Dealing with Nomophobia on Set

Many independent filmmakers face a cast and crew filled with nomophobia on closed sets. It’s a psychological issue that touches approximately 94% of people who fear being out of mobile phone contact. The term abbreviates, “no-mobile-phone phobia.”

Psychology Today released a report that revealed how people felt after misplacing their cell phones. Here are the results:

73% Panicked
14% Became Desperate
7% Became Physically Sick

The results of being without a cell phone for the length of a shooting day plays havoc with many people’s emotions during production. It’s a real issue that few producers are taught how to handle. The most experienced makes sure that their key players can get to their phones during breaks.

Unfortunately, there is another issue that starts to build in the film world. While networking is the only way for most to get their next gig and requires a lot of interaction, many find themselves so attached to their mobile phone that they become lonely regardless of with whom they are networking.

There are many ways of staying connected, thanks to mobile devices and the Internet, yet many feel alone. One expert noted, “It’s a great psychological truth that if we don’t teach our children how to be alone, they will always be lonely.”

A leading consultant for non-profits pointed out that Jesus, who spent numerous daily hours in public, took time to get a way for some alone time. This spiritual discipline is counterintuitive to the activities of a mobile society who no longer knows how to be alone. However, taking time daily to be without one’s cell phone brings understanding to the new emotions the practice brings into play.

In an industry where everything is about hurrying up and waiting, cast and crew are required to be content during those long periods without cell phones. Those who are absorbed by the desperation brought on with nomophobia may soon find themselves emotionally bankrupt and out of work.

The only sure fire way of working through the sense of withdrawal or dread, is to learn how to be good company with oneself. For it’s only those who aren’t afraid of being alone with themselves that can actually overcome the odd feeling that mobile phone withdrawal brings about.

Being able to live at peace without a phone, messaging, or other forms of mobile connectivity will help a person develop the self-control necessary to survive a film shoot. Practicing being without a connected device also helps one to get to know themselves and find self-acceptance. Being able to be alone in a room gives rise to self-control and the stamina required for being unplugged – A trait that’s required in filmmaking.