When you’re just starting out and you’ve got a tight budget, it’s difficult to know what expenses are essential and which can be cut. It’s easy to try and save yourself time, money, and effort by leaving out things you don’t know you’ll need. But that can come back to bite you in the rear if it costs you time on set. So what should every independent filmmaker always have?
10) AC Pouch
All the other things are useless if they’re not readily accessible when you need them. Get a comfortable AC Pouch (a tool belt will suffice) to keep everything at hand.
9) Release Forms
You never know when someone interesting is going to pass by. Use them!
8) Bongo Ties
The only brand name accessory on this list, because there’s nothing else like them! Cable management looks good and keeps things and people safe.
7) 5-in-1 Folding Reflector
Silk, Solid, Silver, Gold, and Bounce, in one tiny bag. Bang for your buck, these are ESSENTIAL (which is kind of the point of this list, no…?)
6) Lens cleaners
You can’t have a dirty lens. And it’s so easy to keep a few disposable wipes on hand. So just do it, okay?!?!
5) Water bottle
The greatest tool on set? Your brain! Keep it happy. Stay Hydrated.
4) Grip Gloves
Nothing makes you look more useless than needing to deal with a hot light and looking around for something to protect your hands. Find a pair you like (there’s a million articles online discussing the pros and cons of various styles) and always have them on hand (get it).
This can get kind of expensive, especially if you go for a nice Leatherman, but it will pay for itself time and time again.
2) Key Tool
You can use your Multitool, but you should also get yourself a dedicated keytool that can handle your tripod screws, I suggest one with a thicker tip, and keep it on your keys so it’s always with you.
1) Gaff Tape
Is there anything Gaffer tape can’t do? Probably the most reached for item in your kit, always have tape on hand, ideally in a few different colors.
If you want to be taken seriously, make sure you have these things and be ready to hand them to someone when they’re about to ask for it. When the AC (Assistant Camera) goes to attach the tripod plate, hand him your keytool. When the AD (Assistant Director) wants to label a new folder, hand them a piece of colored Gaff tape. If you need to adjust a hot light, don’t choose between burning your hands or looking around for a makeshift hotpad, just pull your gloves out and do it.
These are some ways you can stand out from the amateurs on a busy film set. Know what else is essential? Lifetime equipment access! Leave the expensive equipment to us and use your money elsewhere. If you’re interested in becoming an independent filmmaker, check out our LEAP and Equipment Ownership programs to find the right fit for you.