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First Feature Film gig (any advice?!)


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#1 Colin Green

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 12:53 AM

Hey Guys,

I figured I would try and dig for some words of wisdom from any experienced grips/electricians who have spent a good amount of time working in features. I have been free-lancing professionally for just about a year now, with most of my experience being in Corporate/Commercial/Broadcast spots, (and in no way am I trying to beep my own horn) but I have plenty of on set experience, and a good understanding of set etiquette, however I am constantly looking to learn and absorb more from my peers.

I was contacted by a friend of mine who is the Best Boy Rigging Grip for a feature being shot in pittsburgh, pennsylvania at this time. He informed me that next week and so on, they may very well need some additional rigging grips, and that I may be called in as a day player. I have worked as an additional PA for a feature in the past, but this would be my first time working as a grip at the feature film level. And I know that things are very different, much more hectic, and have much less room for error than the smaller productions I have spent the bulk of my career on.

Can anyone give any tips/advice/things to look for/etc. that would make the first few days a bit easier to walk into? Any help would be EXTREMELY appreciated. Thanks so much guys.





- Colin
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#2 Tom Jensen

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 02:03 AM

Hey Guys,

I figured I would try and dig for some words of wisdom from any experienced grips/electricians who have spent a good amount of time working in features. I have been free-lancing professionally for just about a year now, with most of my experience being in Corporate/Commercial/Broadcast spots, (and in no way am I trying to beep my own horn) but I have plenty of on set experience, and a good understanding of set etiquette, however I am constantly looking to learn and absorb more from my peers.

I was contacted by a friend of mine who is the Best Boy Rigging Grip for a feature being shot in pittsburgh, pennsylvania at this time. He informed me that next week and so on, they may very well need some additional rigging grips, and that I may be called in as a day player. I have worked as an additional PA for a feature in the past, but this would be my first time working as a grip at the feature film level. And I know that things are very different, much more hectic, and have much less room for error than the smaller productions I have spent the bulk of my career on.

Can anyone give any tips/advice/things to look for/etc. that would make the first few days a bit easier to walk into? Any help would be EXTREMELY appreciated. Thanks so much guys.





- Colin

You'll be fine. Just do what you are told and do it the way you are told. don't talk a lot and pay attention. Rigging crews are a little more boisterous than shooting crews because there aren't any actors, directors around. DP's may show up. There will always be the loud mouth there telling the latest jokes and spewing grippisms. don't be that guy. work fast and you will be fine. Don't try to outsmart the one giving instructions. you can never go wrong doing what you are told.
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#3 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 09:39 PM

"... I know that things are very different, much more hectic, and have much less room for error than the smaller productions I have spent the bulk of my career on..."

Actually ... :)

Just show up on time, and work without complaint or comment.
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#4 robert duke

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 10:08 PM

Mouth Shut, Head down, do what you are told.

Best advice for a young and hungry, Love steel, love sand, show your love by being the first to grab a stand and the first to grab some sand.
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 11:10 PM

As my dad said to me, years ago, on my first paid gig, and as has been mentioned on here, "Dummy the f*** up." And don't forget, showing up on time is really showing up 15 minutes late, showing up 15 minutes early is being on time. Nothing irks me more than people who are late.
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#6 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 11:19 AM

As my dad said to me, years ago, on my first paid gig, and as has been mentioned on here, "Dummy the f*** up." And don't forget, showing up on time is really showing up 15 minutes late, showing up 15 minutes early is being on time. Nothing irks me more than people who are late.



agreed, but i am totally ok with the director, dp, and producer being late. :D
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#7 Colin Green

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:09 PM

Thanks so much everyone for all your replies! I definitely will be sure to be "the quiet grip" as said earlier, and I am always adamant about showing up early, "if your on time your late, if your early your on time." is absolutely the rule of thumb Adrian haha. And it seems often true that its the quiet, efficient ones who get remembered, rather than the loud ones.

I am relieved that I'm coming on as a rigging grip, so I won't have to deal with any on-set pressure my first time around. I've been on plenty of gigs, but the step up to features is certainly played off as a whole different animal from what I'm told, but I will definitely keep what you said in mind Jon. Gotta treat every job the same way, keep it professional, and keep in mind that your only as good as your last gig.

Thanks so much again guys, your wisdom is EXTREMELY appreciated. I'll post again after the shoot and let everyone know how it went!


All my best,
Colin
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#8 Bob Blankemeier

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 11:58 AM

Just pay attention.

Never complain about doing an order from your key. Just do it. As mentioned above, the quiet guys that work hard always get called back. If you are unsure about doing something, ask someones opinion that you trust before you make a mistake that could cost the crew a lot of time. Do not blurt out to the entire crew your question, they will question your experience. If you are a young gun, act responsible. If they ask you how old you are, tell them your either too old or too young and that is bad for business. Righty tighty lefty loosey. Safety chains.
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#9 David Bowsky

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 01:53 AM

If you are a young gun, act responsible. If they ask you how old you are, tell them your either too old or too young and that is bad for business.


Awesome tips, but could you elaborate on this last bit? I'm probably on the older side for my pro experience level. Went to college as an adult and had a handful of years of day job action before really diving into this as a career. Is there really that much of a perception problem with that sort of thing?
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#10 Hal Smith

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 09:44 AM

When I've had crew working for me (mostly IA Electricians and Stagehands) I've always appreciated crew that keeps their eyes open for potential safety problems. But otherwise the only acceptable answer to a superior's request is "I'll Get Right On It".
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#11 John David Miller

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:39 PM

Come to work ready to work and on time. Turn off your phone. Stay quiet and do what you are told. Ask if you do not know. Wear your tools. Stay off the appleboxes. Do not bug the Key about anything, it's best that you don't talk to him unless he initiates it. Know your knots. Stay away from craft services. Help the BB shut the doors of the truck at wrap. When in doubt grab a ladder or a sandbag. Hope this helps.
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Visual Products

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Willys Widgets

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

Metropolis Post

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport