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What's the origin of the term beaver board?


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#1 Dan Collins

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 05:44 PM

I was told on set today that we are not allowed to say beaver board any more because of the negtive origins of the term. The DP wouldn't explain what those origin are and I have to say I have no idea what the origin is ( I do know WHAT I is though). Now I'm really really curious to know.

I'm aware that many terms were once derogatory, like best boy, but that is no longer the case for most, at least in my experienc and that is far from my intention here. I'm just looking to learn and understand what the problem with it is.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 06:41 PM

I was told on set today that we are not allowed to say beaver board any more because of the negtive origins of the term. The DP wouldn't explain what those origin are and I have to say I have no idea what the origin is ( I do know WHAT I is though). Now I'm really really curious to know.

I'm aware that many terms were once derogatory, like best boy, but that is no longer the case for most, at least in my experienc and that is far from my intention here. I'm just looking to learn and understand what the problem with it is.


I may be wrong, but I believe the term comes from notion of mounting a light low on the ground to shine light up on a certain area of female anatomy...

We use the term "baby cake" for some reason on our set, I guess short for "wooden pancake with a baby pin".
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#3 Hal Smith

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 07:00 PM

I think it's a reference to the original material they were constructed from, a wood fiber composite sheet that was common in construction in the mid-20th century. It was a precursor to the modern fiberboards.

But since the word "beaver" has since picked up a new connotation (David's) it's no longer polite to refer to a "beaver board".

Then there are other now politically incorrect film terms like "Two T's shot" that if used on a set may result in one or more female cast/crew members in your face giving you a quick lesson in etiquette.
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#4 robert duke

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 10:38 PM

I think it's a reference to the original material they were constructed from, a wood fiber composite sheet that was common in construction in the mid-20th century. It was a precursor to the modern fiberboards.

But since the word "beaver" has since picked up a new connotation (David's) it's no longer polite to refer to a "beaver board".

Then there are other now politically incorrect film terms like "Two T's shot" that if used on a set may result in one or more female cast/crew members in your face giving you a quick lesson in etiquette.



dan ,
You should tell the Dp to get his head out of the gutter. The Beaver board term refers to mounting the baby pin to one end of the pancake, so when held by the pin it resembles a beavers tail.

next time call for a director's seat ( same as a beaver board).
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#5 Tom Jensen

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 11:40 PM

dan ,
You should tell the Dp to get his head out of the gutter. The Beaver board term refers to mounting the baby pin to one end of the pancake, so when held by the pin it resembles a beavers tail.

next time call for a director's seat ( same as a beaver board).


Coincidentally, that's the same thing that I heard.
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#6 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 03:05 AM

Then there are other now politically incorrect film terms like "Two T's shot" that if used on a set may result in one or more female cast/crew members in your face giving you a quick lesson in etiquette.


While we're at it...we'd probably be better off striking "mother/daughter shot" from our vocabularies amongst mixed company
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#7 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 11:20 AM

I may be wrong, but I believe the term comes from notion of mounting a light low on the ground to shine light up on a certain area of female anatomy...



This is the one I've heard. Perhaps it's an LA thing while other regions learned something else. :)

It goes in the book along with "Two Ts," "Gary Coleman," and a host of other slang that they don't teach you in filmschool.
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#8 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 02:03 PM

Really, a babycake and a beaverboard (or pigeon on a pancake) are not quite the same thing.

They are slightly different devices used for the same purpose.

A beaverboard, (or pigeon on a pancake) consists, usually, of a 1/8th apple box (sometimes a 1/4 apple box) with a baby plate (with 5/8" pin) screwed into it. It is something made by grips on set.

This item became so widely used that certain companies started to manufacture their own version of the beaverboard that comes with the baby pin already attached, permanently. This is a babycake, and uses a piece of plywood that is a little smaller than a standard 12"x20" apple box. There is a rectangular space cut out in the middle of it, in which the baby pin sits. Loosening a screw allows the small baby pin to swivel up, creating the beaver board. When not in use, the pin swivels down again, for storage. They are very handy items.


Now, for the rant:
Anyone who "disallows" the usage of this kind of terminology ("beaverboard" etc.) has, in my opinion, not been on many film sets and certainly has not been around many grips. Not only that, but he or she who feels they have the right or authority to "disallow" this kind of usage has no place on a film set. Grips, and film sets in general, tend to be among the most foul-mouthed places/people to work (with) in this country (second perhaps only to law firms). This does NOT mean that the people are bad, mean, disrespectful, etc. If certain people do not have the stomach for this, they shouldn't be working in production (or in a law firm) to begin with.* In addition, I have worked with many female grips who have absolutely no problem using terms such as beaver board, buttplug, etc. In fact, I've NEVER come across a female technician that had a problem with others doing this. It's about getting the job done, and knowing how to communicate in order to do so. If you’re too worried about getting the goodie-two-shoes upset, you're in the wrong business.


*This being said, I do NOT condone (and think it is very wrong) to specifically target or make reference to anyone in particular in a negatively sexual way on set. There are sexual harassment clauses in most deal memos and contracts concerning this. They are there for good reason, and it is, most times, unlawful to conduct oneself in such a way.
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#9 Chris Keth

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 03:51 PM

While we're at it...we'd probably be better off striking "mother/daughter shot" from our vocabularies amongst mixed company


That's probably one to be careful with. I'm not at all shy to tell a dirty joke but I don't want to get bitched out of my job for it. :lol:
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#10 Dan Collins

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 05:28 AM

I may be wrong, but I believe the term comes from notion of mounting a light low on the ground to shine light up on a certain area of female anatomy...



In addition, I have worked with many female grips who have absolutely no problem using terms such as beaver board, buttplug, etc. In fact, I've NEVER come across a female technician that had a problem with others doing this. It's about getting the job done, and knowing how to communicate in order to do so. If you’re too worried about getting the goodie-two-shoes upset, you're in the wrong business.


Daniel,

Your response is more apt that you could have ever know because it was actually a female grip that had called for the beaverboard in this particular case. The DP was probably overly cautious because of her, but since she's the one who used the term, she didn't have a problem with it.

I don't get some of the "old timers" out there that can't just act normally and have normal expectations with women working. Actresses and similar types maybe the more sensitive, but grips are grips. Female grips wouldn't still be grips if they had a problem with it. I've heard what has been said around them and to them directly and none have ever been suprised or outraged in the least bit.

Edited by Dan Collins, 04 November 2009 - 05:31 AM.

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#11 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 01:21 PM

OK, so we should stop using terms like "butt plug" so that our sets are PC?

For other idiosyncratic movie-industry terms, see here:

http://www.forbisthe...ollywood101.htm
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#12 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 01:29 PM

Oh, I don't care what anybody says, the 1st AD is definitely a Ball Buster!! :lol:

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 04 November 2009 - 01:31 PM.

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#13 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 03:50 PM

Really, a babycake and a beaverboard (or pigeon on a pancake) are not quite the same thing.

They are slightly different devices used for the same purpose.

A beaverboard, (or pigeon on a pancake) consists, usually, of a 1/8th apple box (sometimes a 1/4 apple box) with a baby plate (with 5/8" pin) screwed into it. It is something made by grips on set.

This item became so widely used that certain companies started to manufacture their own version of the beaverboard that comes with the baby pin already attached, permanently. This is a babycake, and uses a piece of plywood that is a little smaller than a standard 12"x20" apple box. There is a rectangular space cut out in the middle of it, in which the baby pin sits. Loosening a screw allows the small baby pin to swivel up, creating the beaver board. When not in use, the pin swivels down again, for storage. They are very handy items.


Now, for the rant:
Anyone who "disallows" the usage of this kind of terminology ("beaverboard" etc.) has, in my opinion, not been on many film sets and certainly has not been around many grips. Not only that, but he or she who feels they have the right or authority to "disallow" this kind of usage has no place on a film set. Grips, and film sets in general, tend to be among the most foul-mouthed places/people to work (with) in this country (second perhaps only to law firms). This does NOT mean that the people are bad, mean, disrespectful, etc. If certain people do not have the stomach for this, they shouldn't be working in production (or in a law firm) to begin with.* In addition, I have worked with many female grips who have absolutely no problem using terms such as beaver board, buttplug, etc. In fact, I've NEVER come across a female technician that had a problem with others doing this. It's about getting the job done, and knowing how to communicate in order to do so. If you’re too worried about getting the goodie-two-shoes upset, you're in the wrong business.


*This being said, I do NOT condone (and think it is very wrong) to specifically target or make reference to anyone in particular in a negatively sexual way on set. There are sexual harassment clauses in most deal memos and contracts concerning this. They are there for good reason, and it is, most times, unlawful to conduct oneself in such a way.

Big wopping +1 on this! The (unfortunately) few women I've met who work as grips seem to be beyond immune to any insult by something like this. Matter of fact they seemed like they could probably KO me if they tried.
Really, sometimes this "politically correct" BS really ticks me off. It often tends to be really counter-productive and a non-issue.
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#14 Tom Jensen

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 06:27 PM

You have to keep in mind that there are a lot of women on the set that have very powerful positions like producer, director, ad executive. Politically correct or not, the key is to keep your job. You may not get fired but you might not get hired again. It's always best to watch what you say.
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#15 Chris Keth

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 02:53 PM

You have to keep in mind that there are a lot of women on the set that have very powerful positions like producer, director, ad executive. Politically correct or not, the key is to keep your job. You may not get fired but you might not get hired again. It's always best to watch what you say.


This is my thought. I'm not one for political correctness but I don't want to lose work over it, either.

Just once I want to work on a set with Gary Coleman. I want to know if they'll still be Gary Colemans (quietly perhaps) or if grips suddenly starting asking for short C-stands all of a sudden. :lol:
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#16 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:24 PM

Heard a funny story that happened in the silent film era. Can't remember the film or the director but it was a scene in a dancehall. They hired some real "street toughs" as extras because it was supposed to be a seedy atmosphere. At one point the gaffer screamed "Rip the silks off the broads" to the electrical crew and the extras thought it was meant for them and they proceeded to tear the underwear off the female extras. Apparently a riot broke out!
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#17 robert duke

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 02:36 AM

This is my thought. I'm not one for political correctness but I don't want to lose work over it, either.

Just once I want to work on a set with Gary Coleman. I want to know if they'll still be Gary Colemans (quietly perhaps) or if grips suddenly starting asking for short C-stands all of a sudden. :lol:

Norms studio equipment used to have a photo of Gary Coleman and a Gary Coleman, I used to have a copy of it in my truck. I understand that he is actually proud of the term.
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#18 Warwick Hempleman

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 05:02 PM

Apart from agreeing with the working brothers, let me add this link:


http://en.wikipedia....iki/Beaverboard

Beaverboard (also beaver board) is a light wood-like building material, formed of wood fibre compressed into sheets. Originally a trademark[1]. It has occasionally been used as a canvas by artists; most famously, the iconic painting "American Gothic" by Grant Wood is painted on a beaverboard panel.

That's what I always thought it was. What you attach to it or what it reminds you of is your business.
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#19 Chris Keth

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 01:21 PM

Norms studio equipment used to have a photo of Gary Coleman and a Gary Coleman, I used to have a copy of it in my truck. I understand that he is actually proud of the term.


That's nice. I'm glad he isn't sensitive about it.
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#20 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 01:35 AM

Apart from agreeing with the working brothers, let me add this link:


http://en.wikipedia....iki/Beaverboard

Beaverboard (also beaver board) is a light wood-like building material, formed of wood fibre compressed into sheets. Originally a trademark[1]. It has occasionally been used as a canvas by artists; most famously, the iconic painting "American Gothic" by Grant Wood is painted on a beaverboard panel.

That's what I always thought it was. What you attach to it or what it reminds you of is your business.



Well said Wick !!

Having dealt with that one , lets move onto 'Bullpricks' and 'Mickey Rooneys' ;)

Sanjay Sami
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