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experienced PA/Gaffer/Grip for hire


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#1 James Bradford Huston

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 04:44 PM

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I am seeking work as a production assistant, gaffer, or grip. I have a BA in film. I have done cable wrangling, boom operating, and directing.

I live in North Hollywood. My resume is on my website at www.JamesBradfordHuston.com. If you are in need of a trained professional contact me at JamesBradHuston@Gmail.com.


Thank you very much,
James Huston

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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 01:07 AM

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I am seeking work as a production assistant, gaffer, or grip. I have a BA in film. I have done cable wrangling, boom operating, and directing.

I live in North Hollywood. My resume is on my website at www.JamesBradfordHuston.com. If you are in need of a trained professional contact me at JamesBradHuston@Gmail.com.


Thank you very much,
James Huston

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Given your described experience, I would suggest removing gaffer (which is a high skill job, there are many people who are career gaffers) and grip (also a real set of skills. Not just the set mules like many student films think) from the table and just work as a PA for a while.
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#3 James Bradford Huston

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 01:32 AM

Given your described experience, I would suggest removing gaffer (which is a high skill job, there are many people who are career gaffers) and grip (also a real set of skills. Not just the set mules like many student films think) from the table and just work as a PA for a while.


I've worked hard to familiarize myself with all the jobs on set. When did you move down to LA, and what was the first job yoy had? If it was PA, how long did it take you to learn all the necessary skills to make you reliable in 2nd and 1st ACing?
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:21 AM

I've worked hard to familiarize myself with all the jobs on set. When did you move down to LA, and what was the first job yoy had? If it was PA, how long did it take you to learn all the necessary skills to make you reliable in 2nd and 1st ACing?


Familiarity with all of the jobs doesn't mean you're any good at any of them. I'm familiar with what a makeup artist, wardrobe coordinator, and a 1st AD do. I wouldn't be able to go do those jobs right now even if I wanted to.

I moved down to LA in August of 2007, so almost 2 years ago. I didn't work as a PA. I started here as a loader and 2nd. I worked as a 2nd while I was still in school in New York before I moved.

I didn't necessarily say that because I don't think you can work as a grip. I do doubt you have the skills to work as a gaffer, though. I mainly said it because you're doing what every kid just out of school does: say they can do everything in hope someone will let them do something. The fact is that the film industry is very specialized. Most people do one thing and one thing only because you must do your job to an extremely high level of proficiency. The fact that you would consider PA work tells me that you're not confident in your skills as a grip or as a gaffer, therefore I wouldn't hire you for either of those jobs.

Edited by Chris Keth, 24 March 2009 - 04:23 AM.

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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 11:41 AM

I'm going to have to agree with Chris here, to a point, that it is important to show yourself as a specialist in this industry. You can of course move around and go up and down the ladder, but I think that most people want to see a history where you work in one area and then a bit of a cross talk time (e.g. PA and Grip jobs) before going primarily to grip, then some more cross talk time up to gaffer etc. Too scattershot of a resume makes one question it's validity, you know? At the same time, too Specialized of a resume also makes one question (unless there is a clear period of working other associated jobs-- and yes, I realize my resume is pretty specialized...)
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#6 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 12:10 PM

James,

I think I understand what Chris is saying. He is not saying it to be mean, or to put you down. He is saying it to help you.

You graduated this (academic) year. That means you aren't a "professional" anything yet. A professional is one who makes his/her money and their living from doing just that. It's their profession.You have been a student up until a few month ago. I started work in the theater and film industries since I was 15 years old, and still didn't call myself a "professional" once I graduated college.

Aside from the simple money aspect, you probably don't have the set of skills that qualifies you to be "experienced." This only comes from years of said experience, on sets of varying size. If you are a "gaffer," you should have some idea of photometrics, know what a musco or ruby 7 is, how to balance loads when using 3 18Ks, 8 6K spacelights, and an inkie, know what the first thing the best electric needs to do when the truck arrives on set, and a million other things (I am not a gaffer, as you can tell). If you are a grip, you should know how to operate condors, know what you use to rig condors and how to rig them, know what to set up around the village if shooting outside in the daytime, know when to use black pipe as opposed to rail, know how to change the modes on various dollies, know how to assemble truss, know your knots (which ones and how to tie them, and which ones are used in which situations), know what lexan is and what it's used for, know the strongest load configuration/position for sling and spansets, know what and over-under is, and a million other things. If you are a gaffer OR a key grip, you should know where and where not to stand while shooting, and where and where not to stand while shooting if you are a set electric or set grip. If you are a gaffer OR a key grip, you should know who to talk to if you need more cello. If you are a gaffer OR a key grip, you should know what to bring with you on a tech scout, and also how much you should be paid for that tech scout.

Really, the list goes on. Now, you CAN say "experienced PA" (it's also clear because you call yourself an "experienced PA/Gaffer/Grip" -- no experienced gaffer would consider himself/herself a PA -- of any sort). This is much different than a non-experienced PA. They make more money. They know what's needed on set, and who needs it. They know shortcuts (literal and figurative), they know who to help and who not to help.


Again, we are not saying this to bring you down, but really, to help you understand that someone can be working in this industry for years before they are a "professional" and "experienced." And there is ALWAYS new stuff to learn.

-DW
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#7 James Bradford Huston

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 12:54 PM

I'm going to have to agree with Chris here, to a point, that it is important to show yourself as a specialist in this industry. You can of course move around and go up and down the ladder, but I think that most people want to see a history where you work in one area and then a bit of a cross talk time (e.g. PA and Grip jobs) before going primarily to grip, then some more cross talk time up to gaffer etc. Too scattershot of a resume makes one question it's validity, you know? At the same time, too Specialized of a resume also makes one question (unless there is a clear period of working other associated jobs-- and yes, I realize my resume is pretty specialized...)


Well I graduated a year ago. Unfortunately when it comes to resumes I think one can't read too much into it or they'll be driven crazy. I think you make some good points though. Thank you for your advice Adrian.

- James
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 12:59 PM

Anytime. Good luck.
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#9 James Bradford Huston

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 01:04 PM

Familiarity with all of the jobs doesn't mean you're any good at any of them. I'm familiar with what a makeup artist, wardrobe coordinator, and a 1st AD do. I wouldn't be able to go do those jobs right now even if I wanted to.

I moved down to LA in August of 2007, so almost 2 years ago. I didn't work as a PA. I started here as a loader and 2nd. I worked as a 2nd while I was still in school in New York before I moved.

I didn't necessarily say that because I don't think you can work as a grip. I do doubt you have the skills to work as a gaffer, though. I mainly said it because you're doing what every kid just out of school does: say they can do everything in hope someone will let them do something. The fact is that the film industry is very specialized. Most people do one thing and one thing only because you must do your job to an extremely high level of proficiency. The fact that you would consider PA work tells me that you're not confident in your skills as a grip or as a gaffer, therefore I wouldn't hire you for either of those jobs.


Your perspective on this subject is valuable to me, and I thank you for your advice. I have been out of school for a year now. In that time I have been trying to build up my knowledge in gaffing (not so much gripping admittedly). I can't 1st AC, 2nd AC, camera operate, DP, or sound mix. Still I hold to the fact that I know a little bit about those jobs. I make it a point to perpetually educate myself.

Thank you again for your comment Chris.
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#10 James Bradford Huston

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 01:25 PM

James,

I think I understand what Chris is saying. He is not saying it to be mean, or to put you down. He is saying it to help you.

You graduated this (academic) year. That means you aren't a "professional" anything yet. A professional is one who makes his/her money and their living from doing just that. It's their profession.You have been a student up until a few month ago. I started work in the theater and film industries since I was 15 years old, and still didn't call myself a "professional" once I graduated college.

Aside from the simple money aspect, you probably don't have the set of skills that qualifies you to be "experienced." This only comes from years of said experience, on sets of varying size. If you are a "gaffer," you should have some idea of photometrics, know what a musco or ruby 7 is, how to balance loads when using 3 18Ks, 8 6K spacelights, and an inkie, know what the first thing the best electric needs to do when the truck arrives on set, and a million other things (I am not a gaffer, as you can tell). If you are a grip, you should know how to operate condors, know what you use to rig condors and how to rig them, know what to set up around the village if shooting outside in the daytime, know when to use black pipe as opposed to rail, know how to change the modes on various dollies, know how to assemble truss, know your knots (which ones and how to tie them, and which ones are used in which situations), know what lexan is and what it's used for, know the strongest load configuration/position for sling and spansets, know what and over-under is, and a million other things. If you are a gaffer OR a key grip, you should know where and where not to stand while shooting, and where and where not to stand while shooting if you are a set electric or set grip. If you are a gaffer OR a key grip, you should know who to talk to if you need more cello. If you are a gaffer OR a key grip, you should know what to bring with you on a tech scout, and also how much you should be paid for that tech scout.

Really, the list goes on. Now, you CAN say "experienced PA" (it's also clear because you call yourself an "experienced PA/Gaffer/Grip" -- no experienced gaffer would consider himself/herself a PA -- of any sort). This is much different than a non-experienced PA. They make more money. They know what's needed on set, and who needs it. They know shortcuts (literal and figurative), they know who to help and who not to help.


Again, we are not saying this to bring you down, but really, to help you understand that someone can be working in this industry for years before they are a "professional" and "experienced." And there is ALWAYS new stuff to learn.

-DW


Admittedly I am not very good at gripping. Still I have been working up to gaffing in the year I have graduated since college. I find a lot of the terms you described to be familiar to me. Ruby 7 is a light (not sure watts) it is comprised of 7 smaller lights held together in an octagonal shape. It's one of the larger lights. A Space light is an over hanging light... a good example of a space light is perhaps from a couple scenes in the godfather where they would add some gel like Frost or Opal to also make the light soft. An Inkie, I think, is a very small light. Musco only rings a bell, and I need to brush up on how to balance loads (which I know is very important). As far as photometrics I can only assume you are referring to Color Temperature, f-stops, Focal Distance, and a few other things I am forgetting or are unfamiliar with.

Maybe I can't say I am experience, or professional. I can say with confidence however that I am component. The big thing right now is to memorize names (double riser, 1K, 2K, CTO, ect...) The film jargon in the East is different than here in CA.

I say I'll be a PA, Gaffer, or Grip because I've only been in LA for a little more than a month and am part of the 11.6% unemployed right now. I'll do any work I am offered. Perhaps if I reword it to something like this... "I am seeking work as a Gaffer, but am willing to work as a production assistant. I have a BA in film. I have done gripping, boom operating, and directing as well."
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 01:30 PM

That line sounds good, but I'd say loose the "directing" bit... certain egos may not like it. Some people may feel wary about another director 'round, ya know?
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#12 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 03:43 PM

Ruby 7 is a light (not sure watts) it is comprised of 7 smaller lights held together in an octagonal shape. It's one of the larger lights. A Space light is an over hanging light... a good example of a space light is perhaps from a couple scenes in the godfather where they would add some gel like Frost or Opal to also make the light soft. An Inkie, I think, is a very small light.

Any of that is easily found with a Google search (as well as musco). (also keep in mind that many lights, all different types, hang, spacelights included).

Regardless, it doesn't so much matter if you know how many watts, how many lights, or what size they are (again, all found online). What matters perhaps more is if you know how to use it. Photometrics is very specific, and naming other things having to do with cinematography won't really help you gain better understanding. Experience, on the other hand, will (and in this particular case, reading will help too). The point being, don't try to fool the pros. They will know how much you know VERY quick. The most basic, beginning terms (ie, double riser, 1K, 2K, CTO, ect...) are pretty much understood everywhere, east coast, west coast, and even abroad.

Edited by Daniel Wallens, 24 March 2009 - 03:48 PM.

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#13 JD Hartman

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 05:29 PM

The reality is that most schools, I'll stick my neck out and say most, do a poor job of teaching lighting or grip. Their too busy cramming in screen writing, directing, loading, camera operating, editing, etc. When a student crew goes out, it's usually with the most basic of light kits and grip equipment. That's all most schools have anyway. Forget about HMIs, unless they are rented out of their own pocket. Some graduates will never have seen or used equipment like meat axes, wall sleds, bazookas, wall spreaders, cinevators, mombo-combos or even basic grip stuff like nets and flags either. Not every can be a producer or director. Schools seem to overlook that. Pick a job and work at being good at it. If you want to be a grip or gaffer, Uva's grip book is a good place to start and a good reference. Knowing what the hardware is and knowing how to use it safely, creatively and resourcefully are world apart. That can't be gotten from school or any book.

Edited by JD Hartman, 24 March 2009 - 05:33 PM.

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