What to take on shoots

Aside from lip salve and sun cream which are seasonal items, there are a few things that I think a shoot runner should always have with them or close to hand on a location shoot and for the big studio shoots, as well as items that are really good to take along ‘just in case’.

These are just a few suggestions and are in no way mandatory:

• A Swiss army knife or Leatherman are always excellent multipurpose tools to have on you, as they are functional and can be utilised for all sorts of little jobs that come up.  

• Camera or gaffer tape has a million uses on a shoot, from marking up the walkie-talkies to holding bin bags in place. Either loop it on your belt or put it in one of your pockets (if they are big enough). Alternatively bring it along with you and put it somewhere that you can get to quickly and where it will be safe from people thinking it’s theirs (put your initials on the inside just to be sure). 

• A couple of regular pens and a permanent black marker pen.

• Chewing gum – good to offer around and keeps you feeling fresh.

• A lighter – even if you don’t smoke it’s something that you will be asked for occasionally and it’s good to be accommodating whenever possible.

• Work gloves – although I never had any, there were a few occasions when I wished I did. There’s a good chance that you will be lifting a lot and doing a fair bit of carrying, so you may want a pair to help with your grip and protect your hands. They can also be looped onto your belt or stuffed into your pocket when you’re not using them.

• A small torch.  

• Fully charge your mobile for the day and have it with you at all times should you need to go anywhere, but keep it on silent or switch it off if you’re near to any filming. 

What if I'm not on a shoot?

You won’t need a lot when working as an in-house production or post-production runner, but here are a few items that might come in handy when you’re out and about:

• A pocket size notebook and pen to take food orders with, remind yourself of jobs to do later, note the addresses of any pending runs and really anything else that might you want to scribble down, such as ideas for your own films.

Most importantly a notebook is useful for collecting the signatures of people that you’re dropping any runs off to. Depending on what it is you’re taking, you may be required to get a signature anyway, but say for example that you have been asked to run a tape over to a post-production company for a booking that’s happening the next day. One scenario is that you go to the post-production company, put the tape in someone’s hand, say who and what it is for (if it isn’t already addressed) and then leave.

The other scenario is that you go to the post-production company, put the tape in someone’s hand, again say who and what it’s for (if it isn’t already addressed) and then make them sign their name in your book confirming the date and what it is exactly you’ve dropped off and then leave. When the post-production company calls the next day to say that they never received the tape and everyone’s in a £700 per hour session waiting for it to turn up, then you know which scenario you’d be better off in. Tapes and all sorts of things do go missing inexplicably, not often, but it does happen. Without a signature, at the end of the day, it is just your word against someone else’s...

Most post-production and in-house companies have their own system for logging material coming in and out. You may be given a special form for people to sign or there might already be a ‘runs book’ that everyone uses, but by getting a signature you’re covering yourself should anything go wrong, and even though it might not be your fault, you could still be blamed for missing material.

So if your taking anything to another company that looks important, make sure you write the date, what it is your taking over, the job it relates to, and make them print their name as well as sign it. See my example below:

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