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  • Samantha

A Day in the Life of a Set Dresser

Hi Friends,

I have had lots of questions about working as a set decorator so today I wanted to show you what a typical day in the life of a set decorator may look like.

The call time on most days I've worked has been 7 am. I arrive and park my car at a dedicated lot that they call "circus". Then I shuttle over to where we are actually filming.

There are 3 main reasons for this:

1) lack of parking at filming location

2) don't want vehicles in the way of shots or trucks that need to be there (like our set truch or the truck that brings all the camera supplies)

3) So your car doesn't get blocked in.

Obviously, there are exceptions, like if you have an earlier call and the shuttle isnt running yet, then you can park on set.

Once at the main location set dressers (my role) starts takedown and organizing of the stuff from the day before (if shooting in the same location/set the next day). Then, you have to set up the set and have everything in place for the shoot before the crew comes to film. It is important to focus on big things first and details last. This is the main priority each morning: make sure that the set is ready to be filmed in once the crew call begins. Crew call is when the rest of the crew and cast starts and generally they want to get filming asap. Time is money.

After you've set everything up the head/lead dresser comes and can make you change everything you just did. Then the director comes and sometimes makes you change everything again (often to cheat the cameras and help with camera angles). For one set, I moved the same tree 8 times. EIGHT TIMES!

On set they give you snacks and feed you every 3 hours. First it is snack (usually a sandwhich around 11), then lunch (around 1), then snack again (around 4), then hot snack (near 7), and then dinner sometimes happens at some point during this (though most days I haven't gone that long). However, you have to be near the cast to get all that food. I worked one movie where my boss didn't really let us go eat, because we were in another location away from the snack shack, and only let us go for lunch. So I definitely prefer when we are working near Crafty (the snacks), but thankfully my current boss makes sure we have snacks.

Lunch is normally around one and it is my favorite time of the day. It is catered by food trucks normally and HUGE. You get options for your appetizer, main, dessert, and drink. I am normally so hungry at this point from all the heavy lifting and running around that I can eat the whole thing!

After lunch, we set up for the next day's shoot.

Once all of the sets which are being filmed today, and sometimes tomorrow, are set up, we wrap previous sets. If we film at someone's house then we need to put everything back the exact same it was before. This part is pretty boring because it's basically just a giant puzzle, or where's waldo, but it is nice because since we are away from the filming we can talk and play music.

I have my A Glenbrooke Christmas BTS vlog up linked here.

I have more BTS vlogs that you will see uploaded to my channel after the movies air.

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Instagram: @Samantha.Twist

Youtube: Samantha Twist

Podcast: Twist Talks

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