The misfits, the long-hairs, the toughguys with the tough job. They hold flags, they hold scrims, they hold your life in
their hands... come spend a few minutes on the grip/electric truck on location in the Film Lab and see what's what.
Tags:What a Grip Does on a Film Set,film crew,film lighting crew,film lighting profession,film making crew,film making staff,what does a best boy do,what does a gaffer do,what does a grip do,thesubstream
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What a Grip Does on a Film Set
Michael Preuss: What’s wrong with being a key grip or a gaffer or you know you get films school grad school or like you know or I want to be a director, I want to be producer. Well, if every one of those guys became a director and a producer well who the **** going to actually crew your show?
Host: Welcome to the Sub Streams on location documentary series. Over the next few months we’ll be spending one day with each department of a real life hardworking film crew. These are real people doing real work on a real film set.
Josh Pelham: For me graphology when I first step on with a film set it was like Lego for grown ups.
Brett Hughes: I don’t know it’s like the fact that you’re creating something. We kind of make the shots like you know, we like the shots. Whether it does you would look terrible.
Josh Pelham: The camera should be mounted in the cars and stuff like that was like wow.
Mike O’Neil: And it’s also that the friendships that you build with different people. You’re working with different people all the time, some good some bad. Most are good.
Michael Preuss: I mean the only thing I can really compare this to a tight grip crew like we’ve got here would be like it’s if you were in the military like you get the camaraderie.
Josh Pelham: And it’s probably one of the only industries that you can have a very prosperous and successful life and be paid to learn it.
Host: Josh Pelham and his tight knit team of swing grip electric have been working steadily in the docudrama television genre for over ten years. When not working on featured films they regularly get hired to work on shows which air on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and Tru TV. Let’s get to know these guys a little better.
Mike O’Neil: Generally we are a rarity.
Josh Pelham: Here in Canada, North America style, you tend to shoot under the premise of a grip team and a lighting team, separated. Grips don’t touch electric gear, usually and electrics don’t touch grip gear.
Mike O’Neil: We differ on our crew. We don’t have two separate departments. Grip and Lighting and we do both. We’re generally just referred to as swings.
Josh Pelham: One basically supplies light and power and the other is graphology which is the cutting and manipulation, coloring, correcting, balancing, molding of all the lights, helping set the atmosphere and curve shadows.
Michael Preuss: So many grips and electrics that I know, seriously, probably couldn’t work anywhere else.
Mike O’Neil: Long hours, night shoots, not the nine to five Monday to Friday work schedule.
Brett Hughes: I did the desk job in two years and I have to quit because I couldn’t act sitting there doing the same thing day after day.
Josh Pelham: You’ve got to be pretty tenacious I think to deal with this industry and some of the abuse that you have to take physically, mentally, and time schedules, you know you have to feel to deal with pressure.
Mike O’Neil: One of the fun things both our job is that there are a thousand different ways to do something.
Brett Hughes: Because I’m so small I get the uncomfortable job. Everyday is different, you know, we never really do the same thing twice.
Michael Preuss: Unlike a lot of these other jobs, you know like wardrobe like if you make a mistake, you know what do you do is you prick somebody with the pen while you’re trying to seal a button on in a hurry. Yeah I make a mistake with those, 600 or 1200 amp generator, I kill somebody. You can’t work in this industry if you don’t trust the guy you work. I got to be able to trust the guy.
Brett Hughes: You have to be able to trust these guys.
Josh Pelham: As I’d like to say we are the infantry. We are the people that build the bridges that make and you know and knock down the forest to make the production and make it happen, right?
Mike O’Neil: And what I’ve heard many times before used to describe people in grip and lighting would be misfit.
Michael Preuss: Social misfit?
Josh Pelham: Misfit of the world.
Brett Hughes: There is the stereo type where we’ll all is just a bunch of smoking heart and tough guys.
Michael Preuss: Really when you start to work with a lot of grips, you do see that same personality that was same with the sparks, you know? They tend to be the crazy guys on set.
Josh Pelham: There is a fear factor at times from other departments with us.
Mike O’Neil: Certainly there is maybe a bit of more aggressive nature quite rough around the edges.
Josh Pelham: They get out of our way when we need them too and they know when they’re in our way and you will hear frequently on the film set. It hurts when it hits, got you bleed, watch your back.
Mike O’Neil: Because of the demanding work that we do there are certainly times that there are some flare ups.
Brett Hughes: Now then you know we all have disagreements about things personality goes along way in this industry in general.
Michael Preuss: No, I have some personality, right? Everybody’s personality is different. You got to play everybody a little bit different.
Josh Pelham: My crew is awesome. They’re all constant professionals. They all have great personalities which is probably one of the biggest assets to being a good technician. Your first couple of days, you just sit back and you know be there to help watch and listening to see how that crew works.
Mike O’Neil: You feel working the end of the day. Maybe you feel gratified for your time off. You feel like you’re you’ve really earned it.
Brett Hughes: Copy that. Sorry!
Michael Preuss: I think probably a lot of these guys would make—
Brett Hughes: Sorry to talking with—
Michael Preuss: Copy! I got to go dude. They’re calling me to get back to work.
Josh Pelham: Why did you throw that cable off of the truck at the sand, just throw it so it’s out of your way.