When you work on the crew of a television or film project–as when you’re working as a stand-in–you will frequently find yourself during downtime locating a place to stand or sit that seems out of the way. Then, lo and behold, you’re needed to move from there. So then, you seek out another place that seems out of the way. Again, lo and behold, you’re needed to move from there. When you’re a stand-in, it’s hard to get settled in any place and call it home. For that reason, it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with the principle of “Never settle.”
It’s Nothing Personal
As a stand-in, you’re not the only crew member who is continually being moved around. Video Village is continually repositioned so that it’s not in shots, and along with its movement go producers, writers, directors, assistant directors, and other important production people. While they may have a bit more comfortable position in that they tend to have dedicated chairs, tents, even heating, they rarely get to settle in one place and simply stay there. It’s nothing personal that you have to move around a lot.
Change Your Expectations
When you change your expectations from thinking you can find a place you can settle to thinking you won’t be able to find a place where you can settle, you may find it easier to go with the flow of production and avoid developing attachments to where you are. You may realize that any place you put your stuff, or your body, may need to be moved, so you had best avoid getting comfortable. Without developing attachments to where you are, you’re more flexible when you’re asked to move and better able to deal with the changing circumstances.
Label Your Stuff!
When you try to set up a space to call home on set, set dressers may find that your area is in a shot. It is their job to broom the set, including disposing of food and drinks that are lying around. If drinks are unlabeled with your name, occasionally set dressers will ask aloud if anyone wants to claim the drink, but often fairly quickly the drink (no matter how cold or hot) will end up in the trash if not immediately claimed.
The advice would be that if you don’t want your drinks thrown away, label them. This advice holds for other property you might bring to set, including bags, laptops, or other loose items you might leave in places.
If you bring a foldable chair to set (not a bad idea if you would like to have something to sit on), you will probably thank yourself for labeling it with your name in case someone else has the same chair and the chairs are indistinguishable. Also, when you are being used to set up a shot, your foldable chair might be moved. Having your phone number on the chair may be additionally helpful if you happen to lose track of it when you’re standing in.
A Stand-In Challenge: Bring No Bag to Work!
When you bring a bag with your stuff to set, you will probably need to put it down when you are working. This may make standing in a bit stressful for you as you worry about whether it will be moved, lost, or even stolen.
If this is you, it might be a nice challenge to see just how lightly and compactly you can travel to set. Cargo pants or cargo shorts with their side pockets are very helpful bottoms to wear to set since you can store a number of items of use to you as a stand-in: your sides, a pen, small toiletries like a toothbrush and toothpaste, a cell phone charger, etc. Also, a fanny pack may be discreetly worn and carry a number of items of use to you. A light jacket with inside and outside pockets can carry a number of useful items as well.
Wearing these to set without bringing a bag may help you move about set without getting attached and be better adapted to the principle of “Never settle.”
Do you have tips on finding a place to settle down? Do you find never settling helpful when you’re on set? How lightly do you travel to set? How do you deal with the stress of leaving your stuff? If you have insights, please share them below!