CHAPERONES are employed during shoot production to drive artists, directors, producers and/or crew members, to and from the shoot location. In essence they are Chaperones to the entire production. However, some Chaperones (usually the more senior people) are hired to attend exclusively to the needs of the Client.

The role requires excellent driving skills, the ability to be punctual, and to get on with, and be sensitive to the needs of, their passengers.

Chaperones’ days can start very early, at perhaps 4am or 5am, when they must pick up artists, the director, producer, crew members, extras or visiting press, and deliver them to the shooting location. Throughout the day, they may be asked to pick up another artist, paper work, costumes, camera equipment, or rushes. In fact, Runners transport anything needed by the unit that involves the use of a car, with the exception of any food or equipment that will not fit into the boot. At the end of the day’s shoot, they may be required to return their passenger(s) to where they were picked up, so their working day may often last for up to 18 hours.

Most Chaperones in the Stills Sector do not own their own vehicles. However, they are responsible for keeping their vehicles clean and roadworthy, for reading maps accurately and researching routes, and for delivering their passengers safely and on schedule. Runners must also arrive at work in a presentable condition, and be sensitive to the needs of their passengers.

Chaperones need excellent driving and road-safety skills. Their driving ability must inspire trust in their passengers, and they must drive within legal limits at all times. They must be able to read and understand maps, and to find remote locations. They may be required to manoeuvre the vehicle in very tight space. A good sense of geography, and strong map reading skills and planning abilities are important.

Chaperones must also possess strong planning and preparation skills, to enable them to arrive in good time, at the right place. As shooting schedules often change at the last minute, they must be adaptable and flexible in their attitude, able to work as part of a driving team, but also to act independently. They must be resilient, as working days can involve very long hours. They must also be reliable and punctual.

Chaperones need good ‘people skills’, and they must be effective communicators who are able to get on well with people on set. A knowledge of foreign languages is particularly beneficial.

Chaperones need to be adaptable and flexible, as plans can change at the last minute on a shoot. It is also valuable if Chaperones have basic mechanical skills in order to repair, or identify, any possible problems with their vehicle.

Runners must have a professional drivers permit.  The most successful will also have passed an Advanced Driving Test. For insurance purposes, Unit Drivers must be over 23 years of age. Knowledge of First Aid is preferred.

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