One of the other things I learned on the drama shoot was appropriate radio etiquette. Yes, that is a thing. And there are rules. And if you break the rules, people get cross with you. Here are a few rules I learnt the hard way:
- When you’re asking to speak to someone, say your name, then “to/for”, then their name. So for example, “Zenia for Tom”.
- If someone asks for you and you hear them, respond by saying “Go for [your name]”. For example, “Go for Zenia”
- Over-communicate. If someone asks you to do something over the radio, acknowledge them (by saying “copy that”), do the thing, then tell them when the thing is done.
- Any conversations that are longer than simple commands or questions should happen on a different channel. To do that, ask for the person you need, say the channel number you want to switch to, then switch to that channel and wait for them to come in. Don’t forget to go back to Channel 1 when you’re done.
- Code for the loo is ten-one. Technically, ten-two means…well…a number two, but no one ever says that. Too much detail.
- If you hear someone asking for you over the radio, but you’re busy when they ask for you, just wait till you’re finished and then say “Go again for [your name]”.
- If you don’t hear anything over the radio for a while, there’s probably something wrong with it. Check that your earpiece is in correctly, and that you’re on the right channel.
- To start up your radio in the morning and let everyone know you’re on comms, pick up the radio, fix on your earpiece, and say “radio check”. Repeat this whenever you make a change to your radio. The response to “radio check” is “good check”.
- If you can, go for the over-ear D ring connection, rather than the in-ear ‘covert’ connection. That way, you won’t feel half-deaf, and your ear won’t get really itchy.
- Radios, funnily enough, emit radiation, so try not to put them near your kidneys or your ovaries. This sound piece of advice was given to me early one morning by the 2nd AD. Try to wear the radio, therefore on your hip, and make sure you wear something that will support it (basically, wear jeans – slotting a heavy radio on to thin leggings can get awkward, as I found out. Also pockets are just generally very useful on shoots).