Healing through story

Visiting a Movie or TV Production Set

Observing how movie and television productions are shot is an awesome learning experience for an aspiring filmmaker. You can check out your own city or state film commission. They usually announce where and when a production may be working in your area.

Observers are often welcome on a set, especially an outdoor location. Here are generally accepted rules for visitors to a production set. Follow them and you’ll be accepted as an observer.

Outdoor shooting location

Outdoor shooting location

When you arrive at the location, ask for the first or second AD (Assistant Director). This is usually the person who yells “Rolling” or quiets the set just before the camera rolls. Tell him or her you are an aspiring filmmaker and you’d like to observe.


Movie/TV set etiquette rules:

  • Stay out of the shot (watch where the camera is pointed)
  • Be silent when the AD calls “cameras rolling”
  • Turn off cell phones
  • Don’t take photos or video when the cameras are rolling
  • Don’t talk to the crew and actors unless they speak to you first
  • And please, if you recognize an actor, do not ask for an autograph. That’s just not cool! If you are polite and work to stay out of the way, cast or crew may approach you on their own to thank you for taking an interest in their work.
Directions to shooting location

Directions to shooting location

When you’re trying to find the actual location, look for “coded” signs on lampposts or trees. They’re usually printed both right-side up and upside down. These are used to direct cast and crew to the location without advertising to everyone else what’s going on.


  1. Atila

    Do I have to be an aspiring filmmaker to go there? Although I am a star fanatic, I have no interest in producing, but I could be making a post on my social media promoting the film, if that is what it takes for me to be making this visit.

    • Bob Gillen

      No you don’t have to be interested in producing to visit a set. Visitors are often welcome.

  2. Atila

    If I go where the movie is shooting with my favorite star, will they let me talk to her? And where do I find the contact for a specific film to ask where it’s being filmed?

    • Bob Gillen

      Try the app On Location Tours to find where productions are shooting. Ask for the 1st AD, be a polite observer. It is always possible to meet a star, although it is difficult when they are filming. A polite request will help you. Be patient, observe, watch for an opportunity to greet. And search for film locations under Google. Example: filmla.com will guide you through the shoots in LA. Good luck!

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