This should be one of the most important things on set, and yet, it is the most overlooked.
When you’re on a set, everyone should keep an eye out for safety. There’s usually too many things to trip over, hit someone else with, or cause an accident that will ruin someone else’s day.
Example: On my first set, we were filming in someone’s basement. We also had a ton of lights plugged in everywhere. If you know electronics, you know where this is going. The massive amount of lights that we were using tripped the circuit breaker, plunging us in darkness. Thankfully we could reset it. And we moved the lights onto a different circuit in the house. Rule 643: Don’t overload the circuits.
There was a similar time on a shoot in February in a ghost town in the mountains called Nevadaville. First off, it was amazingly cold. an extra 3,000 feet in elevation caused the temperature to drop to about 10 degrees. Then it started to get dark. And windy. And snowy. Until we called it at 3 am with no footage shot.
But sometime between darkness and getting home I saw something go terrifyingly wrong. We had a 2500W light hoisted up on a C-Stand, and it was raised all the way. So, this high-powered light was about 30 feet in the air. Then, I noticed that there is a power line supplying power to the four houses that are still occupied. It was lower than the light, and about 3 feet away. And the wind started blowing. Instead of watching what would have been an impressive fireworks show, I told the director to cut for safety, and make sure it was resolved. No explosions happened that night.
So, in short, keep your eyes open to what’s happening around you. The extra five minutes you take will save you hours and dollars down the line.