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New to gripping and looking for answers.


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#1 Aaron Lussier

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 10:51 AM

Greetings to all,

I have been a lover of movies for as long as I can remember. I love watching movies, I love talking about movies, and most importantly I love making movies.

Recently my sister and her fiancée have made the decision to go to school in Pomona, California. This affords me an opportunity not normally available, the ability to be near and hopefully work in and around the movie making capital of the world. As this is now the case in my life, I come to this forum of experienced film makers with several questions that will hopefully help me with the concerns that I have with jumping in to a very volatile industry.

I recently got to work on my first SAG low budget feature and it was an eye opening experience. I worked with the Grip and Electric department and from what I have seen this is what I want to do. During my time on set I had time to watch and learn about how a real, albeit small, movie set works. I definitely want to focus my energy in to Grip department, my ultimate goal right now is to work my way to Dolly grip. Being the one responsible for the camera movements seems so awesome to me.

My first set of questions is about experience. I have not gone to film school, nor do I have a lot of experience, however I do have the drive and the passion to succeed. I believe not wanting to be a Director/Writer/Producer/Cinematographer will help in this matter.

- Will I be able to find work with little to no grip experience?
- Will drive and passion to help me find jobs?
- Is it a good idea to work for free to start out and then start charging?

My next set of questions is in regard to unions. Most of the people on the set I worked on were working as freelancers. I know that there are various unions in and around Hollywood.

- Should I try working as a freelancer, or is joining a union a better way to find jobs?
- Does anybody have experience in union dealings?
- Do they have unions for Grip workers?

On the set I worked on there seemed to be a few tools that were invaluable to the grips I was working with, such as; 8in Adjustable wrench, multi tool, Box cutter, Needle nose pliers, Flashlight, Gloves, 3/16 speed wrench, small clippers, and obviously a tool belt to hold it all. Is there anything else I need to purchase to have all the proper tools needed?

Thank you for your time

Aaron
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#2 Jeremy M Lundborg

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 04:03 PM

Aaron,

There are many levels of production, many of which would be so happy to have someone who is willing to just work hard, even if they don't have tons of experience.

If you haven't already gone out and found random work since your post, I'd recommend lending your services to projects on Mandy.com and craiglist. I know you mentioned Pomona, which is a bit of a drive from central LA, but lots of productions take place in and around LA so you shouldn't have a problem. If it's a trek for you day to day, ask for a bit gas money to make the call in lieu of an absent day rate.

See what you can get online. Some shoots offer money, some don't. The best thing is to be on set and meet people, making connections for future projects where you may be offered a day rate.

I cannot answer your questions about Unions but you can take a look at the Local 80 site
http://www.iatseloca...al_80/Home.html
Lots of great info in there that can surely help you get started.

Edited by Jeremy M Lundborg, 30 November 2010 - 04:04 PM.

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#3 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 08:06 PM

I wrote a book precisely to answer these kinds of questions. In addition to "What I Really Want to Do: On Set in Hollywood" chapters one through five plus chapters 27, 28, and 29 in addition to the Camera and Electric chapters, I'd suggest:

http://www.amazon.co...91165535&sr=8-1
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#4 JD Hartman

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 09:33 AM

Keep it simple. How much speed rail do you think you'll be assembling on a given shoot? Skip the speedwrench, a metric and a fractional folding allen wrench set is more useful. If you're carrying a box cutter, needle nose pliers, diagonal cutting pliers and adjustable wrench, what does the multi-tool do for you? Dump it. Add a four-way screwdriver, like: http://www.homedepot...catalogId=10053
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#5 Hal Smith

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:27 AM

You can't go wrong with any tool that says "Klein" on it.
For a multi-purpose screwdriver I recommend their 10 in 1. Usually available for around $12 or so. It'll handle #1 and 2 Phillips, small and medium straight blade, two sizes of square drive, and two sizes of Torx screws plus 1/4" and 5/16" hex head fasteners.

For a box knife, look for the Stanley snap off point knife that has a thumb screw to lock the blade firmly in position. It's a bit rare but they can be found.

I'll disagree with JD about multi-tools. There's nothing handier to have in your kit than a multi-tool when you need to climb up on a scaffold or the like to do something simple. I prefer the $100 or so Gerber's that have blades that lock in position. (Do you sense a pattern here? :-)
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#6 John David Miller

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 01:17 AM

A toolbelt that an "A List" 1st. unit grip wears contains these items:

It starts with the belt. Some prefer a padded belt
http://www.filmtools...lt-1004-ar.html

others are oldschool and like leather

1 - 10 or 14 ounce Stiletto titanium hammer
http://www.northernt...57778_200357778

The hammer pouch should also have two slots to keep nails. Set grips carry just a small handful of Doublehead (duplex) #8 and doublehead #16 nails on them.

1 - 30' Tape measure
Some tape pouches have a place to hold a sharpie or chalk holder for marking.

1 - Small utility pouch
http://www.setwear.c...ightPouch5.html
You don't need anything bigger than this on set.

1 - 6" Klein crescent wrench
http://www.platt.com...aspx?zpid=31340
This will open up just as wide as a standard 8" made by crescent

1 - Knipex pliers
http://www.google.co...ed=0CGIQ8wIwAg#
Lite, open wide, excellent grip on both flat and round surfaces.

1 - 6in1 Screwdriver
Here
The two size nut drivers are handy for hex head tek screws.

1 - Klein Side Cutters (Dykes)
[url="http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.transnet.co.nz/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/D/2/D228-8.JPG&imgrefurl=http://www.transnet.co.nz/application-tooling/cable-cutters-strippers/1ea-klein-diagonal-side-cutters-8&usg=__Bp4rHS9QlT4g94mwl7VY5axy-NQ=&h=600&w=800&sz=33&hl=en&start=3&zoom=1&itbs=1&tbnid=OzV9GRZw79a-iM:&tbnh=107&tbnw=143&prev=/search%3Fq%3DKlein%2BSide%2Bcutters%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26biw%3D1003%26bih%3D594%26tbm%3Disch%26prmd%3Divns&ei=YngFTu32FI30tgPnjanFDQ"]Here
These will a DH #16 like butter without damaging the tool. Gripchain...no problem.

1 - 9/16" Ratcheting Wrench
http://www.google.co...ed=0CDAQ8wIwAw#
This size is industry standard for camera bolts.

1 - Low Profile 3/16" Allen Drive (Speedwrench)
http://www.filmandvi...steqspwr3a.html
The low profile is good to get into tight spots on car rigs.

1 - Matte Knife
http://www.google.co...PNom2sAPl7tnYDQ
The quick release is nice.

1 - A cool pocket knife
Look at Benchmade or Spiderco for examples

1 - Roll, 2" Photo Black Paper Tape

1 - Roll, Electrical Tape
Great for mousing up chain vise grips. NEVER use your paper tape on speedrail.

1 - Pen, don't bug the BB for one to do paperwork.

1 - Sharpie, MarksALot, or Lumber Crayon

1 - Small notepad.

A few clothespins or binderclips and maybe a #1 handy clamp or two.

Some guys will carry gloves, but not many.

This is it. Anything more and you are carrying un-needed weight. Keep it lite, save your back. You are a grip...not a setcart.

Edited by John David Miller, 25 June 2011 - 01:19 AM.

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