What’s expected of you on set

In fashion, attitude is everything. Skill matters, but creatives are often booked because they’re good with people and create a positive vibe on set. Read on to discover what you can do to make sure your behaviour gets you booked for jobs.

Mastered creatives working together on location in Iceland

Imagine this scenario: Creative A has good technical skills. Creative B has even better technical skills, but is often too chatty on jobs and gets flustered under pressure. In fashion, Creative A will get booked over Creative B, every time. Technical skill is important, but in fashion a great attitude is what gets you booked because the industry relies on strong relationships in order to progress. And it's easier than you think to improve the way others see you.

Play it cool

Even the most experienced creatives get nervous sometimes. What sets the best creatives apart is their ability to act calm and collected on a job. If you’re noticeably nervous, it's easy to make others feel on edge too. Your collaborators will doubt your ability to do the job, even if you’re the most technically-proficient creative in the world.

Work on how you manage your stress so that you're more likely to get rebooked. 

You may think you’re playing it cool, but is your face giving away how you really feel? Next time you’re feeling pressured or nervous, consider the expressions and body language you’re projecting to others:

  • Your face. Are you frowning a lot? Sighing? Huffing and puffing? You may not realise you’re doing these things but other people might. These habits can create tension and doubt within the group. Smile, take a deep breath and walk away for a moment if you need to; this will help you clear your head and regain your composure. 
  • Your posture. When you feel stressed or vulnerable, it's easy to hunch your shoulders, get restless or act defensive by crossing your arms. Pay attention to your body language: stand up straight, relax your shoulders and project an openness toward others so that your peers are comfortable approaching you. 
  • Your reactions. Do you interrupt others when you're frustrated? Do you get snappy or passive-aggressive? Always answer with a smile and act like nothing is too much trouble (even if it is) to avoid damaging any relationships that might serve you in the future.  

Know when to keep quiet

If you're in a beauty profession and used to working in a salon, the conversation between yourself and your client is part of the ritual. The opposite is true in fashion. While session jobs can be a fun and sociable environment, there are times when chatting a lot on set isn’t appropriate. If the photographer and stylist are deep in conversation, for example, avoid distracting them. Another example might be when the makeup artist is working on the model's eyes and lips. At this crucial moment, it’s important not to distract the model by making small talk.  

Don’t gossip or complain about other people – you don’t know who’s listening. It’s clever to stay neutral.

Don’t be late

It sounds obvious, but if you are late for a job slows the team down makes you look unreliable. When other people are late and get away with it, it's easy to think that you might, too. Resist this kind of thinking – approach each job with the expectation that if you're late, you'll negatively affect the group so you don't slip into bad habits. 

Always give yourself more time than you need to get to a job, double-check the location before you leave and be aware of exactly how you’re going to get there. Have a backup plan (for example, to book an Uber or taxi service), just in case public transport lets you down.

If you are going to be late:

  1. Contact the relevant people as early as possible. 
  2. Remember to apologise, even if it’s due to circumstances beyond your control. 
  3. Give your team an estimated time for your arrival so they know how to re-prioritise in the meantime.  
  4. If appropriate, suggest how you'll make up for lost time during the shoot so that it's less likely you'll need to stay late.

Be nice to everyone

In the fashion industry, people talk – nearly everyone makes progress in their careers through personal recommendations and word of mouth. Take the time to meet and be kind to the people around you, no matter how important or unimportant you perceive them to be. That intern you were just rude to may end up being a beauty editor one day and she will remember you! Even if you feel someone doesn't 'deserve' your kindness, you deserve it because it might serve your interests in the future.  

Use your initiative

Be productive on set to help your team achieve your shared goal – don’t sit around playing on your phone when you can see others are busy around you. Offer to help, and be ready to take on any task. If there's an opportunity to tidy up the space or make tea and coffee for the team, do it. If you have to help the set designer because the props aren't ready yet and it’s delaying the shoot, do it. You'll be noticed for being proactive, helpful and humble, and this will increase your chances of being recommended.

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