Be on time
Always plan to be on set 15 minutes before you are actually supposed to be there, so that, worst case scenario, you will end up being delayed by something unexpected but still be on time to start working. Remember that by being late, you slow down the whole production process, and especially for small productions, seizing every hour of shooting is crucial.
Bring your own tools
A lot of inexperienced ACs spend their whole first job asking other assistants to borrow gear and tools. While obviously it will take you a few years of practice (and savings) to put together a complete toolset, starting with bringing the basics with you will make you look reliable and committed. These basics may include screwdrivers, pliers, scissors, wrenches, hex keys, markers, measuring tape, a flashlight, along with all the gear to keep cameras and lenses clean.
Always take care of the equipment on set
Whether it’s about lowering the camera on the tripod while it’s not being used, or covering the gear from the rain as the sky gets cloudy, doing everything in your power to make sure all of the equipment gets to the end of the day in perfect condition is your main responsibility. By doing so, not only will you help the production save money by avoiding expensive repairs, but you also show your professionalism and trustworthiness.
Stay up to date with the latest equipment
Cameras, lenses, memory supports, editing software… all of these things quickly evolve with new technology and on every job you will (hopefully) find some piece of equipment that you’ve never worked with before. In order not to look incompetent and waste your colleagues’ time as they explain you the details of the latest camera, do your research and keep updated on the new and most used models. Some of this knowledge will also help you make a good impression when chatting with the other assistants and the DoP.
Always be prepared for what’s next
Don’t make the others on set wait for your help: always be prepared for the next step, ahead and keep your tools ready for any new task.
You probably know how important this is in the industry, so make friends within the camera crew, and try to build a good relationship with your colleagues. If they trust you as a person as well as professionally, they’re more likely to call you for another job.
Keep your eyes and ears open
Keep in mind that as an Assistant, your job is to help the other members of the crew, so always look for things to do: if anyone mentions they need something, go and bring it to them; if you see your co-workers thirsty or hungry, get them water or food. Do your best to fulfil the production’s needs before they even ask you: that’s how you’ll really get noticed as an outstanding AC.