Every work environment has its types. The film set is no exception – and film being an ‘art form’ you get some whacky types working in it. Here’s our list!
1) Urban Bear Grylls
The techie with a North face jacket, head torch, harness with various carabiners and straps, cargo shorts, unkempt beard and scraggly hair. Can produce any tool from many hidden orifices, thinks in Volts and Amps and is faster moving vertically than he is horizontally. Looks like he sleeps in the field behind the studio.
2) Perennial Goth
All in black. Could be mistaken for a cast member in a horror film, but probably works in the production office or art department. Frequently nowhere to be found as they move without disturbing the ground beneath their feet or the air around their body.
3) The hippy that time forgot
Over 40, works in the costume department and deals with thousands of items of clothing every year, so her personal wardrobe consists of the cut-offs of those costumes sewn together in whatever random arrangement they fit. Messy hair and thick-rimmed glasses complete the look. Reminds you of that crazy old Clairvoyancy teacher in Harry Potter.
4) The Intern
Reminds everyone else of what they used to look like and makes them cringe. Typically turns up on the first day in a bright t-shirt, jeans and shiny new running shoes. Is studying Film & Media studies at University and wants to “…do a work placement as a DOP at Elstree Studios”. Innocence waiting to be lost.
5) The Geezer
Quite a UK phenomenon this one, but I’ll try to describe him for the benefit of our international audience. Big man, often a bit overweight. Dresses in an ill-fitting suit and has such a bad cockney accent it sounds like he’s missing a vital part of his anatomy, but also has the air and arrogance of a millionaire banker (probably because he is one). Gets coked up the moment the film wraps, and stays that way for three days after the wrap party. Producer, Executive Producer, Associate Producer, LAD.
6) Art School Grad
AKA ‘hipster’. Definitely works in the Art Department or as unofficial on-set photographer and is a friend of the hippy. Uses an old 35mm Nikon film camera or Polaroid. Wears paint-spattered skinny jeans and knitted jumpers and knows the location of every charity shop within a 5-mile radius. In their spare time they direct arty experimental black and white silent short films about depression and the urban landscape.
7) Super Trooper
Every film set keeps ticking over because of the drive, determination, organization and ambition of a few key people. This intimidating character is where the action is. They look meticulous, they stare directly into your eyes when they talk to you and everything they say is either a clear question or a clear instruction. These people are your 1st / 2nd ADs, Line Producers and Production Co-ordinators, so normally also have a small court of runners attending – ferrying coffees, pulling out seats, delivering messages etc…
8) Spiritual Father / Mother
An older character who is one of the quietest on set, but also probably the wisest. For them, no problem is unsolvable, there’s never a need to rush, there’s no point in being stressed. They’ve worked a million jobs more strenuous than hanging about on a film set all day, so for them this is like a paid holiday. Good for encouraging less experienced filmmakers.
9) Arrogant Wanker
Not necessarily an actor, but more often than not is one. Think they’re the biggest name attached to the film and swan about like they’re always being watched by an adoring crowd. Obsessive about their appearance, they spend more time on themselves than on any particular task they might be working on. Usually doing this as a favour to one of the producers and are being paid a quarter of their regular rate, and so feel entitled to treat everyone else like shit.
10) The Adorable Rogue
Grumpy in the morning due to the hangover / come-down from last night’s excesses, this cheeky chappie’s spirits rise as the sun does. By midday they’re cracking jokes at the expense of everyone around them with no backlash, usually because they’re the film’s cooks / catering person and they hold all the power. You’re pretty sure you’ve seen them smoking funny-smelling cigarettes in between busy periods. Make friends with them and never go hungry again!