When you’re looking to break into the film and video industry, you often need to get a foot in the door any way you can. For many, this means being a runner (or whatever word your employer uses for the person who moves between sets, relaying messages and making sure important items get wherever they need to go) on the set. Read on for our Film School Tips for how to succeed on film sets and make a name for yourself along the way!

Success on a film set will depend on your willingness to learn, tons of genuine effort, and your ability to be polite and respect others as human beings with flaws. You can bet that you’ll wind up working with or for someone who is having a horrible day and is taking it out on everyone around them. Use your common sense and a heaping dose of compassion with these sorts of situations and you’ll find that more and more people will begin looking in your direction when they need someone to help them.


1. Be Eager to Learn and Open to Being Taught – Ask plenty of questions. It shows that you’re eager to learn. Make sure to retain what you’re taught as well; most people will be happy to answer a question or two one time, but if you have to ask repeatedly, they’re going to get annoyed pretty quickly.

2. Be Resourceful – If you need something but can’t find it, or if something is needed that doesn’t exist, see what you can do to help out using the materials you have on hand. If you can come up with something or even help propose a solution, you’ll get much more favorable attention than if you just sat back and watched others work to find an answer to the problem.

3. Be Polite – Be polite to anyone and everyone. You can have all of the talent and skill in the world, but if you’re being a jerk to everyone, you’re going to get passed over every time for someone who might have lesser qualifications but a much better attitude.

4. The Little Things Count – If you know that one of your supervisors loves a certain brand of water, coffee, or snacks, see if you can keep some on hand that you can offer them if you see they’re stressed.

5. Stick Close to Others Who Do What You’re Interested In – If you make sure to keep company with people who do what you’re interested in doing, you’ll be putting yourself in front of people who can help advance your career as well as give you industry insights.

6. No One Cares About Excuses – There’s no sense in making excuses because in reality, few people care. If you mess up, own it. Only provide an explanation if somebody asks for one.

7. Stand Up for Yourself – Don’t let people walk all over you. Of course be polite, and don’t engage in a confrontation at every opportunity, but don’t let anyone push you around just because they are higher up on the food chain!

8. Learn to Speak the Language of the Set – Each set will have its own unique set of slang terms. Learn them fast and well, and you’ll soon be seen as less of an outsider. Of course you’ll need to know general film and video language as well, but that’s something you can pick up while you’re still in school.

9. Be Prepared – Ask what’s next, and prepare yourself accordingly. If you don’t ask questions, you’re not going to be prepared and you’re going to look like you don’t care. Asking questions and then not preparing is going to make you look bad, and give people the idea that you’re not invested in the company’s success.

10. Above All, Keep Calm – In almost every situation, the reality will not be nearly as bad as you think it will be. Continue asking questions when they’re appropriate, and then learning from the answers you get. Don’t let someone or something get under your skin in the heat of the moment!


Common sense is your friend on the set! If something sounds wrong to you, chances are that it is. Ask someone with more experience how they would handle a situation if you were unsure about it. Be polite and kind to others, and be a willing student to anyone who is willing to share what they know. Everything else will come to you in time, after all, that’s why it’s called experience.


If you have a true passion for the film and video industry,  F.I.R.S.T. Institute‘s Film School in Orlando, Florida is a great place to get the hands on training needed to launch your film directing career. As a student, you will work on several industry related projects such as commercials, testimonials, documentaries, music videos, and even a short film.

At F.I.R.S.T. Institute’s Film and Video School, we pride ourselves on offering small classes with career specific training. Our Florida Film School instructors are industry professionals who are dedicated to getting you the training that you need to succeed in this competitive industry. You could be our next success story! Classes are enrolling now, so contact us today!