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Grip Certifications


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#1 Joe Fugallo

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 12:17 PM

Hello,
I am currently a film student at Full Sail University and I was wondering what certifications,training, books,or workshops would one take if they were looking to be a sufficiently skilled and knowledgeable grip on set. i.e. rig a flyswatter, condor rigging or operation or safety courses that would be good to have under your belt.
Thanks for you're time and I sincerely appreciate any advice or response!

-Joe
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 09:06 AM

Not sure those things exist. As far as I know, the only grip "certification" that exists is the good word of a reputable key grip.
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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 09:45 AM

In the UK the grips now need the NVQ qualification. Here, they operate the dolly and cranes rather than rig flags etc, I know one experienced grip who couldn't get work because he didn't have the qualifications. It's a health and safety issue.
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#4 Joe Fugallo

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 02:15 PM

What about work shops or training? aside from film school
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#5 Toby Orzano

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 07:27 PM

What about work shops or training? aside from film school


put the name out there and ask around and get on a feature as a swing or grip intern. it'll probably be low or no pay but you will learn so much more than you would in any workshop that you have to pay for. while on set, be honest about what you do and don't know. people will be far more tolerant of the mistakes you will make (it happens to everybody) if you demonstrate an active willingness to learn than if you pretend that you know it all and screw up. also, don't just make contacts with other grips, make friends. Work hard, ask questions, make friends. That's the way to start getting work.
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#6 robert duke

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 08:02 PM

Local 80 offers classes for members, and Contract services has classes that are required to work as a grip on a studio lot. Local 80 is legally the only grips allowed to rig Fly swatters and lights in Condors. ( grips every where still do it). local 80 has an agreement with JLG and Genie, which is covered in the condor rigging class for grips from contract services. If an accident was to happen you can be found at fault. the class covers specific condors which are approved for use and wind/weight restrictions.
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#7 Joe Fugallo

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 10:41 PM

Thank you Toby and Robert, I appreciate the response and the advice I will definitely look into the local 80 workshops and interning as a grip or swing. I work on the grip and gaff team a lot on student 16 and 35mm features at my college currently but I will look into more larger scale shoots.
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#8 Tom Jensen

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 01:12 AM

Believe me, if a grip holding a grip clip asks you to take the grip test and tells you to hold your thumbs together, don't take it.
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#9 Joe Fugallo

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 08:11 AM

Hahaha yeah I got the grip test on my first shoot, I learned the grip test trick and to never grab or pass a C-stand with your fingers under the long arm hahaha
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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 11:28 AM

What's this gripping NVQ about then?

P
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#11 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 01:54 PM

What's this gripping NVQ about then?

P


Here's the Skillset link to the NVQ: http://www.skillset....icle_2002_1.asp

Speaking to a Grip who does some NVQ instructing, they seem to be very hot on the safety aspects of operating and rigging the cranes.
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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 02:43 PM

I hope this doesn't mean I've just become uninsurable to push a dolly...
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#13 Chris Keth

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 04:51 PM

Thank you Toby and Robert, I appreciate the response and the advice I will definitely look into the local 80 workshops and interning as a grip or swing. I work on the grip and gaff team a lot on student 16 and 35mm features at my college currently but I will look into more larger scale shoots.


Step one: Quit calling it the gaff team. There is one gaffer, one best boy electric, and a few, several, or many set electricians. Collectively, they are set lighting or electric.
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#14 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 02:47 AM

I hope this doesn't mean I've just become uninsurable to push a dolly...


From what I gather, it seems to be something that the big productions are looking for these days. I expect it would be the higher risk camera rigs and the crane work that the insurance companies would get excited about rather than pushing a dolly. The dolly being such a broad church of wheeled objects.
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#15 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 06:06 AM

I seem to recall a couple of years ago when the Jem Morton Diva Posse (as they're known, to me at least) were making a fuss about this in a BECTU camera branch meeting; I wonder if this is the upshot of it. My concerns at the time were that they seemed to be much more interested in narrowing the field of employees and cutting people out of work, more than making anything safer.

I wonder who controls the qualification.
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#16 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 07:58 AM

I wonder who controls the qualification.


I suppose, in the end, the grips because they're involved in setting out the course. However, I don't see anything wrong with people being qualified as long as entry is open to people wanting to take the qualification to become a grip, rather than a closed shop.
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#17 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 10:09 AM

If you look at the course notes you'll notice that the assessment is "on the job" and by a member of the gripping fraternity, so it is a closed shop.

Well done Jem, that's exactly what you wanted all along...

Grah.

P
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#18 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 11:02 AM

I'm not sure who else is going to instruct trainees about a grip's job other than qualified grips. It's pretty standard training for most other industries. The main issue being that you need to be based in London to get the NVQs, which could be a problem if you're already experienced working as a grip elsewhere, not in the other grips stopping someone in this position getting the NVQ.

You used to be able to work your way the NVQ paperwork once you'd proved that you've done a particular aspect of a job, now the scheme is more established that may be more difficult.
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#19 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 11:05 AM

Precisely.

Somehow I suspect nobody will be getting this NVQ who hasn't already had the unofficial nod from some grip who's got delusions of grandeur, which of course will be difficult if you aren't one of the boys.

Sorry, I just can't stand all this thinly-veiled job protectionism - and I'm unlikely to be directly affected by it.
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#20 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 12:47 PM

Sorry, I just can't stand all this thinly-veiled job protectionism - and I'm unlikely to be directly affected by it.


That's the nature of the film & TV industry anyway, regardless of how open it tries to be, you've got to have or have made the right contacts. Basically, it's no different to quite a few other industries and professions.
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