SET DECORATION SUMMIT
Resources , surveys and links
The Set Decoration Summit 2023 was a huge success with 130 Set Decoration crew joining us to talk about issues and hear from experts and experienced crew members on all the big topics; the strikes, rates, leadership, bullying, harassment, sustainability, flexible working and more.
We have collected together notes and resources from the sessions below.
Thank you for your comments via the feedback form. We are delighted that so many of you felt that it was a useful and valuable day. We're excited to consider the possibility of another event next year and have taken note of all the points raised. In particular, we would like give a platform to crew working on a wider range of budgets, as well as crew from further afield in the UK.
Stepping up in Set Dec: how to make the move up the department
The panel included Kathryn Pyle (Set Decorator), Michael Standish (Set Decorator) and Molly Blake (Assistant Buyer) who talked about making the move to more senior roles in the department.
We considered the structure of the Set Decoration department as well as the chart below which shows the recommended rates for Set Decoration roles on Major Motion Pictures (+£30m) and Band 4 TV productions, as per the Bectu 2023 Rate card.
Leadership and Management for HoDs
For this session, the panellists were Katie Spencer (Set Decorator), Alison Harvey, Set Decorator, Sara Wan, Co-founder and CEO of The Classic Prop Hire Company and Tacita Small, Founder & MD of The Small HR Company.
The panel encouraged all crew members to consider taking time to invest in leadership skills and our own personal career development. As freelancers, this is something that we need to identify ourselves. This can be through attending training courses and mentoring but also reading books and articles and listening to podcasts.
The panel also discussed the importance of feedback and how leaders need to lean into the uncomfortable conversations - these provide opportunities to nip challenging situations in the bud, prevent conflict in the team and create a harmonious team. It was noted that it is particularly important and productive to create opportunities for people to feedback, whether this is a full debrief at the end of a job or regular check-in points. “Feedback is a gift we all learn from!”
Talking Point is developing a range of leadership training that will be available in early 2024. Meanwhile several books were recommended, including People Management Secrets by Rus Slater and Management Secrets by Michael Heath
Navigating Bullying and Harassment in the Industry
We were excited to be joined by Justine Walton, Bullying Services Advisor from The Film and TV Charity and Tacita Small, Founder and MD of The Small HR Company. Eva Onsrud, Production Buyer, also joined the panel to give a crew perspective.
It was noted that a recent survey on social media had revealed that 95% of crew memebrs have witnessed or experienced bullying in the department. Bullying can take many forms, such as passive aggressive behaviour, freezing out, repetitive and controlling behaviour, micro-managing, being set up to fail, not sharing information appropriately or being inaccessible.
The session revealed that a new organisation called the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CISA) will launch a service in 2024 for crew who are affected by bullying and harassment in the work place. Crew members will be able to use a confidential advice line or web form. Advice, mediation, support and counselling will be available.
Negotiating your Rate
The panellists were Andy Grogan, Ex-Set Decorator and Agent at McKinney Macartney and Netty Chapman, Assistant Set Decorator.
Tips on negotiating your rate were discussed, such as trying to distance yourself emotionally and act as though you are neogitating for a third party. Andy emphasised that the process isn't personal from the employers' perspective, and therefore shouldn't be personal to you.
Bectu has an online version of Sara Putt's Masterclass on Negotiating available here.
You can also find the Bectu Rate card for 2023 on the Filmbase rates pages, as well as the Bectu Art Department Branch website.
The panel also discussed whether crew members manage to get the rates that are on the rate cards. This chart is a comparison of paid rates and rates as listed on the rate card. The blue blocks show the rates that were reported as being paid pre April 2023 in the Bectu rates survey. The green and red lines represent the minimum and recommended rates on the most recent Bectu Rate card. Is is important to remember that the rates reported are for rates paid in the previous 12 months so will be lower than current rates. The rate card on the other hand, takes into account a 5% increase for inflation so will always be higher than what has historically been paid to crew as shown on surveys. Nevertheless, it is clear that the suggest rates on the rate card for the most part match with what crew have actually been paid.
Camise Oldfield (Graphics Art Director), Rachel Corbould (Production Buyer), Dom Capon (Set Decorator) and Naomi Moore (Set Decorator) were the panellists for this session.
It was encouraging to hear the HoDs talk so positively about hiring flexibly on their productions and Camise and Rachel gave lots of tips on how to set up flexible working and mentioned a course on flexible working that they will be launching soon. You can follow them on instagram here. here.
Slides from the session can be found here.
These surveys were available to fill in at the Set Decoration Summit. If you didn't have time to fill them in and would like to have your say, please fill them in by clicking the links below.
A survey about all aspects of the industry, including AI and the effect the strikes have had on crew. The findings from this survey will be submitted to the BFC, Bectu, the BFI and BAFTA.
Fill in the survey
A survey about Set Decoration-specific concerns within the industry. The findings will be fed back to Albert, BAFTA's organisation for supporting the film and TV industry in reducing its environmental impact.
Fill in the survey
This claims to shed light on how your personality can affect your leadership style and how you work with colleagues. A Personality Information Booklet can be found here.
Take the test
Here are a few photos from the day. It was kicked off with a welcome speech by Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission and over the course of the day, attendees joined sessions on 'Stepping up in Set Dec', on 'Leadership and Management in Set Dec' and on 'How to Navigate Bullying and Harassment in the Industry'. There were also sessions on 'Flexible Working', on 'Negotiating Your Rate' and there was a 'Rate Consultation' for HoDs.
The Set Decoration Summit was a collaboration between the following three organisations who all felt strongly that it was important to give Set Decoration crew an opportunity to come together and discuss issues that impact the department.
Talking Point is a film and TV skills organisation which offers a wide range of short courses, mentoring, networking events, Industry Sessions and paid placement opportunities. These are for people looking to get started in the industry as well as those looking to move up a grade.
We also provide consultancy services between the studios, streamers, government and industry stakeholders.
The Classic Prop Hire Company
The Classic Prop Hire Co is one of the world’s largest suppliers of set dressing to support the international film, TV and events sectors. The group includes Classic Prop Hire, Classic Modern, Seasons Textiles and Number Eight. We are customer centric, and our mission is to inspire and delight our customers who are at the centre of what we do.
Our unique collection of antique furniture, accessories and textiles is housed in three warehouses of over 140,000 sq. ft in West London. We are in easy reach of all of London’s internationally renowned film studios and major transport hubs.
Filmbase.uk was set up to provide a central resource for crew working on film and TV projects in the UK - primarily we want to make it easier for crew to find jobs, and for employers to find crew. We are currently listing jobs for Art Department, Set Decoration, Drapes and Props Department crew. We aim to include other departments soon.
We also want to support people who are new to the industry and encourage employers to look further afield for crew, beyond the traditional hiring strategy of 'it's who you know'. Our upcoming webinars and events are listed on Filmbase.uk
The Film and TV Charity
If you work behind the scenes in film, TV or cinema, the Film and TV Charity is here to support you. Whether you’re a researcher or a writer, in casting or production, editing or sales, distribution or exhibition, we’re ready to help. You can expect a friendly ear at the end of our 24/7 Film and TV Support Line, as well as access to financial advice and support, and help with everything from mental wellbeing, discrimination and harassment to a whole host of practical tools and resources.
The Acas helpline is for anyone who needs employment law or workplace advice, including employers, employees and workers.
Contact us for confidential, free advice. We can talk through:
- any work-related problem or question you have
- what the law says and how it relates to you
- good practice at work
- your options, including any risks and benefits
You do not have to give any personal details.
Bectu is the media and entertainment union for freelancers working in film and TV. They produce rate cards for crew, negotiate on contracts and can provide support for crew on a variety of issues such as harassment or non-payment of invoices. There is an Art Department branch of Bectu that is made up of crew from the Art Department, Set Dec, Graphics and Drapes. The branch has a committee of members from all those departments and is working on many different campaigns in support of the Art Department's interests.
If you are interested in getting involved in the committee and the issues they cover then you can email the committee at email@example.com.
Cisa is The Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority and from 2024 will provide services for crew who are affected by bullying and harassment in the work place. Crew members will be able to use a confidential advice line or web form. Advice, mediation, support and counselling will be available.