The old saying on set is “Be nice to the PA’s. They could be your boss tomorrow.”
The film world is a work place where unprofessional behavior seems to be less common than in what we film biz people call “the real world”. Temper tantrums are the exception. Screaming directors a rarity. And bullying of “the help” is uncommon and frowned upon.
But some people come into the business and think that is how they are supposed to act. There is a misconception that to be taken seriously one must act like a high maintenance big shot and that is just not true.
The film industry is filled with professionals who are kind, warm and friendly. The worst behavior I have ever seen on set is from the people who are behaving like they think they are supposed to, rather than how they normally would.
One of the most common situations for this is how they treat “the help”. Although you may not be on set yet you will be out for lunches or coffee with Executives, or checking into hotels at festivals. Don’t be demanding for the sake of being demanding. It does not infer success; rather, it communicates the opposite.
It is generally the people who feel insecure and think they have something to prove that act rudely, and people who have been in the business for a while can spot this from a mile away.
So how can you apply this before you get on set? Be nice to “the help”. To anyone who you encounter from flight attendants to hotel staff, to the assistants that you speak with on the phone.
The assistant for example, is a big one. They have the ear of the person you want to speak with. If you are anything less than gracious, thankful, and kind to them, how helpful do you think they are going to be in getting you through to their busy boss?
You are entering into a fun business that is a dream come true for almost everyone working in it.
So be nice, remember that please and thank you are the norm, and act like you would if your Mother was standing behind you.