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Nessasary to be an Electrician to be a Gaffer?


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#1 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 12:54 PM

Hi all,
I just wanted to get an idea of how many of the gaffers out there are licensed electricians. I'm not talking about the gaffers on student and low-budget films, but is the percentage of union gaffers that are licensed electricians very high? Or, maybe they are all already licensed from when they were best boys?? :)

Or, is there any way to know this at all?
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 07:32 PM

Hi all,
I just wanted to get an idea of how many of the gaffers out there are licensed electricians. I'm not talking about the gaffers on student and low-budget films, but is the percentage of union gaffers that are licensed electricians very high? Or, maybe they are all already licensed from when they were best boys?? :)

Or, is there any way to know this at all?


If I have my information correct, you do not have to have a commercial electrician's license to work as an Electrician or Gaffer in IATSE. Technically speaking, set Electricians are not really electricians, but rather are "lamplighters." "Electrician" more accurately describes those in Local 40, who operate Generators, but a license is required for that either.
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#3 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 05:29 PM

In England they have to be.
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 06:59 PM

Hi,

Yeah, and don't they love to let everyone know it.

Look, I can tell blue from brown and divide things by 240!

Phil
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#5 timHealy

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 08:27 PM

If I have my information correct, you do not have to have a commercial electrician's license to work as an Electrician or Gaffer in IATSE. Technically speaking, set Electricians are not really electricians, but rather are "lamplighters." "Electrician" more accurately describes those in Local 40, who operate Generators, but a license is required for that either.


That is right, one does not have to be a licensed residential or commercial electrician to be a film electrician. But the term "electrician" has been debated before. Speaking for the film business in the US, New York IATSE local 52 members consider themselves electricians because they do everything related to electricity. They are gaffers, best boys and thirds, both rigging and shooting, generator operators and construction electrics. They also provide worklights all over and the electric for heaters in video village when necessary.

IATSE local 728 electricians call themselves set lighting technicians because they only do set lighting, either rigging or shooting. The teamsters in LA run the generators as they belong to the teamster union 399 and local 40. And correct me if I am wrong, but I think local 40 guys also supply stage power and construction power.

They will bascially all answer to the names electrics, sparks, or juicers (except the teamsters).

Of all the electricans I know in local 52 and 728, and local 399/40 men, only one is a licensed electrician.

Best

Tim

PS There is a new test that is trying to build a minimum level of certification for entertainment electricians which means film, TV, stage, and Las Vegas type venues. It is called ESTA and there is some movement towards getting memebers to take the test, but it is not a unified IATSE thing. Well not yet anyway.

Edited by timHealy, 27 October 2006 - 08:32 PM.

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#6 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 09:44 PM

Hi all,
I just wanted to get an idea of how many of the gaffers out there are licensed electricians. I'm not talking about the gaffers on student and low-budget films, but is the percentage of union gaffers that are licensed electricians very high? Or, maybe they are all already licensed from when they were best boys?? :)

Or, is there any way to know this at all?


In Massachusetts, there are many gaffers, non-union anyway, who are not licensed
electricians and yet
they perform tie-ins, which I believe is illegal in this state without being a licensed electrician.

Sure, they may know how to do it and do it often but I think they're carrying a lot of
liability.
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#7 Matt Workman

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 09:48 PM

Doing in tie-ins in some states is straight out illeagal anyway. Give me a generator anyday.

:ph34r: Matt
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