Those of you finding this by searching for "Dolly grip job description" should see my post http://www.dollygrippery.com/2010/01/dolly-grip-job-description.html.
I'm not really in the mood to write anything but I know I need to so here goes:
The story has been floating around the business for years that Dolly Grips may be/should be/will be absorbed into the camera dept. I've heard it from operators, ACs, Key Grips, and even a gaffer or two. First of all, let's get the obvious out of the way. It makes sense from a camera standpoint. We tend to work more closely with those guys than we often do with our own. We rig the cameras, carry the cameras, level the cameras, even carry a case or two if we really like them. Operators slap us on the shoulder and say things like,"You really made that shot," or "You are a camera operator too." (Too bad we don't get paid like one). They even have their loaders bring us coffee. Most of us even know where the camera is going before we place it. I turned it into a game a few years ago to see how close I could line up the camera to it's final frame before the DP looked through it. As the years went by, my average got better and better.
Having said all that, I think it's a bunch of hot air. We're too firmly entrenched in the Grip dept for it to ever work. With all the rigging we have to do, we'd have to come up through the Grip dept anyway. I guess that's the only way it ever could work. You slave in the trenches until you get enough credits/experience to make the jump and then plunk down your money for a camera guild card. Techno techs already do something like this anyway.
I don't know the specifics of why or how the Dolly Grip started in the Grip Dept but I have a theory. In the old days (30's and 40's) cameras and dollies were monstrous. Moving the camera involved not just brute strength, but a good bit of ingenuity, both traditionally the areas that Grips excelled in. They started there and, as equipment got lighter and more versatile, they stayed there. Now, there's a new crane to learn how to put together or operate or a new dolly to master every year it seems. More is expected of Dolly Grips than ever before from the camera dept. I think MTV started it.. Back in the day, camera moves seemed to be more effective and made a bigger impact because they were used more sparingly. It was a bigger deal to move the thing. You got a push in here or a lateral track there complemented by a big crane shot every now and then. Now, we're constantly swooshing and pushing in and turning the camera upside down and flying it over trees and any other place they can think of to stick it. And we deliver. Unfortunately, our pay (or status) hasn't gone up as much as the demand. So we're stuck in the neutral zone between two departments. Our heart belongs to one, while our brain belongs to another. Anyway, these are just idle musings on my part while I kill time to the next epic. When I'll start the swooshing and pushing and upside down over the trees crane swishing (I hope).
So what do you guys/girls think? Would it be a good idea?