6 Types of Difficult Crew Members and How to Work With Them

By Dani Galo and Henry Held

There are many different types of people you will collaborate with during your years working on film sets. While most of them will be pleasant, easy to work with, and all around good people there are still a few you should look out for.

1. That’s Not My Job!

This type of person will limit themselves to do just one task and only that task. When the set is failing, even falling apart, they won’t help. You want to know why? Because that is not their job. On a union set, this is a very frequent occurrence as the unions often have rules stating what a union member can and cannot do. On an independent set however, you should be willing to “wear multiple hats”. When the crew consists of a solid 10-15 people, you probably won’t have a choice.
Not My Job
“I am here to get the 2nd AD water, not help you lift that obviously heavy box.”

2. If I Were You…

This is the person who will always scrutinize and criticize what someone else is doing. Whether is the way the lights were set, the color of the walls, or the choices of craft services. It does’t end there. They will often believe they can do it better or that they know what is the best option. These people can be very damaging to the function of the set so it is wise to try to ignore these people or try to professionally remind them that it is not their job. However, these people can often have good ideas and offer a different point of view, so try not to be too hard on them.
If I Was You
“Why is he telling the Actor to be sad? This is obviously a happy moment.” – Cam Op

3. The “Not” Boss

This type of person will claim to be the boss, will give orders and will stand and wait for you to follow them. Often these people are not in a position to do so. Sure, you could tell them they are not the boss or you could report them to the actual boss, but that can have negative effects on everyone. Try to help these people as much as you can, but never forget what your main responsibilities are and who your “real boss” is.Eyes Rolling
“I need you to go help rig that light.” “But, I’m the 1st AC.” “Not my problem.”

4. The Clock Watcher

The Clock Watchers will drive you crazy. They feel the need to constantly remind you of the time or how long you are taking to complete a task. But let’s be honest, as filmmakers we always want more and we are never satisfied. They can be very annoying at times but they are also the ones responsible for keeping everything on time. As a result, more work can be done, people can also leave early, or even better money can be saved. There’s not much that can be done about a Clock Watcher, except to say “Yes Sir” and “Yes Ma’am” and try to work faster.
Watch
“We are one minute, 36 seconds behind schedule.”

5. The Talker

Ever wonder where your Assistant is? Where the slate went? Just where is that c-stand I asked for five minutes ago? The talkers are always chatting when they are not supposed to, and right when you think you need them the most, they are gone. You will spend several minutes yelling their names and looking for them. They will be talking about side projects and things they have done in the past. However there are always opportunities to network and learn about future projects. Maybe you will get a job on other sets. But always remember: Don’t let the talkers distract you from staying focused and doing a good job.
Talker
“It’s this story of a guy who just lost his wife and his dog…”

6. The Drama Queen

There are actually two types of drama queens on set. Those who will start panicking for the smallest things in the world and cry over it. They will run in circles and let their stress get to them in unhealthy ways, even over something small.  Then theres those who will panic, but their panic can lead them to find immediate solutions. Don’t let the drama spread! Stay calm, cool, and collected. Instead be that crew member you would want to work with in the future.Stress“Oh my God! The actress’ fake eyelash fell off! THE FILM IS RUINED!”

There will always be difficult people at any job, let alone the type of job with the stress levels of being on a film set. It’s very important to have a clear head, a calm demeanor, and to stay focused. Don’t blow up on these people, you will only do more harm than good.

All of these people can and often will be hard working, and their downfalls are the product of either trying too hard, or letting the stress of a film set get to them. Always try to collaborate with these individuals because there is always something positive for them to offer.

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