or paid at all) the budget allows. I am very clear about these kinds of terms going into a project, and I respect your decision to not participate if you find the terms unacceptable. But if you say that you are going to be there, PLEASE be there. It’s frustrating to set aside a place/slot for you (and reject others who have contacted me to participate) and you simply not show up or answer your phone/email/text. It’s also pretty freakin’ rude.

When I’m keying an event, I give EVERYONE my phone number. I do this because if anything happens for any reason and you need to find me… you can find me. I lay my phone on the makeup table, in full view so that if it goes off, I can be there for you. I prefer that you text me so that I can see what the issue is (without long explanations on the phone that I may not have time to stand still and listen to), and respond accordingly. If you don’t contact me, I assume that everything is fine and that you will be there.

I don’t do divas. I don’t. There is no time, and no room for drama, attitudes, personal issues, and your long list of … ((((whatever)))) …  that you think somehow qualifies you for special treatment. It’s not okay to force these things on other team members who are working very hard toward a common goal. Leave it at home. We don’t want it.

Okay, I got that out of my system. Now to the positives.

To the people who showed up: THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH. Your professionalism is greatly appreciated and will never be forgotten. You have no idea how much more enjoyable you made what could have been a very stressful situation.

Nicole: You are amazing. We’ve worked together before, and I’m always reminded of how much I enjoy working with you. Thank you for coming in, rolling up your sleeves, and getting it done.

Mimi: First time working with you, and I am so happy to have met you! You’re bright and bubbly and just a breath of fresh air. And you did the HECK out of the hair! Love everything about you. I hope to work with you again.

COURTNEY: My last minute fill in… I want to work with you for ever and ever, AMEN! You are amazing. Thank you for being so sweet, and so helpful, and for making the models look like a million bucks.

I put this out there, because the truth is that I work in a town that is filled to the brim with hopeful souls. There are very few actual hits (flashes in the pan do not count), and BILLIONS OF MISSES. It kind of comes with the environment. Lots and lots of people want to be superstars. We are the land of the ‘fabulous’ – and some people have this notion that if you just hang around the right people then you’ll get ‘discovered’ and everything will be taken care of — and that’s simply not the case.

Some of the most amazing, and most famous artists that I’ve had the privilege of meeting/working with have one thing in common: Humility. These people have worked with, and continue to work with the most famous and most powerful (not just in entertainment) people you can think of (shout out a name… any name…), and continue to greet everyone with a smile and come prepared to do the work. If I’ve learned nothing else from them, I’ve learned no matter where you are, what you look like, or what you’re doing, your general attitude makes the most lasting impression.

You have to do the work. There are so many extremely talented people in Los Angeles (or anywhere) who may never be famous, but that doesn’t diminish their value one iota. Don’t work for fame and celebrity… you’ll never get anywhere (and if you do… most importantly… you likely won’t stay there). Don’t breeze onto a set and regale us with tales of a singer/actor/famous person whose face/hair you touched, and think that it somehow makes you better than any other team-member who is moving toward a common goal with purpose. We are in this together. So please, do the work, and there’s a very good chance it’ll all work out.

Rant over. Hopefully, I have not offended… because I truly mean this in love.


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