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  • Writer's pictureKamla-Kay McKenzie

Officially booked - On set model etiquette

Just 24 hours ago, my agency called and said that I had booked a hand modeling job less than 8 hours after submitting myself for the potential booking.

So here I am. On set shooting desserts, salads, ribs and sandwiches for a grocery store chain. Most of which are not edible as a result of oils, cornstarches, glues etc. being added for the perfect look and arrangement.

As I wait to shoot again, the light from the oversized windows as well as the artificial prop lights are filtering halfway through the room into my eyes. I hear the photographer across the room announce, "camera rolling and action".

Currently the other model is working on a scene where he is picking up shrimp from a platter and placing cocktail sauce next to the 5 shrimp he has picked up.

And yes, 5 shrimp because the art director has been specific in the request for the model to try to smoothly grab 5 shrimp as the video rolls.

It appears the model just nailed the shot on the 3rd attempt because "alright, we are good, whohooo" just echoed through the room.

This client is a fun one.

The set, AKA the room where the production is taking place, has 8 people on this particular day; myself, another male model, photographer, art director, 2 food stylists, an assistant and the client.

Welcome to set life.

Maybe you have never been on set before of a production and wondering what the heck to expect once you land your 1st role.

Let's dive into a few quick thoughts on how to best stay under the radar yet shine where needed while on set with the do's & don'ts.

On set Do's

1. Arrive on time - if your call time is set for 8am, arrive at 7:50 am. Do not show up too early as the client may still be preparing and having meetings.

2. Be sure to confirm prior to arrival if there are any items that the client wishes for you to bring such as wardrobe, extra pair of shoes etc. For instance, some clients will provide full wardrobe for the shoot and others may ask that you bring supplemental pieces with you. The client will often send over these details in what is referred to as your "Call Sheet".

3. Place your cell phone on silent prior to walking into the studio.

4. Pack snacks and a water bottle to bring with you. The client often provides this depending on the shoot but it is not a guarantee.

5. Bring headphones and a book, iPad etc. to keep you entertained. There is often an element of hurry up and wait to shoot....sometimes for hours prior to you getting to shoot & it is best to stay out the way by quietly doing your own thing.

6. Do keep your voice low ESPECIALLY if this is a video shoot. "quiet on set" is often a phrase shouted out by the set assistant or director to indicate they are about to start filming or that they need quiet to concentrate on what is happening next. Be respectful and alert to what the client needs of you.

7. Do try to remember the names of the client, photographer etc. that you may be interacting with throughout the day. I often will jot down their names in my notepad inside my phone as a way to refer back to it if needed. It's way more polite than saying "hey" every time you wish to get their attention.

On set Don'ts

1. Do not take photos on set unless you have been made aware that the client is ok with this. Should you take photos, be sure that if the client's product is showcased in the photo that you do not post such content to social media until AFTER the client releases the project to the public.

2. Do not sit in your clothing once the stylist has dressed you as this will cause wrinkles. Clients/stylists truly dislike when models sit after being dressed.

3. Once your make-up has been done by the makeup-artist, do not make changes to it. Do not add more mascara, eyeliner, change your lip color etc.

Modeling getting lipstick done
Model Kamla-Kay & Jordan on set

This is a tricky one as sometimes make-up artists are not familiar with doing make-up on darker skin and sometimes we as models are forced to make color corrections to our foundation. But the general rule is that we are not to change what the make-up artist has created.

5. Refrain from negative talk. As simple as it sounds many people mess up in this area.

Let's say that you are shooting for a clothing client and you are not a fan of the items of clothing that you are wearing. If you agreed to do the shoot, especially if you are being paid to be there, never say anything negative about the client's product to the client or anyone else on set. Trust me, models have been heard being negative on set and often these are the models who do not get re-hired.

6. Don't arrive late or sloppy/tired looking to set. Just because you booked the job does not mean that the client will not send you home the day of a shoot if you are late or "messy" looking upon arrival.

7. Don't eat from the food table, often known as Craft Services, until after the client and production crew has already eaten unless told otherwise. It is not uncommon that the client and crew will fix their plates 1st followed by the models/actors next. You can always ask what food is open for grabs.

8. Don't walk away from set without asking/informing the client or production crew that you need to step away for a few minutes.

By adhering to these basic set etiquette rules, models and actors have an increased chance of being taken more seriously by the client.

You will also have an increased chance of getting re-booked for another shoot by that same client if you performed your role to their liking.

Now that you have a better understanding of on set standards, it's time to get booked.

Be sure to read up on my "How to become a Model" blog post if you have yet to become agency signed and have that goal.

Wanna learn more about the industry and have me as your private model coach for live 1-on-1 intensive coaching sessions? Click here for coaching class details.





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