Sunday, February 24, 2013

Film set- the walkie talkie

Want to learn the ins and out of a film set before setting foot on one? Check out It's an amazing blog that goes through everyhting you'll need to function on a set like a pro. For this post I referenced their walkie talkie etiquette for you, and added some of my own thoughts.

Walkie Talkies- the sign that you have progressed beyond the guerrilla filmmaking to a professional set.

Walkie-talkies are a powerful time saving tool- treat them nicely, or your paycheck may be the one paying for it's replacement.


  1. Channel 1 tends to be for interdepartmental communication- and the only one saying more than "copy that" should be the AD (Assistant Director)
  2. If the conversation is longer or more complicated than a quick order move it to another channel, in my experience that is often channel 2
  3. each department tends to have it's own channel to deal with all their own chatter. Sound, Art Department, and G&E. If you need to talk to another department, go to their channel, but then ask them to switch to the chat channel if it's a longer conversation.
  4. If you are a PA, stay on 1 unless talking to your superior on another channel- AD's hate it when they're not being heard.
Random Tips:
  1. Key for a second before speaking, otherwise your first couple words will be clipped off.
  2. Pay attention to your walkie buttons and dials, it's easy to get unplugged, or push the button that will make it que. And Queuing walkies drive everyone nuts. So stay in the habit of making sure you're plugged in with the volume up and on the right channel.
  3. This one will seem like common sense, however it happens often with beginners, Keep your headset on you head. It will never be of any good around your neck.
  4. speak slowly and calmly so you don't have to repeat yourself.
  5. If you need to, have some instructions repeated do it, it's ok.
  6.  As with any situation: think before you speak.

Now for the fun part.

Walkie-Talkie Lingo:

10-1 (10-100):
Standard washroom break. Although this falls under more than just walkie etiquette and is more a common set etiquette. ’10-1′ or ’10-100′ simply means your going to the bathroom.

10-2 (10-200):
Longer break…Not as common as 10-1, but still used from time to time. Some people are a little embarrassed about using, but we’re all human. Don’t be embarrassed.

This one isn’t standard, but I find it works well. Often times you ask for a 10-1 and sneak off for a quick pee to then realize you have to do more than just pee…a lot of the guys I work for just ask for an upgrade. “Mind if I upgrade that 10-1, sir?” This tell your boss you wont be as quick as a 10-1.

Copy or Copy that:
Acknowledging that you have received the information, understand and are doing it.

Walkie Check:
Is said when you first turn on your walkie. Someone will reply to you with ‘Good Check’ this means your microphone is working properly and are being heard clearly.

Going off Walkie:
This is what you say when you are talking off you walkie or will not being able to communicate. It’s very important to let everyone know that you wont be available.

Used when someone tries to communicate with you but you are too busy to reply, you simple say Standby

Standing by:
This is great to use when you’ve completely a quick task, like panning a light and are standing by it for any further instructions.

Iggy for John:
‘Iggy’ being your name, ‘John’ the name of the person you are wanting to communicate with. See responding to that call below.

Go for John:
When someone calls for you over the walkie you respond with “Go for *your name here*”. This tell them that you have heard them asking for you and are awaiting instructions.

What’s your 20:
This means ‘where are you?’. Often times asked before given a task.

Eyes on John:
‘Eyes on’ is used when you’re looking for someone or something. Sometimes you will hear something like “Does anyone have eyes on my wrench” or “Does anyone have eyes on the boss?”

Flying in:
This tells other that you are flying in to set or bringing something in.

Stepped on:
When two people try to talk on the same channel at the same time. All anyone will hear is static. A third party will generally say "repeat that please, you just got stepped on"

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