How Actors Should Behave on Set to Look Like a Pro, Pt 2

Atlanta actor Steve Coulter

The following is part two of a piece by noted and accomplished Atlanta actor Steve Coulter.  Be sure to check out Part 1 here.
Now it’s time for you to shoot.  This should go without saying, but KNOW YOUR LINES.  I was once on an HBO shoot, chatting with a fellow local actor while we waited.  We were told our scene was up next.  This other actor went pale and blurted, “Oh, sh*t!  I better go look at my lines!”  I was dumbfounded.  We’d had the script for a few weeks, and this guy still had to rush off to look at his lines?!  Not cool.  You should know your lines backwards, forwards and sideways waaaay before you get to set.  That’s the kind of thing that gives local actors a bad name.  Also, say your lines as written, until directed otherwise.  Sometimes, directors will – after shooting the scene as written – let the actors play a bit.  But if you paraphrase your lines, the script supervisor will come scurrying up to you after the take and whack you with a stick.  Well, they won’t whack you, but they will give you a very firm reminder of how the line is actually written.
If you’re on the shoot for several days or a few weeks, you’ll get to know the rest of the cast and crew really well.  But if you’re only there as a day player, don’t think that you have to Make Your Mark on that day.  Meaning, don’t feel you need to make buddies with the director, stars, producers, etc. within that little window you’re on set.  The best way to make your mark is to do your scene or scenes really well.  They’ll remember that.  I promise.
Another word about photos on set.  Contractually, you are forbidden from taking them.  But some actors, after finishing for the day or during a break, ask a star to take a selfie with them.  These actors are usually really nice and will agree to take them.  And then the photos end up on FB.  This is my personal opinion, mind you, but I feel pretty strongly about it.  I don’t do it.  Once I was doing a film with Billy Bob Thornton & Robert Duvall, and they had the studio photographer take photos of us with the two of them.  But I have never asked for a selfie.  I just don’t think it’s professional.  You’re not a tourist on set, you’re a fellow professional.  Treat yourself like one.  There…I’ll get off my soapbox now.
Once you’re done shooting, you’ll be whisked back to your trailer or cubby in the honeywagon, you’ll change out of your wardrobe, and you’ll be done.  Oh, before you leave set, it’s totally cool to say goodbye to and thank the director and/or producers (unless they’re in the middle of some major meeting or setup).  Back at the basecamp, the set PA will sign you out and you can go home.  Hopefully you will have done a great job, had some great conversations with cast & crew because you weren’t buried in your iPhone, and you’ve helped make the film or TV show really good.  Now you can go get another job and do it all over again. 
Trust me, if you act professionally on set, it will be appreciated.  If you do not…well, this is a very small world and word spreads quickly.  On a recent film here in town, a local actor was extremely rude to the wardrobe folks during his fitting, talking down to them and being very demanding.  And this was just for a day player role.  The wardrobe people told the producers and the actor was fired and replaced before the day was over. 
I hope all this has been somewhat helpful.  We’re very fortunate to work in this business.  There’s nothing like getting paid to do what you love to do.  Good luck out there…work harder than anyone else and be kind…you’ll go far.