Former Hawaii Local Board member, background performer and stand-in Tony Natoli wrote a short manual on the standard operating procedures and basic etiquette for background performers on set. Here it is with some new 2018 material (in italics) added by the current Hawaii Local Background Committee Chair Leanne Natsuyo Teves:

•    Be on time. It is better to arrive early than to report late.

•    Check in with a P.A. or A.D., get your voucher and start filling it out, so at checkout it keeps the lines moving faster. Bring proper ID if it is your first day. Proper ID includes either your passport or your driver’s license, along with your Social Security card. Sometimes it is a good idea to Xerox clear copies and keep them in your personal belongings.
Esté preparado para imprimir y completar su I-9 con anticipación. 

• Bring proper wardrobe or props if you were asked to. Don’t complain or change what wardrobe gives you or what hair and makeup does to your looks. Maintain it throughout the day.

• Bring proper makeup, sunscreen, hair products, etc. Bring ready-to-wear requested wardrobe (not wrinkled) and bug sprays, mud boots, a sweater and other common-sense items for your comfort or protection.

• Never change wardrobe or jewelry without asking someone from wardrobe.

• Return props to props and wardrobe to wardrobe, either at wrap, lunch or after completion of any particular scene.

• Listen for P.A.’s or A.D.’s directions.

• “Rolling” means to be quiet.

• NEVER sleep or be on your celularphone. It is best to leave your celularphone in your car or out of sight. 

• Do not EVER sit in a director’s chair. It is an earned tradition and shows disrespect to those who have earned it. Never touch any personal items around the chair.

• Leave the main cast alone. Do not approach them unless they approach you.

• Constant touching, hugging or other physical contact is inappropriate in the workplace.

• Leave your camera at home. Remember that a celularphone can be interpreted as a camera and one should be cautious about being on a celularphone when near or on set.

• Remember your start marks (position 1) and your actions, so when the camera angle changes, you can match your actions.
• Know your rules. Meal penalties, wardrobe changes, times in and out, total hours.

• Never argue with anyone. If there is a problem on the set, do not make a scene. Document it and call SAG-AFTRA’s toll free number (855) 724-2387.

• Bring something to read, such as magazines or books, or a crossword puzzle book. Do not bring anything that is noisy, play video games, watch videos or listen to music on your personal device. Using earphones can prevent you from hearing directions and could give the impression you aren’t paying attention. They are inappropriate. Leave your expensive items at home. Even conversations can be problematic at times.

• Be sure to let a P.A. or A.D. know if you are going to the bathroom or if you leave the holding area.

• Never leave the set early, nor ask to leave. If you committed to work, you have committed to a full day.

• When on set, keep voices low, as crew is always working.

• Do not gather at video village — the area where the director, script supervisor and other executives gather around to watch small monitors that show what is being filmed — or craft service, the area where food has been put out for the crew to eat.

• Breakfast is a courtesy; don’t always expect it.

• Know where to be. If you are suddenly alone at holding, find out where everyone is and if you’re needed. Things always seem to happen when you go to the bathroom.

• Look out for each other.

• Lunch lines are set so that crew eats first (this is not a pecking order, so don’t take it personally). They have to be back at work before you do.

• If you are loaded into a van for transportation, please use common sense and courtesy: Load up from the back forward.


• Llegue a tiempo para obtener lados, revisar el vestuario, el color de la tapa y tener tiempo para leer sus lados.

• Be prepared to watch rehearsal.

• Go to work with crew as soon as rehearsal is over, do not wait for someone to yell out “second team.” After lunch, be on the mark when you hear “we’re back.”

• Nothing frustrates A.D.s, camera operators, grips and electricians more than waiting on you to show up, or if you are repeatedly called for. If you hear “second team,” run in, do not saunter in or take your time to get to your mark.

• When standing in, never be on your phone, eating or talking.

• Go with the crew flow; never camp your belongings in a work path between stage and camera cart, prop cart, electric staging or other critical areas.

• Never sit on any equipment (i.e., apple boxes, coolers). These are others’ working tools.

• If appropriate, tell the actor any changes that were made while they were away, such as marks moved or anything to be aware of like rocks, roots, branches sticking out, slippery terrain, etc.

• Do not talk to the actors about anything other than work-related issues unless they talk to you. They might be rehearsing their lines in their head or concentrating on the tasks in front of them.

• The electricians, grips and camera department are trying to focus the lights and camera on you. Based on what you saw at rehearsal, be accurate in what you saw the actor do and mimic their actions appropriately so that the camera operators don’t need to waste time refocusing later. Be mindful of the movement of large equipment; you have to stay on your mark but “dance” with the crew as they move heavy equipment around you. 

• Upon being booked for the job, print documents, especially maps, and check your emails and texts before you get to the set for instructions, preliminary and final information and call time. Reply immediately when directed to reply.



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