Dear Stand-In Central:
When second team is called for, should I call out “second team stepping in” and when dismissed, call out “second team stepping out”? I’ve done this prior, but on a very big production, should I? or just step in and out without speaking?
Also, am I needed to step in prior to first team rehearsal? and when checking the gate, I’ve got to be on my toes as we are moving on to the next set up, yes? But again, am I required prior to first team rehearsal? Only after rehearsal, which I know can be brief, right? I guess I might be blocking for camera, prior to first team rehearsal to have the camera ready for first team rehearsal, is that possible?
Cheers and thanks.
Response from Sara DeRosa
Hi, CG! Thanks for writing in to SIC.
Personally, I don’t find it necessary to routinely announce “second team stepping in.” One circumstance in which I would announce that I was stepping in would be when I hear second team called for a second time by the 1st AD or the 2nd 2nd AD. I would call out “stepping in” to let them know that I am on my way. Even if they can’t hear you, a PA on set will usually relay the message.
Another time I may announce that I am stepping in is when it is difficult to get to my mark quickly, due to equipment or blocked entryways.
As far as saying “second team stepping out,” I don’t announce that. Usually the 1st AD announces second team’s dismissal so that the entire crew is aware; therefore, I don’t find it necessary to say it myself. At this time, you should be listening for any objections to your dismissal. Sometimes the camera department or lighting department is not finished with you and asks you to stay a bit longer.
Overall, it doesn’t hurt to announce yourself when you are stepping in and stepping out. I have not found that it is common for stand-ins to do this, but it’s a good habit and you should continue to make those announcements if you find them helpful.
As to your mention of “checking the gate,” yes, you should be on your toes and be ready to step in. If they are just going tighter in the current camera setup, you may not be needed. If there is a new camera setup, you will most likely be needed. But either way, you should be close by and ready to step in.
First-team rehearsals take place at the start of a new scene before the cameras and lights are set up. You should be present for these to watch the blocking of the actors so you can repeat it. Sometimes the actors will not be there and you will need to step in for them for the rehearsal.
First-team rehearsals are then held again when the actors are called back to set after you have stood in and the cameras and lights are set up. You have usually been dismissed from set by the 1st AD at this time, so it’s best to watch the scene on the monitors off set in order to see if your actor made any changes to the blocking.
Thanks again for writing in to SIC, and good luck!
Do you make any announcements when you step on or off set? How do you communicate your presence on set? Please share below!