Sunday, December 21, 2008

End Of The Year Post

Another year has passed and though I wasn't going to post yet, I'm running on a couple of amaretto and coffees. A storm is brewing outside, and I'm here in Northern California in my Father-in-Law's computer room (what I like to call the "Command Center") It's been a good year for Dollygrippery, but a not so good year for a lot of Dolly Grips in general, what with the Writer's Guild Strike and now the slowdown due to a threatened SAG strike.
Our hits per day have really gone up from a couple of years ago, when , in a boring hotel room in Connecticut, I decided to start a blogsite dedicated to our strange vocation. I'd been on location for weeks in what is arguably the least exciting crossroads in the least exciting part of New England ever settled and just needed something to occupy my mind. So, I sat down and started writing. I had done endless searches on the "Interweb" for anything at all related to our craft and had come up with a few really poorly worded, and a few just flat out wrong, definitions and was determined to start something new. A place where Dolly Grips could log in and pop open a beer and talk some shop. A place where we could help define and quantify the craft we worked so hard to perfect, yet rarely recieved any recognition for. For years I had heard from operators and DP's about how really awful a lot of Dolly Grips were. Guys who were listless, disappeared at every chance, and had no feel for what the camera was seeing. Guys who didn't take the craft seriously, or didn't realize that it was a craft. They just took the spot to get a bump in the rate. And I was tired of getting painted with the same brush every time I worked with someone new. I decided it was time for us to have some sort of community. I was not prepared for the response. I was soon enthusiastically joined by Azurgrip and since then I have met and made friends with Dolly and Camera Grips from all over the world. I've also made friends with other industry bloggers like Michael at Blood, Sweat, and Tedium and the mysterious Script Goddess. A lot of the joy in this has been the realization that we all experience the same things from Saudi Arabia to India. Dolly Grips are a different breed. We love the poetry of a perfect camera move. That thrill that you get when you're able to nail a 5 point dance floor move with two booms and no rehearsals and credit it to experience and hard work because you've put in the time and practice. The symmetry of a precisely recreated dolly move landing on the same word of the same speech of dialogue every time. It's the perfect melding of engineering and artistry. These are things we should get together and talk about. And we should use our time and experience to teach those coming along behind us.
This is starting to sound like a mission statement as delivered by Jerry Maguire, and I don't want to get too self important about it, after all, we're not curing cancer. What we do, though, is a vital part of our industry and it's time we acknowledged that. Camera operators have guilds and Societies, DP's have Associations. Now, we have our own little brotherhood. And I want to extend a welcome to newcomers, and thank those who are regular visitors. Good luck in the new year and thank you for being a part of our little community. Keep it growing.
Happy New Year!
D

3 comments:

Azurgrip said...

I'm sorry that I haven't been around recently, but I feel very lucky to be part of this wonderful website and to be able to share in wealth of information and insight that we've got flowing.

All the best to you and your families this holiday season! Here's to a great 2009!

acraw said...

Hi guys. I've been reading your posts for quite a while but this is the first time I've written to you. Congratulations on accomplishing something that I have felt is necessary for a long time. Dolly grips are in an odd position because, if it's all you do, you rarely get a chance to meet other guys or to see how others solve the problems we all encounter every day. It's really strange to think that while I have my way of doing things that has worked for some time, someone else may have come up with a way of doing the same thing that's easier and faster but I have no way of finding out about it. We are essentially kept from mining the trove of experience we share by the very solo nature of the job.
I agree also that we should be training guys who want to learn. You're right that we're not curing cancer but within our industry it's an important job and a really good dolly grip can contribute a lot while a guy who's not all that interested can make it harder for all of us to be taken seriously. Keep up the good work. I hope everyone has a great Holiday.

D said...

Thanks gentlemen. Glad you spoke up, Acraw. Please feel free to add any tips, questions, etc. that you might have. Sometimes it's hard to tell who's reading because only a few speak up. we're glad you're here.