Let’s put aside all the panic and self-doubt for the moment, and just recount the facts of what happens when you ‘book’. Your agent calls saying something like this: ‘Hey Jennifer! You booked the waitress on Zombie Ride of Death! You got two days, and your outside dates are September 5th to 9th, and you’re making scale. Okay? Congrats!’. And that’s it.
What she means is you got the part, you are making the lowest pay grade provided by your union, your two shooting days fall somewhere between the 5th and 9th, and you are committed to being there. In other words, you booked.
In a few days you’ll get a call from someone in wardrobe asking for your sizes because they have to make your cute waitress outfit. You will tell the truth about your sizes. Maybe two days later you’ll go to the production office (probably some warehouse somewhere) and do a fitting. You’ll also pick up some paperwork including the Day Out of Days, or DOOD, which is the shooting schedule, and maybe a script. You’ll check to see if your scenes have changed. Then you wait.
The night before you shoot, you’ll get a call from an Assistant Director giving you your call time (usually about 6 am) and emailing a call sheet and map to the location. The call sheet is all the info you need for your shoot day: schedule, advance schedule, eveybody’s names, the weather forecast, lunch time, etc. etc. Study it deeply. Try to sleep.
In the morning, get cleaned up, but don’t do anything more. Drive to set and be sure to be early. Being late is a capital sin. Stars get picked up, you drive yourself. As you get close to wherever they are shooting—the set—you will see florescent arrows taped to lampposts. Follow them. They will not say THIS WAY TO THE NEW GEORGE CLOONEY MOVIE for obvious reasons.
When you get close you’ll see ‘the circus’, or the collection of tents and trailers, which is the set HQ. You’ll be met by a production assistant in a traffic vest. You’ll say, ‘Morning. I’m the waitress.’ He’ll show you where to park, get on his walkie talkie and alert everyone that you have arrived.
You will walk to the circus and be met by the same guy who called you the night before who will then take you to your trailer. Your trailer will really be more like a closet with a tiny bathroom. Actual trailers go to the stars. Inside your closet/trailer (known as a honeywagon) you’ll find your wardrobe waiting for you. Put it on.
Then you’ll be ‘traveled’ to hair and makeup to get ready. If you’re smart, you’ll ask ‘How’s it going?’, and they will tell you how the shoot is going, who’s being a diva, how much tension there is, and so on. You’ll get the lay of the land. Then you travel back to your honeywagon, and wait for the movies to call your name.
In about two hours typically, your AD (assistant director) will come a-knocking, and travel you to set where you’ll meet George and shoot your scene. Easy!