Put On Your Helmet
Updated: Apr 11, 2022
Put your helmet on and hop aboard! We’re gonna discover the great frontier, the great unknown, the great… media and entertainment industry! I’m your space captain Rose, but you can call me Captain Rosay. Let’s have fun, do some great work, and be safe.
During the AWS: ReInvent 2018 conference I spent the day creating video content with Quantum Arc Media and in the evening I had the fabulous gig showing people how to use an outer space-themed photo booth. While it may seem like an innocuous bit of entertainment for party goers I got a lot out of the experience. Here are a few highlights:
Wear The Helmet — Show Don’t Tell
As you can see, I got a chance for some solo (*Star Wars reference*) shots when interest in the photo booth was down. But, as soon as I started playing people joined me, especially when I put the helmet on. The guests could SEE the fun, they could see the prop in action, they could “see” (imagine) themselves having as much fun and looking as stylish.
As an actor, it’s your job to portray authentic emotion on the stage and screen. If I went up to a director and said, “I can play an awesome, slightly goofy, but good-hearted and deeply trustworthy space captain in your upcoming project,” they might not believe me. Now, if I show them that I can wield a captain helmet with a distant star hurtling towards me, maybe they’ll be more convinced! They’ll be even more convinced when I bring that energy to an audition or show it in my reel and other materials.
This works for producing as well, or any team-oriented project. I find it very valuable to treat my crew and clients in a way that maintains professional standards and fosters clear communication. Make the spreadsheets, have the meetings, explain things in ways that people understand, show the team your effort to set the tone for the project.
Silliness doesn’t come easy to everyone, nor does organization, nor communication, nor… the list goes on, everyone has their skills and weak points. Be confident in your area of expertise and show everyone what you have to offer.
Encourage Exploration — There’s Power in the Ask
Not everyone who walked by the photobooth wanted to come in on their own. They needed an invitation. Something simple like:
“Would you like a photo with a laser gun while you’re wearing this space helmet? Your friend can hold an alien.” Or, “Want a pic?!”
Many said, “Yes!” But, they might have walked by if they hadn’t been asked. If you see an opportunity, or want to meet someone, or need clarification from a client... ASK! Make your presence known and let them know what you can provide! Maybe they’ll say “no” or they won’t have an answer. That’s fine. Now you can move along to your next idea, or contact the next person to get the answer you need.
Bonus lesson: The party guests who said “No,” or who were looking at the booth but too far away for me to contact, missed out on some *out of this world* pictures. Don’t be afraid to say “Yes” to an invitation! Also, you don’t even need an invitation! Make a movie, write a play, build a costume, learn to edit, animate something. The universe is yours and who knows what you’ll find after venturing out of your personal solar system.
Wear YOUR Helmet (different from above) — Safety First
We’re experiencing some turbulence and heading for a crash landing… asjnvlj avldbadfv yukjhfgdh ergjurdvb. *beep* *beep* Captain Rosay to Reader, do you copy? Crashlanding successful! Over. *beep* *beep*. Aren’t you glad I told you to put your helmet on before we started? You never know what’s gonna happen next.
Sets and stages are the most amazing places where we can tell fantastic stories, share powerful messages, and promote the best products. But, they can also be dangerous especially now that we’re in a post-COVID-19 world. Sure, in 2018 it was a little gross to pass this helmet from person to person without any form of sterilization. In 2020 and beyond, it would be reckless.
Protect yourself and others on set. Understand your boundaries, be aware of what you need to feel safe. Everyone is different and sometimes you’ll need to advocate for yourself. That’s OK.
I find, especially with indie film, people need to wear multiple hats to get the job done. This can be so rewarding, but don’t risk your health or life for a project and overextend yourself (or others). If you work in craft services, let the best boy handle the electricity. If you’ve committed your life to develop a glass-shattering soprano singing voice, leave the actual glass breaking, barrel rolls, and high jumps to the stunt team. Feel free to explore the industry and learn new things, but do it safely during the right time and in the right place.
Mistakes happen, accidents happen, but you can prepare and avoid risks. I mean, we had a crash landing just in this article! But it’s OK because we wore our helmets.
Rose Donahue | Actor, Producer
(1st Edition - Featured Artists)
Rose Donahue (she/her) has worked on independent film sets, national commercials, music videos, and corporate projects as a producer and as talent. She recognizes that each project has different needs depending on the client and depending on her role on set. Rose is known for her work as an interviewer/host. She began as a host on “The Downtown Podcast”, a local talk show that was distributed internationally and she continued as host/producer for “Cinema Crunch” with Quantum Arc Media. When producing she focuses on team building and clear communication to ensure all the departments are led by a pro and there’s cohesion across the board. In her free time, she volunteers as an emcee with FIRST Robotics, a youth robotics competition