You've been cast. You got the part. Now what? Here are some general guidelines which are especially important when working with semi-professional productions.
On the job, check in the A.D. (Assistant Director) or the Stage Manager as soon as you arrive. Never leave your possessions unattended on the set.
Union rules forbid that you begin work if you have not received a contract. Don't sign the contract if it differs in any way from your understanding of the terms of employment. Call your agent if there are any problems or questions. But, definitely sign a completed copy of your contract for the job before you begin work. (Make sure all the blanks are filled in.) Remember, they had a lawyer make up the contract. A contract is an agreement between two parties. You get to have a lawyer look over the contract before you sign it. You get to negotiate changes in the contract. If you sign the contract before you have your lawyer look it over you give up all rights and negotiation after it's signed. Not a single residual has ever been paid to the actors from "Gilligan's Island." Most of them never worked again.
Don't be a pest to other actors, the director or crew members. Keep out of the way while watching on the set.
If you feel you're working too long without a break or being asked to do something you feel you should not be doing, say something to the AD. Don't let anyone intimidate you into unreasonable requests or making exceptions to provisions in the contract.
Make sure your agent knows, ahead of time, if you have special food or medication requirements. Bring the necessary items yourself, where possible. But, don't wait until the last minute to arrange for your these things (e.g. food, medication, etc.)
When the script calls for things to get physical, remember, all Union contract provisions regarding safety, stunts and similar work pertain to you. Even though those provisions may not be printed in a specific section of your contract, the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee issues Safety Bulletins periodically as the need arises. They are distributed by AFTRA and SAG and you may request your copy through the unions. Additionally, the Commercials Contract, the Industrial/Education Code and the Theatrical/Television Agreements have separate provisions covering extraordinary or unusual physical, athletic or acrobatic ability. Since you may need to refer to them quickly, you should familiarize yourself with these provision and understand them fully. Your health and safety could depends on your familiarity on it.
It is important that you understand that you always have the right to say, "no," to any activity, stunt or action which you feel may place you in physical or emotional jeopardy! Don't allow any employer, in interviews or on the set, to intimidate you into granting permission for you to do anything which you feel is hazardous or will put you at risk! If you believe you are in a dangerous or fearful situation (whether that fear is real or imagined), you cannot be required to perform.
Determine, in advance, whether stunts or other unusual or strenuous activities will be part of the job. If a stunt is required, the performer always (not sometimes, always) has the right to have a stunt double. If a double is not to be used, there must be a stunt coordinator or other qualified stunt-and-safety expert present to demonstrate and help you work out the safe performance of the stunt or activity.
Know where the first aid kit is kept, and who is responsible for administering first aid. If you are performing a stunt or other hazardous activity, request that a trained first-aid technician be present at the actual scene of the activity while it is being rehearsed and performed.
Be aware of any protective items, such as knee pads, elbow pads, helmets and heavy clothing that may be needed and bring them. Wardrobe personnel may not always have protective gear.
Get warmed up and stretched out before performing stunts or other physical activity.
Bring towels and a bathrobe. You may need them during clean-ups and costume changes. Wardrobe personnel may not supply them.
When working in extreme weather or in and around water, watch yourself for any signs of hypothermia (lowered body temperature) such as chattering teeth, blue lips or shivering. Blankets, towels, a bathrobe, and thermal clothes and underwear should be readily available at these times. You would be wise to bring your own. A hot bath or shower should be taken as soon as possible after this type of work.
Bring a high SPF sunblock, to be applied before makeup, when working in direct sunlight. A hat is advisable.
Bring ear plugs or other devices as protection against explosions or other loud sounds.
Determine, in advance, that NOMEX (fire-retardant) undergarments will be available when you're working in or around fire.
Clean your eyes, ears and mouth thoroughly if you have been working in smoke or muddy water. Ask the first aid or medical personnel to assist you. The Unions have been working closely with Industry to develop specific guidelines covering "Working in Artificially Created Mist/Smoke,"
Flammable products, such as make-up and hair spray, should never be used on you when near fire effects or open flames.
Remain a safe distance away from any area where a stunt or other hazardous activity is being rehearsed or performed if you're not directly involved in it. Spectators and bystanders can often increase the danger of the situation.
Animals on sets should be approached with caution and only when the handler is present.
Prop weapons are not toys. They are often dangerous and can maim and kill! Do not approach or use without qualified supervision.