CB suggested a post on the contents of our respective kits. Azurgrip and I have actually covered this before, but it was in the infant stages of this site so it's been a while and I doubt if many of you reached back that far to read it.
I'm not very organized. I'll be the first to say it, and my crew will second it (although I've gotten a lot better). My stuff is pretty spread out over two coasts also. My regular Key Grip lives on the East Coast and only ventures to LA when work demands it. He's doing a show in Atlanta right now which I am sitting out, but he keeps most of my stuff on his 48 footer, which means some other guy is using it right now. My favorite level (decorated over a long night years ago with sharpie leopard spots), my beloved Porta Glides (which I am getting rental for), and my various extra bolts, etc. are all out of reach right now so I'm carrying around a rather incomplete package. But generally, this is what I carry:
A 4' level (I also have a 3' that I really like and have here)
Zep Mold Release spray. I call it "that orange crap" when I call for it. I've been using it as track lube for a few years now ever since Chapman started sending it out with their dollies. I used Pledge for years, and a lot of people still do, but I've found this stuff seems to work a little better. You can reach a saturation point with Pledge where it just builds up and doesn't work sometimes no matter how much you spray, the squeak won't come out.
Assorted Chapman bolts of various lengths and aluminum washers. These come in real handy for any dolly rigs you may have to do.
3/8 camera bolts and washers.
Extra bearings for skates.
Castle nut wrench. I rarely use it but I have one.
Daisy chain and caribeaners.
Tent stakes, chalk with these fancy big wooden chalk holders that lumberjacks use (I'm a lumberjack!)
I think I have some beanbag markers but I can't keep up with them.
A couple of 3 and 5 lb shotbags. These come in handy for counterweighting cameras on the tilt plate or for trim weights on cranes. Sometimes they are good for counterweighting on Hotgears, which everyone seems to want to use instead of a proper remote head nowadays.
They're not mine, but I always have some Modern camera support rod rigs (you know, the heads and recievers that fit on the rods.)
Cloth diapers or towels, for when the operator spills his coffee.
Umbrella offset adapter
Cupholder. This one rarely makes an appearance. Generally, if the DP or operator asks if I have one I deny it unless I really like them. It just takes up a seat hole and I'm not running a deli cart.
I usually have some showercaps for the seats, but these may or may not make an appearance, depending on me remembering to ask the Best Boy to pick them up.
30' tape measure. I lose tape measures like they're giving them out by the dozen, so most shows buy me one at the beginning, although I have managed to hold onto this one for a while.
That's pretty much it. Most of it stays in a partitioned crate that is fastened to the top of the wedge-em-up bucket.
As far as what production expects me to bring, I can't say that I've ever been expected to bring anything. A level and a tape measure are the basics and most (or every) Key Grip has those anyway, so even if I didn't bring my stuff, it wouldn't be a big deal. I don't own a headset although I keep a walkie on the dolly.
I have few hard and fast rules, but here are a couple: One seat on the dolly. The really good AC's don't need to ride every shot and in fact rarely will except under special circumstances. If they ask to for a particular shot, I will always help them out, but it rarely comes up. No seat offsets. I hate (I'm using the word hate
about a seat offset) seat offsets. They're stupid and needless. I managed to make it many years without ever using one until the show in Boston and a special occasion called for it. It gave me a rash. I don't put any sideboards on until they're needed. I don't automatically put the left one on in the morning. They get in the way, they're a hazard. If they need one, I'll get it. The operator just sitting on the dolly isn't helpless and if he's properly centered on the dolly, he doesn't need it. These are just things I've developed over the years for myself. I'm sure you all have your own little quirks that I would love to hear.