10 January 2007

Get a Grip

Greetings and salutations.

Today, we're going to talk a little about set survival. As Orson Welles once said, "A poet needs a pen, a painter a brush, and a filmmaker an army." A good chunk of any film army is the grip department.

The grip department, defined here at mediacollege.com, essentially sets up, breaks down and moves just about everything on set the holds equipment, be it lighting, camera, or on occasion, the boom op.

Which brings me to today's tidbit: make friends with the grip department, early and often. A good grip will recognize when a flag is needed to cut a boom shadow, or an operator needs an apple box to stand on in order to reach into the scene. They can be a lifesaver or an enemy, depending on your attitude.

There is a boy's club mentality on many shoots, to be sure. We all want to joke around, but avoid the temptation to reinforce departmental rivalries. It's much more advantagious to let an opportunity for a great grip joke go by and keep them in your corner.

Finally, it will help if you know something of the lingo. Matthews Grip Equipment has put together a very thorough "griptionary", which also has pictures of many items.

Link, via DVguru, digg et al.

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