1 – Call time is usually ten to fifteen minutes early. If your not early your late is what everyone believes in the business.
2 – make sure people wear proper shoes
3 – watch the trash and parking on neighboring properties. At the end of the day have someone pick up all the trash especially if you plan on returning for another day of shooting. Be sure no one parks in the neighbors parkings spot
4 – Have extra batteries. Tape. Dust pan and broom. first aid kit. flash light. trash bags lighter. pocket knife. really any extra tools are good to have
5 – Be sure to back up the footage. If it’s digital make a copy as soon as the last shot is done. I always liked to leave it copying while we started cleaning up the mess. Keep the backup some place different than the master. If there is an editor on set or a producer let them take one while the director keeps the master.
6 – Watch the time. Nothing pisses people off more than 16 hour days or longer. Be sure the location knows exactly how much time you will need. Stay on time and on schedule.
7 – Water – always have plenty of water. If you are working a long shift include snacks. This is fuel. 16 hour days require two meals. If you want to save money on food schedule short filming shifts five hours max. But short days be sure to have some fruit at least apples and bananas which are easy to eat and not expensive. Always have plenty of water. If you need to save money, buy gallon jugs and dixie cups. On long shifts remember sugar soda can cause people to crash when the sugar wears off.
8 – Keep crews small. A few talented people can be much more efficient and cause less distractions than having a ton of novice volunteers fill every crew position. As director I like to run the camera myself. I like minimal lighting using as much natural light as possible. Be sure you have a great sound guy. Replace the boom operator with a mic stand or hang the mic from the ceiling. You get cleaner sound and no boom mics in the shot. A continuity person AKA script supervisor is one of the most important positions on a no budget film if you can find a qualified talented experienced hand they can save a ton of time and energy.
9 – Don’t have actors standing around waiting for their scene. Try to schedule them when you are going to actually use them. This helps moral.
10 – Preplan. Make sure you have all the props and wardrobe on set ready to go. Have the camera setup before actors arrive. The less standing around and waiting people have to do the quicker the day will go.