Details make a difference on a film set. Specifically, your precision has influence.
What and how you say, do, act, react, and adjust to events or people on set impacts others’ perception of your work and of you as a professional.
How you respond verbally to other crew exposes your attitude. The physical pace at which you (reasonably) move reflects on your efforts. The amount of attention you supply reveals your passion. Your ability to competently complete tasks — and fix it when you don’t — defines your skills.
Often we are concerned with the bigger picture: “Did I slow down the crew?”, “Did I meet their expectations?” or “Was I good enough to hire again?”
But those questions are structures built from the bricks of all the tiny moments behind the camera:
– Saying “Copy that” over a walkie is different than saying “Okay.” One implies complete understanding and acceptance, the other is affirmative, but still too ambiguous.
– The speed at which you walk to the camera cart to retrieve a filter, repeated several times a day, can save (or lose) enough time to shoot (or miss out on) a few more takes before you wrap.
– The gum you bring the camera operator after lunch can prevent their stinky breath from irritating you as you work next to the camera resulting in less stress, and thus better focus pulling.
– Looking at your phone to get the most accurate depth-of-field readings is distinct from looking at it to check the latest sports scores, especially if both take place right before picture’s up.
I could go on and on with endless examples of the minutiae that builds a filmmaker’s reputation, but it’s more important you comprehend that, overall, each brief moment helps or hurts you. Each instant is a chance to establish yourself as better, faster, more skillful, and more passionate than your peers.
Because if you don’t, there’s someone else waiting for their opportunity to do just that.
In short, the little things matter — more than you probably realize.