As creators who are often producing, directing, writing, costuming, feeding, scheduling (etc etc) your actors, it’s pretty easy to see them as the (eyeroll) talent and be annoyed by the necessary evil of their presence.
But! I beg of you! Do not discount these humans and in fact: bend over backwards to make them comfortable and happy on your set. They are the face of your work, and will be the ones who, 9 times out of 10, people associate with it. They have power to promote, tell other actors you were great to work with, help your project gain traction.
I am all of the things listed above, and I am ALSO an actor, so I am always the actors’ advocate on our sets, ensuring they are prioritized and taken care of so they can do their best work and have fond memories of working with us.
Offer food actors will feel okay eating.
For an actor, their body and face is their job, and health is usually a priority. Even if your crew wants pizza every day, consider that your actors might appreciate a salad. It’s a lot easier to focus on lines and emotions if you’re full of nutritious food that won’t burn off and make you crash later!
Give them a place to rest and hang out.
We set up a cot on our last set, and all three of our leading ladies shared it for a quick nap. It was bonding, and funny. And that whole idea of being “in the trenches” is really true, and any opportunity you can give your cast to get to know each other and blow off steam between takes will make their on-screen chemistry even better.
Recognize that what they do is hard work.
For some reason, acting seems to be blown off as not being difficult or draining or all-consuming. A lot of times when I’m acting on top of doing all my other duties I feel apologetic when I have to request time to learn lines or rehearse a scene. I wish I wasn’t ever made to feel this way!
Validate those vain suckers.
Actors love praise, applause, feedback, attention, audiences … you get the idea. Tell them how much you love what they bring to a role (that no one else could). Once you’ve wrapped, your marketing and messaging should reflect the same appreciation.
What do you think? How do you cater to your actors? And hey, while you’re here go follow Apple Juice Productions, the all-female production company I founded, which makes fan series and films based on great literature. Right now we are raising money for the next installment in our Lily Evans series, set in the Harry Potter universe and following the story of Harry’s parents and their friends! https://www.applejuicepro.com/wedding.html