You wake up with a sore throat, your head feels warm, and your nose is stuffy. Crap. You’re sick! Most people would take a sick day, but not film people. Your crew is counting on you. The location fee is non-refundable. The cast is already in makeup. Cameras are rolling with or without you, so you pump yourself full of decongestants and head off to work, dragging your germs with you. Sometimes, we push ourselves to the point of exhaustion, but our dedication to our craft keeps us from taking a day off. Being sick affects our focus and lowers morale. Prevention is key to staying healthy. Here are 5 health tips to keep in mind during production:
Eating sugary snacks with little nutritional value sabotages your energy and your health. When choosing between “double chocolate chunk fudgy bites” and an orange, go for the one that provides antioxidants and vitamin C. (Hint: It’s not the fudgy bites). Candy will give you a fast en ergy boost, but soon you’ll be crashing harder than before. Stick to fruits, veggies, and high protein foods like jerky, trail mix, and Greek yogurt. They’ll give you more sustainable energy and help keep your immune system strong all shoot long.
Exhaustion is a common problem on set. Irregular hours, a short turnaround, and adrena line needed for production can make it impossible to get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, your immune system isn’t based on sheer will-power. Your body needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night in order to fully recharge. When you’re working 12-hour days, make sure you get to bed at a rea sonable time every night. Don’t schedule late meetings or prep too long the night before. Avoid sleep ing pills, which can leave you groggy in the morning, and alcohol, which can act as a stimulant. Just get yourself horizontal ASAP. If you are suffering from extreme sleep deprivation, alert Production and ask for help. If you’re too tired to drive, they may put you up for the night. Exhaustion can increase the risk of accidents, both on set and on the drive home. It just isn’t worth it.
Every well-run set usually has a good supply of water. If your set doesn’t have enough water, say something! Staying hydrated is a serious issue, even in moderate weather, so if the production team isn’t prepared, you need to let them know that’s not cool. Proper hydration is a necessary part of good kidney function. When you are dehydrated, your kidneys become inefficient and aren’t able to properly filter waste from your body. This can cause numerous health problems, in cluding a weakened immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness. Incidentally, while soda, juice, and coffee contain water, they are not suitable water substitutes. In fact, many are diuretics which contribute to dehydration. If your palate is too refined to choke down plain water, sports drinks or carbonated water are worthy alternatives.
LIFT WITH YOUR KNEES
You never know what the physical demands of a shoot will be. You might have to lift something heavy, walk across uneven terrain, or work in a room with poor air quality. Take the necessary precautions. No open-toed shoes on set, EVER! Have gloves and a flashlight handy. When your job demands that you clean up a dusty room, or spend all day crawling around on the floor, request appropriate equipment such as a dust mask or knee pads from production. When it comes to lifting, don’t be a hero. Bend at your knees, not your back. Wear a lifting belt, if you are re peatedly moving heavy objects. And there’s no shame in asking for help if something is just too damn heavy. Sometimes it takes a team effort. That’s why we shoot movies as a crew!
Some things aren’t meant to be shared….
If you do get sick, let your crew know ASAP. If you all agree that you’ll continue working on set, take precautions not to spread your illness. Cover your mouth with your arm when you cough or sneeze. In fact, wearing a surgical mask on set. Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer. Let your co-workers know you are coming down with something so they know to keep their distance. Once your body is weakened by illness, diet, rest, and hydration be come even more important and are critical to a fast recovery.
Mahalo to the LUNACY website for these handy tips. You are important to the film industry!
Take care of yourself,