Our regular Crew Profile feature aims to showcase the various production roles that are crucial in ensuring a film or television set runs smoothly.
For our third installment, we talk to Floor Runner Coco Creme whose past credits include Coronation Street, Our Zoo and The Village series two, about what it takes to succeed in her high pressure role…
Find film and TV runner jobs by visiting our Crew and Facilities page.
“Assisting the Assistant Director Department, mostly answering to the 3rd AD who is my direct senior but also being the point of communication between all departments working on the show.
“The Assistant Director Department is responsible for making sure that the production runs smoothly and on time. As a Floor Runner I’ll usually be one of the first to get to the unit base (where all the trailers are located) to see cast and crew arrive. I make sure the artists and the supporting artists (extras) get into makeup and costume on time and I get their breakfast for them if needed. I can be giving out sheets of information or speaking to individual members of the cast and crew about any concerns they may have as well as conferring with the AD team about the day ahead. Only when these jobs are done can I grab my breakfast; I usually eat it standing up or running to the next job because there is not much time in the mornings. After all the checks have been done I then have to get all cast and crew into their transport (minibuses or private cars) to go on to the location for filming.
“Once at the location I could be doing a manner of different things: chaperoning artists onto the floor, carrying packs of water or equipment to wherever is needed, setting up the tea tray (an essential and important job) and offering drinks to people. I will inform the rest of the crew when the actors are rehearsing with the director ‘standby for rehearsal’, when they are ready for camera rehearsal ‘standby for a look on camera’ and when, finally, the crew is ready to shoot a take ‘standby for a take’. When the cameras are rolling I’ll say ‘rolling’ or ‘turning’ to tell the crew a take has begun. I would also be ‘locking off’ certain areas visible to the camera so that the crew or the general public don’t walk through the back of shot or I could even be cueing an artist within the scene.
“As each scene is completed I have to be prepared who and what is coming next, for example, the location of the next scene and if the existing cast members will leave and/or new cast members will arrive. Again, it would be a case of getting them to the right place on time seamlessly.
“When lunch is called I have to get everyone back into the transport for base to eat on the dining bus. Again, I’ll be the last one to eat (putting other members of my department before myself). I’ll be ready to go before the rest of the crew so I can round them up to get back on the bus for the location to begin filming again. There may also be more costume/makeup changes or new cast may have arrived.
“On wrap at the end of the day the cast and crew return to the unit base. I will have to sign out any supporting artists, put different names on the trailers for the next day for different actors, give out callsheets for the next day and help my department complete any outstanding tasks. Once everything has been completed my department will give me permission to go.”
“I have worked on some iconic sets like The Street for ‘Coronation Street’, Lyme Park House for ‘The Village II’ and the police headquarters for ‘Scott and Bailey IV’. I have also filmed in some extreme and picturesque locations such as: beaches in Llandudno and cliff tops and slate mines in Betws y Coed for ‘Rocket’s Island III’.
“I have worked with well-established actors such as John Hurt, Maxine Peake and Juliet Stevenson. I’ve ridden around in the back of a 1920s action vehicle and have met various animals on ‘Our Zoo’ including a camel, 2 monkeys, several penguins and two bear cubs.
“And of course, the ultimate highlight is watching the onscreen completed version of something that I’ve worked on.”
“I gained work experience with a production company and then got offered paid work afterwards. Although, moving from job to job in this industry means it can take time to build your reputation and I feel like I’m still establishing myself. One can work as a Floor Runner for any length of time before you step up to 3rd AD as you need to be sure you can take on the new responsibilities.”
“I haven’t had any formal training, my degree subject was nothing to do with the job I do now but I have learnt my skills whilst on the job. The best training comes by asking questions and listening to others. Most shows go through similar processes in terms of filming so when on the floor be aware of the procedures and learn the formalities. They may change slightly depending on the show’s size and genre but be confident and learn to adapt your knowledge and skills.”
“You need to be able to listen and carry out instruction but also think on your feet to make the running of the floor as smooth as it can be. You’ll always be faced with a problem you haven’t had before but you’ll have to fix it and make the solution look effortless. DO NOT PANIC, things go wrong all the time on shoots, keep a cool head and maintain composure.”
“Be confident – you’ll be talking to and giving out instructions to people you’ve never met before which can be daunting. However, don’t pretend you know what you’re doing if you don’t, it’s better to ask than muddle through and cause a problem instead.
“Be sensitive and polite – as a Floor Runner you’re dealing with people all the time so you need to be extremely personable. Always have a smile on your face and a friendly demeanour especially since the hours are so long and morale in the crew can dip.
“Be respectful – It’s important to show respect to all crew, especially your department. If you are asked to do something always do it to the best of your ability. Look after the welfare of your department, they work incredibly hard and you are there to learn from them and make their jobs easier. Always respect the cast, try not to get phased by them no matter how famous they are, never sit down to talk to them about their work when you should be doing your job. Be professional, it’s their day job too.
“Maintain the privacy of the production – you’ll be shooting things in advance which people will want to know about (especially the press), you may even hear personal conversations about important people but nevertheless it is not your place to tell anyone. Privacy is so important especially as we’re all on social media and word can travel fast.”
“Do not think this role is an easy ride! The job requires a lot of energy and graft; you will work for very long hours (at least 12 a day) and be on your feet for the whole time, it is not in the least bit glamorous. You could even work on split days (12pm-12am) or nights (2pm-2am) and be working outside for all those hours. Also, the job is a big commitment; you may not know where the next job will be so planning for future events like gigs and holidays can be difficult.”
“As a freelancer and a starter in the industry there will be times when you are not in work. However, you are responsible for getting yourself the work, whether it’s by emailing, meeting people or being recommended from a previous job. Keep checking crewing websites especially Creative England. They do such a brilliant job in bringing local crews together. You will meet contacts and gain work this way. It can be hard to stay motivated but if you have done a job well you should get recognised for it.”
“Don’t be scared of anything. Try everything possible to get your name out there. Say yes to everything and meet everyone you can. If you hold back opportunities may pass you by and you may never get another one.”
To find out more about Creative England’s Production Services team head here.