Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Week

Not much going on in America (or at least LA) this week work wise. I just finished a 6 day commercial so now starts the clock ticking while I watch my accounts dwindle and measure it against the time it takes for commercial checks to come in. I'm making my way through the fantastic second season of Battlestar Galactica. Dan, Wick, and Sanjay have some great comments on the previous post about center-column dollies, something we don't work with very much in the US. I used an Elemack years ago. Great for tight spaces but a heavy, unwieldy machine. Europeans seem to never have lost their taste for them, and I honestly don't know much about them.
All of America is Chapman and Fisher land and private party dollies have never really made inroads here (probably due to the quality control Chapman and Fisher are able to exert by only renting) Years ago, Shotmaker made a splash with the "Blue Eagle " dolly (I think that's what it was called) and was promptly sued by Chapman and gave it up. I would like to see what a private company could come up with to give the Big Two a run for their money. As a believer in the free market, competition would only make things better. The beauty of Chapman and Fisher is that if one of their dollies has a problem, they put a guy on a plane or immediately send a new dolly. That's hard for a retail company to beat when you're out in some swamp somewhere. I've told this story before, but when I was doing a job in Mississippi years ago, the boom on my Hybrid just quit on me. I made a call and a technician was there at midnight. He took the dolly apart on the tailgate at lunch, got it going, and was back on a plane the next morning. On Big Fish, they drove a truck 8 hours from Orlando, spent two hours fixing a problem, and drove home. It's this kind of backup that makes their business work so well.
By the way, someone mentioned that Chapman has some new carbon fiber track. Anyone know anything about it?


Anonymous said...

Hi D, I completely agree with you on the service support part of Chapman. No one can compete with that as a retailer. The reason for owning Panthers etc. (I own 3) is financial. As a grip, I get to own and rent the machine, which enables me to supplement my income as a grip. It is this ownership of equipment that allows many grips outside the US to run their own micro rental companies which then, with quality expertise and equipment can become pretty big. Good examples of these that I know of are Progrip in South Africa, Big Toys in Australia, Chief Grips in the UK and The Grip Works in India.
I get my own gear on all the movies I work on. Dolly, Crane, Remote heads, rigging gear etc.
It makes the movie a whole lot sweeter, and you dont mind the inconvenience of the Panther too much ( make the operator comfortable get the shot) as long as it is contributing to the retirement fund !!

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