Preparing for your first day of principal photography is as exciting as it is daunting and making sure that you have everything you need to make the film packed and ready to go is one task that you do not want to skimp on. Even on the most modest and simplest of films you’ll need to have more than your camera, lighting and sound equipment with you.
You can’t guarantee that you’ll have access to spare toilet roll and soap on your location and the chances are that toilets won’t be stocked to accommodate constant use from a film crew. A couple of hand towels, toilet cleaner, some loo roll and soap (or anti-bac gel) will get you going!
Please think about the ladies on your set as well. A lot of filmmakers (especially men) don’t consider female hygiene so have a stock of sanitary products available.
First Aid Kit
No matter how thorough your risk assessments are or how strict your Health & Safety policy is, somebody will more than likely sustain an injury one way or another. If you don’t know what should go in to a first aid kit, then you can buy an HSE compliant kit (or OSHA compliant for our US readers) from pretty much anywhere which will have everything you need for a set (or any workplace).
Always remember to check that the products inside your first aid kit are in date and keep a checklist so you know what should be in there.
Umbrellas & Rain Cover
British readers will understand that the weather can change within a matter of hours or less when filming in the UK. No matter what the forecast is, take umbrellas with you. You don’t want your talent getting wet when walking from the car to set if there’s a sudden shower. Umbrellas can also be used to shield equipment from rain and used as parasols when it’s hot to keep talent in the shade or as a courtesy for the crew.
Making a film on any scale will create a mess no matter how courteous your film crew is. Plus, it’s always a good gesture to leave a location cleaner than you found it. Put together a box with some bin bags, surface cleaner, cloths, gloves and anything that might be relevant to the space which you’re filming in. Don’t forget a dustpan & brush set and a vacuum cleaner, either!
I like to have cleaning boxes around the location if possible – at the very least one on set and one at Craft Service.
Having a lockable tin with cash in for emergency purchases will save you a lot of hassle with repaying expenses later on down the line. No matter how organised you are, there will always be occasions when you need to send a PA to stock up on some supplies or pay for a taxi. Keep it somewhere observable and assign one person to hand out the money as appropriate.
Remember to have vouchers on set and develop a system of tracking everything so you know where your money is going. On larger projects you could have a petty cash float for each department.