Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ask a Supermodel: On Set Etiquette

Yesterday I worked with Scott Barnes on his coffee table book.  Mike Ruiz was the photographer.  Hair was Francesco Galasso.  Nails were Tracy Sutter and styling was done by Toni Ferrara. If you want to be a pleasure to work with... follow these rules. 

1.Be on time
A models first task is to show up on time.  It sets the tone for what it will be like working with you the rest of the day. This isn't the 80's or early 90's when a girl to arriving 3 hours late for a shoot was considered normal.  Nope, people on set begin to roll eyes if a model, celebrity or actress shows up ten minutes late.  Being on time is critical.  It shows that this job is important enough to you to make the effort.

2. Connecting with the team
Go to the hair/makeup room and introduce yourself to the entire team.  Shake hands with everyone, ask out loud how their day or morning is going. You'll get a good feel for people's personalities with how they do or don't answer this question. The next thing you're going to want to do is to scan the room for familiar faces.  I spent the beginning of my career spending full days with people I'd just met, in close quarters, often times working into the wee hours of the morning.  Then months would go by before I saw them again and I'd have to remember... is this familiar face an assistant, on a runway show team, from Paris, New York, that shoot I did in London?  I quickly learned how to read someone's face when I introduce myself.  If there is a flash of recognition, I say, oh hey!  How have you been?  How long has it been since I've seen you? Usually we both end up puting the pieces together until we come up with a fully remembered shoot.  
Scott touching up Frank's body makeup.

3.Create your home base
So now you're introduced and reintroduced to everyone, the next thing to do is to find a place for your handbag to live.  This will become homebase.  Into it will go any personal jewelry, cell phones and jackets or sweaters you wore to the shoot.  It's better not to leave any of your belongings out and about, not because someone will steal them but because you may leave them behind and that's annoying. 

4. Be of service 
This is your attitude check for the day.  If you keep this goal at the forefront of your mind you will know how to respond to most circumstances.  You are offering a professional service... the key word is service.  The shoot is about working together to create an image.  This means putting the needs of the whole ahead of oneself. 

5. Give good face
The key to becoming a great model is your ability to find your light and work your facial structure.  This takes practice but once you get the hang of it, you'll save everyone lots of time and money by finding and giving the shot they need. 

6. Don't be afraid to communicate
Let people know if you have a need.  Use the restroom, grab a coffee, have a snack.  If you have questions about anything going on onset, call your agent or ask the producer directly.  Conversation is a natural when you're working in such a close proximity.  Be warned, do not communicate about your latest breakup or other personal drama.  It's understandable to want to connect at that level but work should be an escape into fantasy, not a therapy session.

7. You're the model not the art director
If you don't like the hair and makeup, only say something if you have a close and I mean you're sleeping with the makeup or hair stylist close, relationship.  And even then, think twice before voicing an opinion.  

8. The photographer is in charge
Follow their lead and direction.  They have a vision and it probably includes making you look awesome.  Go with it. 

9.Leave discussions of money to your agents  
Never talk money on set. 

10. Leave graciously!
There's nothing worse than a model walking off set who's only said goodbye to the photographer and key team.  Trust me, people notice and appreciate an acknowledgment of the work they did to make the image amazing.  Take the time to say goodbye and thank everyone. 

Delicious Products we used on set yesterday:

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