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Tips for getting a start in gripping


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#1 greg_austen

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 05:47 PM

Hi everyone, I just found this forum and it seems extremely useful so I thought I'd join it.

I was just wondering if anyone had any tips for getting started in the industry as a grip. I just completed my schooling (Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario) and am now looking to get out there and starting out as an assistant. However, I'm having a hard time finding work.

I was curious as to how all of you experienced workers got your start, and any tips towards what it entails to be a key grip or assistant would be very helpful.

Thanks a lot to anyone who can help.
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#2 Jessica Bennett

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 06:53 PM

I was curious as to how all of you experienced workers got your start, and any tips towards what it entails to be a key grip or assistant would be very helpful.


I've been a grip for six years. I did a lot of free b's at first. You're going to have to work for free, independently. Also, working in a BIG rental shop helps you get the equipment skills and work hook-ups too. But you'll have to earn the knowledge. Some unions allow apprentices. You should read the grip handbook and maybe the set technician's handbook, too. Good luck.
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#3 David Erlichman

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 06:55 PM

Greg;

Two words; Good Luck!. No, seriously. The industry in Toronto is going to get harder and harder to "get into" over the next while. The shockwaves from the last boom are settling and people are finding that there isn't enough work to go around anymore (too many people jumped on)

Back to your original question. A couple different avenues. One of the most commonly taken paths is working as a PA on commercials (non-union) then being "picked out" by a key grip for the odd daily here and there. Once you get enough days then you can approach the unions (Nabet 700 or IATSE 873) and apply to their permitee lists.

Me? I started in the non-union world, when there was a big chunk of work there, got accepted into NABET, keyed there for 12 years or so, then jumped ship and am pushing dolly in IATSE. I've seen both sides of the fence and survived the boom & bust cycles. To be honest, with the dollar the way it's going, and the lack of indigenous production (save all the HGTV reality shows) I don't see the industry lasting too much longer here.

Now that I've rained on your parade - any questions?

Dave
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#4 Rik Andino

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 07:20 PM

Well you can try to get a grip intern position in an indie film
And you can get some volunteer work (free work) in low-budget or student films.
Since you're basically trying to learn your way to the top...
You'll be working from the bottom...
So you might have to get use to working for free for a couple of months.

Another idea is to see if you can get some part-time work at a rental house...
You'll learn alot about the equipment and also make some connections.

But at some point you realize you'll have to do free labor for experience...
It's one of the nasty truths of the industry.


Anyways
Good Luck
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#5 greg_austen

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 09:09 PM

Thanks a lot for the replies.

Free labour really isn't really a problem for me because I've been expecting it all along, so I've kind of prepared myself for that one. I constantly tell myself I'd be happy to work the lowest position on a professional shoot just for the experience, because it's definitely what I need right now. In fact, after reading through this forum in the past couple hours I've learned more and more about how little I know of actual film production.

What are some good websites (or any other type of posting) that I should be searching around or signing up for that would regulary be looking for non-union workers on commercials or short film shoots. The main one I've been checking is mandy.com which seems to be updated regularly, but are there any others I should have on my bookmark list?

Also, thanks a lot for the recommendation about working at a rental house. The thought never really occured to me, I'll start searching the GTA/905 area for some and begin applying.
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#6 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 02:26 PM

www.craigslist.org < search "crew" and "creative", there are always films being shot that need grips. Probably the easiest way onto a set.

Pick up a book called "set lighting technitians handbook" and read it inside out.
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#7 David Erlichman

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 07:14 PM

You can also try LIFT in Toronto:

http://www.lift.on.ca/mt/
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#8 Wilkin Chau

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 03:01 PM

You'll have do quite a few freebies. Indie stuff like on mandy.com or say the Canadian Film Centre (where I got my start). You could also work for William F. Whites. You'll meet industry people there plus you'll know the gear. I'm also pretty certain that your days at whites counts towards permitee status at IA. but I'm not 100% positive on that.

So through your freebies you should at some point meet people in the unions or people in the indie circuit that will get you work. Hopefully paying work. :) Took me about a year before I starting getting paid.

Industry is very slow right now in Toronto which worries me. Even union guys I know aren't getting work right now. As someone said before it's terrible right now. Hopefully it picks up but I don't know. Summer is supposed to be the busy time. You aren't likely to get in the either Nabet or IA this year as a permit. They only really take people in when things are busy. And they aren't.
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Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape

Opal

Abel Cine

CineLab

Visual Products

Glidecam

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery