- Always be early
Turn up at least 20 minutes prior the call time and start setting up, preparing for the day. It will speed up the shoot and safe you some stress later. Being late is completely unacceptable.
- Learn the jargon
Like in any working enviroment, understanding the language is part of the job. Here is a few of the most common ones:
- Respect the chain of command.
Speak to the 1 AD first, don’t run straight to the DoP or director. Respect your first and don’t jump him.
- Label everything
It can be confusing to have 30 cases of camera gear on set and you are looking for one specific base plate. Try and make time to label all the boxes so you can see what is in there without wasting time opening four wrong ones first. A prep day is ideal for that.
- Remember your DoPs preferences
Try to remember which pieces of kit your DoP relies on the most for the shoot and keep them on standby. If for example the Black Promist and ND3 has been asked for frequently, just keep it on standby in your wee pouch and keep it clean.
- Listen into conversation of your DoP and director
Saving time is key. If you heard your DoP talking about changing the set up to handheld with a 50mm for the next shot, it does not hurt to get those things close and keep them on standby.
- Keep yourself busy
As a second AC, there is always work to be done. So don’t stand around doing nothing and then get stressed out, but try and fill the gaps with useful preperation or catching up with report sheets.
- Learn the set up changes in and out
Sticks, hand held, ronin, jib,.. Memorize what you need for each set up and how to assemble it as quickly and efficient as possible.
- Ask questions!
Being a second AC is a great chance to learn from your first and DoP. Keep asking questions when there is time, they were in your position before and are normally very keen on sharing their knowledge.