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Appropriate Clothing on a Given Shoot


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#1 Brian Rose

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 10:39 PM

Here is a question, involving proper attire for a location shoot:

I was ACing on an interview of a farmer in his field for a corporate client. I thought everything went well, but after it was over, the cameraman said I was dressed inappropriately.

It was hot that day, and humid, and we were working out in the sun. Knowing this, I opted to wear a nice white polo, with khaki shorts, tucked in with a belt. Shoes were your basic running shoes, clean and comfortable, but ones I could get muddy if need be. Hair combed, teeth brushed, deodorant, etc, etc, and so forth.

The cameraman, however, said I should not have worn shorts, because all the farmers wore jeans and boots, and I needed to dress like them, or I would stand out (he said the farmers were probably talking about me after we left, and he added that, "If you wear shorts on a farm, you're either saying you've never been on a farm before, or you're gay.")

Fortunately, I'm not gay or I would've been a bit miffed. And I've been on plenty of farms...my grandparents live on a farm, so I spent many days since childhood on a farm. And jeans or shorts never came up, except to protect against bugs. I'd always opted to use bugspray, since in hot conditions, I do not feel comfortable in jeans-I get sweaty, I chafe, and I just can't focus on the work at hand. I just don't like to wear them in those conditions.

Instead, I seem to have violated some code I was never aware of until now. Up to now, I always dressed with the intent of being clean and professional looking, yet with a mind towards comfort depending on the conditions I'm working in.

But I am worried about making another mistake like this, by not dressing right for the client. I want to consider this man's advice, because he is so much more experienced than me, but in the hot and humid conditions I was working in, I wonder if I was so off base to wear a nice pair of shorts rather than stuffy jeans.

Did I make a mistake, or do you think the cameraman overreacted?

What emphasis do you all place upon attire at a film shoot? What balance do you strike between the need to look the part of a working professional, while keeping a mind toward the conditions you're facing, to be comfortable and able to function at your best?

Sincerely,

BR
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 11:05 PM

Here is a question, involving proper attire for a location shoot:


It's the client's call, they're paying the bills.

The caliber of people I work for understand that t-shirt, cargo shorts, and New Balance shoes are best for what I do.

I wear a business suit on rare occasion, usually when I'm trying to smooze someone out of something.

Recently a very good client of mine mentioned that a person from their headquarters was visiting various divisions and operations, studying what they do. My client requested I adhere to their dress code for working IT and similar professionals; rugby shirt, chinos, and clean athletic shoes while the visitor was on-site. Fair enough, I complied and everyone was happy...after all, they're paying the bills, including mine.
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 11:08 PM

The cameraman is being silly. Unless there's a real dress code (shooting the oscars) or it's a matter of etiquette (like removing your hat in a church), wear what is functional and comfortable.
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#4 timHealy

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 11:09 PM

not any one person can consider all the possibilities and concerns of the myriad of mindsets we all work with. in this particular case the onus was on the dp or production to mention a dress code before you arrived. And I hope you said that to him. It is easy to criticize after the fact. I would have dressed similarly thinking about the heat and being outside on a farm all day.

best

Tim
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#5 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 11:18 PM

I'd say if it is comfortable, safe and not dayglo colors you will be fine. I would've definitely worn shorts(and have) on farm shoots. It's 2010, shorts are not outrageous, I think it's ridiculous. You aren't like them, i.e. you're not a farmer. Would you wear a three-piece suit if you were on a commercial for a lawyer?

But next time you're on the farm maybe you should go with cutoffs. :P

Is it possible the cameraman(DP?, OP?) was just messing with you?
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#6 Brian Rose

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 11:23 PM

Michael,

Yeah, he was definitely serious, and he's an experienced guy who I respect a lot, so even though I was pretty surprised by his advice, I want to seriously consider it, so I avoid future problems.

However, you all have given me a lot to think about, and it's reassuring to think that I wasn't way off base in my thinking.

Thanks!

BR
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#7 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 01:19 AM

.....The cameraman, however, said I should not have worn shorts, because all the farmers wore jeans and boots, and I needed to dress like them, or I would stand out (he said the farmers were probably talking about me after we left, and he added that, "If you wear shorts on a farm, you're either saying you've never been on a farm before, or you're gay.")

Fortunately, I'm not gay or I would've been a bit miffed....


I had to take a moment and figure that one out, but it makes sense, very clever.

The reason to wear long pants is to avoid being bitten by who knows what kind of bugs. What about kneeling at some point to get a low shot, I'd rather be in long pants than shorts if I have to get a low shot. However, I think the DP should have suggested to you what to wear rather than tell you after the fact.

Could you imagine if you had said to the DP, after the shoot, oh, there's a piece of black tape you need to place on this one spot where there is a light leak.

Also the tone the DP used seems inappropriate. The DP might have been better served sort of scolding himself (or herself) for not suggesting a dress code before the day of the shoot rather than simply blaming you.
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#8 Frank Glencairn

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 02:45 AM

This is so silly.
I wonder what he would have said, if you had showed up in worn out overalls and a John Deere cap

Dressing the same way as your motive, because otherwise you "stand out"?
Come on...
Never heard any BS like this.

They wear their professional work clothing, you wear yours.
Whats wrong with that?

Can you ask your DP what to wear when you shoot - lets say - a burlesque show or a circus parade? :rolleyes:

Frank

Edited by Frank Glencairn, 20 August 2010 - 02:46 AM.

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#9 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 06:14 PM

Given the information we have, I'd have to say that your Cameraman was out of line in what he said to you and in how he said it. The "gay" comment was entirely inappropriate and unjustified by anyone's standards. If I was the client and heard that, I would be more likely to hire YOU back "despite" what your wore and not at all likely to hire back the Cameraman ever again.

As mentioned, unless there is a special event (like an Award night) or if you'll be working in an office environment while "professionals" are in there working too (and you're in their space), then the "proper attire" for crews is to wear what's comfortable and functional while being presentable.

I promise you, the "farmers" were not talking about how YOU dressed after you left. Had you shown up in a clown outfit or a tuxedo, then yeah, maybe they would snicker a bit WHILE you were there, but otherwise, dressing like a farmer to do YOUR job isn't a requirement. If anything, you're not dressing for the "subject" (the farmers you were interviewing), but you dress to "impress" the client, which in most cases only means arriving to work not looking like a slob, unless you're specifically asked PRIOR to a shoot to wear something specific for safety or other reasonable reasons.
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#10 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 09:42 AM

Was this clown(your cameraman) dressed like a farmer?
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#11 JD Hartman

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 09:51 AM

Considering the location, your attire could have been chosen to be more functional. A white polo shirt? A white tee on the farm would be stretch. Sneakers? What if the day was spent following the client through muck filled pens or muddy fields? Boots would have been more appropriate.
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#12 Brian Rose

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 12:18 PM

Considering the location, your attire could have been chosen to be more functional. A white polo shirt? A white tee on the farm would be stretch. Sneakers? What if the day was spent following the client through muck filled pens or muddy fields? Boots would have been more appropriate.


A good point, but I knew prior that the purpose of the shoot was to get a client testimonial. So it was pretty much a locked down, talking head type shoot. On this occasion, there wasn't going to be any hiking, just a lot of standing (I ran audio) hence why I opted to shoes I could stand in for a while, as opposed to boots.

BR
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#13 Steve Wallace

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 01:24 PM

His approach isn't wrong per se. Because if he does that on every shoot, it will never backfire. Always dress for the occasion. And maybe he had an instance where he or someone he knew was ridiculed (or worse) for not dressing for the occasion and he was trying to pass that on to you, albeit in a clumsy way. Now whether its a necessity or not, I tend to agree with the board. I think its stance is a little conservative / overkill.

And regarding the "gay" comment. I certainly don't want to turn this into a political debate, but when I read the post, the first thing that came to mind was that guy from RENO 911, prancing around as an AC on a farm and it inspired a laugh. My advise is to never make any defamatory comments regardless of your audience on a professional shoot.
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#14 JD Hartman

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 02:51 PM

A good point, but I knew prior that the purpose of the shoot was to get a client testimonial. So it was pretty much a locked down, talking head type shoot. On this occasion, there wasn't going to be any hiking, just a lot of standing (I ran audio) hence why I opted to shoes I could stand in for a while, as opposed to boots.

BR


Maybe finding a pair of work boots that fit well should be on top your list. Heaven help you if you ever have to shoot in a power generating facility or other hazardous location. Steel toes aren't a bad idea either.
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