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right amount of Grips


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#1 David Eger

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 01:22 PM

I seem to either hire too many or not enough grips (usually not enough I think) is there a formula for figuring this out???

thanks

Dave
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#2 robert duke

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 02:50 PM

I seem to either hire too many or not enough grips (usually not enough I think) is there a formula for figuring this out???

thanks

Dave


Some grips would say not enough is worse than too many. There isnt really a formula. If you are a working key the you plus one should be able to run the set. add a dolly grip if the camera lives on the dolly. if you need to be at monitor or next to the dp at all times then you need you plus two on set. add a best boy to take care of personell, equipment, maintence, timecards, etc. a good best can make the show easy or hard.

A good way to think about how many guys it takes or how long it takes can be figured out by thinking how long it takes you to do a job and either double it for green grips or 1.5x for experienced grips. If you need it to take less time add guys. I have found that a minimum of six guys is ideal for most situations. Key, best, dolly, three hammers.

it takes a minimum of three guys to move a 20x. two move the stands one moves the bags and ropes. same for a 12x.
if the DP wants four 12x and wants to remain quick. that more guys. four to six to move frames and two to move bags and ropes.

the key here is to make sure guys have something to do. producers hate to see grips standing around chatting. as a grip always stay busy. clean something worse case. organize the carts. look busy. lolligaging around looks bad on you and the key grip.
take care of your guys and they will take care of you. it works for all levels of the grip crew. the hammers need to make the key look good. when they do the key will get another job and think of them. look bad and both are out of a job. the best has to keep the guys in line and keep the gear together, which make the key look good. everybody gets that next job.
the key grip takes care of his guys doesnt degrade them, encourages them, teaches them, and they will work hard for you. everybody gets that next job. I have worked hard for guys as a hammer who degraded me in front of others and behind my back. I will never work with them again. I have no need to make them look good. no impetus to be good for them. I have worked with the opposite and will always take a job with them even if the$$ isnt great.

Dont hire your friends, not to say you cant be friends with your guys. but your friends have an investment outside of work. and may not always work hard nor do the hard part as good as they could b/c you are their friend.

Hire guys you know will work hard. They want that next job. so do you and they will help you get it. they will also require fewer guys b/c they get the job done.

Producers notice when guys are willing to work hard for someone. They understand a solid team is the best. A key who builds a solid team is successful.

If you feel out gunned by the number of guys, then either your guys arent working hard enough or you havent planned out what you are going to do. at lunch look at tomorrows work and think how the DP has shot before. (20x overhead, 12x bounce, 2 shiney boards....) and figure out how many guys it will take. either hire or cut a guy. DPs also notice if it takes too long and will cut back if they are smart although they may not hire you again, b/c you impeded their vision.

Hire enough and keep them busy, clean, fix, repair, label, tag stuff, make the set look perfect and the DP will carry you along.
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#3 Toby Orzano

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 05:35 PM

Good advice, Robert. Your experience really shows in this and your other posts.
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#4 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 10:43 PM

Also consider that most big shows carry rigging departments (of 2-6 or 10), which at the very least leapfrog the equipment ahead and/or behind of the shooting crew.

"producers hate to see grips standing around chatting..." F* them.
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#5 robert duke

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 07:54 AM

Producers sign the check. DP's recommend you but at the end of the day its the Producer who you need to please. If a producer sees grips sitting around the campfire telling stories He will figure there are too many guys for the day and that the Key is padding his numbers. The producer will cut guys then. keep up appearances and they will leave well alone. Also make friends with producers They work more frequently than the DP.
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#6 XiaoSu Han

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 05:05 PM

hi robert, could you explain what a 20x and what 12x are?

thanks in advance

greetings from austria, vienna
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#7 robert duke

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 06:12 PM

hi robert, could you explain what a 20x and what 12x are?

thanks in advance

greetings from austria, vienna

A 20x and a 12x are overheads, or butterflys. 20ft by 20ft. 12ft by 12ft. and so on. Overhead silks, negative Phil, and the like. What do you call them in Vienna?
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#8 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 08:04 PM

negative Phil,


Are you serious? "Phil"?


:)

Edited by Daniel Wallens, 06 October 2007 - 08:05 PM.

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#9 Alex Haspel

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 02:44 AM

A 20x and a 12x are overheads, or butterflys. 20ft by 20ft. 12ft by 12ft. and so on. Overhead silks, negative Phil, and the like. What do you call them in Vienna?


we call them butterfly over here too...
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#10 Adam Thompson

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 04:48 PM

I always wondered where butterfly came from?
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#11 Jess Haas

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 09:45 PM

"producers hate to see grips standing around chatting..." F* them.

I agree. Grips aren't PAs, no need to look busy.

You need enough grips to cover the work when things get tough. Things are slow a good percentage of the time and if a grip doesn't have anything to do and they want to hang around and chat or even take a nap then they can. If a producer is hiring people to look busy then they really should stop wasting their money since it doesn't get the film made any faster.

~Jess
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#12 robert duke

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 12:59 AM

I agree. Grips aren't PAs, no need to look busy.

You need enough grips to cover the work when things get tough. Things are slow a good percentage of the time and if a grip doesn't have anything to do and they want to hang around and chat or even take a nap then they can. If a producer is hiring people to look busy then they really should stop wasting their money since it doesn't get the film made any faster.

~Jess

grips are not PA's but Producer's also know when the workforce is padded. As a grip you should know that standing around chatting or taking a nap is not kosher. you are paid to be there, find something to do. there is always a milkcrate to organize, cart to organize, a stand to clean/fix. you can chat while cleaning up, or setting up.

Producer do understand the hurry up and wait but also get offended when they see the money being wasted on guys not doing something. Keying is also about personell management. producers notice if you are a good personell manager and make note of that when hiring again. take care of the guy who takes care of you.
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#13 Jess Haas

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 01:15 PM

I agree I went a bit overboard. I just get a bit annoyed at the thought of looking busy. I did too much of that in my previous life. I usually look busy because I have things to do, not because I am trying to look busy.

I totally agree that there is usually something to do and that if there is you should totally be doing it. I am always finding things to fix and organize, but there are times when you have a little down time inbetween the rush and I find that most producers that are worth a poop don't see a need for me to look busy because they respect me enough to know that if there is something to be done it will be done. If you aren't the type of guy who reliably gets things done and does everything he can to stay ahead of the game I can see how these same producers could resent you when they see you not working. I have never personally felt that from a Producer but I have seen them get annoyed by a few other guys who honestly should have been fired.

While sleeping is a bit overboard one reason I mention it is because if you know there is going to be a good chunk of down time you are probably better off waiting in the truck or someplace else out of the way for something to do then out in the open looking like you have nothing to do. Of course there have only been a few times when I would really have considered doing it and I have totally resented best boys who seemed to think their job was sleeping on the truck when there was plenty that could have been done.

Don't worry, I am not that guy.

~Jess
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#14 Jess Haas

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 01:26 PM

Also make friends with producers They work more frequently than the DP.

Excellent advice. Also ADs and PAs are excellent people to become friends with. I have gotten a lot of jobs because friends in the production office recommended me.

~Jess
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#15 John Sprung

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 06:18 PM

What I remember from gripping is that there's plenty of time to sit down and rest while the camera's rolling. If you have nothing to do during setting up, grab a C-stand and some flags. Stand where you're not in the way, but you can see the DP and Key Grip. Start that on day one, and by day five, you'll know what they're going to ask for before they ask for it.



-- J.S.
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#16 Jess Haas

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 08:31 PM

Now if you are sitting around during setup and other people in your department are working then your a dumbass because there should be something for you to do. If nothing else you can hump some sandbags to where stands are being setup.

~Jess
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#17 robert duke

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 10:11 PM

One thing I meant to say is that if you sit do it out of sight of the producers between the carts. If you sleep do it at lunch in the truck. If you stand around talking do it in the truck or by the carts. Being by the carts is the key thing here. It is about being available and accessable. It doesnt pay for you to be hanging out at crafty even if the camera is rolling. Many times a DP has called for a flag or bounce on take two or even three. Visiting crafty is different than hanging out at crafty.
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#18 Jess Haas

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 03:44 AM

Totally agree. I find it is good to have atleast one guy hanging around/near set readily available to the Key at all times and atleast one guy at the carts/truck at all times. No need to all visit crafty at the same time.

~Jess
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