Hi everyone. I just got in from a freezing night in a canyon where I didn't have phone service. Thanks everyone for your comments. GHB- Nailed it as usual. Great insights. Southern Grip- Just cracks me up. Thanks for dropping in but you might want to check your caps lock. Acraw- Always has something good to say. It's great to have one of the masters on here (yes I know who you are). I know I've sounded really...cynical about my show and some of it is just exhaustion. I don't want everyone to get the idea that it's just drudgery though. I am working with a guy whom I consider to be just a phenomenal operator. He really is one of the best and we work really well as a team. The DP and Key Grip are also the tops and I couldn't ask for better. Most of the problems come from higher up the chain and just make everything harder. Top that with a lot of night work and a sub standard cable rate and I tend to get a little...crabby.
A lot of my posts arise from seeing something that makes me think of something else or reminds me of a situation I have dealt with in the past, such as the AC who wants to ride every shot etc. I got an email from an AC who took me to task a little about that post. I didn't mean that the AC should never ride. Every shot is different and sometimes there's no other way. It's the ones who want to sit on the dolly on a 24 mm with a 6' push who get my dander up. Sometimes the operator has to walk a shot. I just don't like it when they do it when they really don't need to.. A big part of my job is to make it possible for them to effectively do their job. It's when they unnnecessarily make my job harder that things start to break down. Oh yeah, Sanjay, I got your email and answered it but I don't know if it went through from where I was. Thanks for the tip. Allright guys, I'm turning in. Got another freezing night ahead of me, only this time it's really supposed to rain. Great.
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D, thank you for the kind words, but I am truly just another guy who is trying to do the best job I can and who gets a certain amount of satisfaction in a job well done, as I'm sure all of us do or we wouldn't be visiting this site. I think there's tremendous value in your insights for all of us in that we all work at a pretty solitary job. The only people who can really relate to the challenges we face from day to day are other dolly grips or those who have been dolly grips in the past. Each of us has our way of dealing with things but I think we too are always looking for better solutions. I often find myself wondering how other guys deal with the riding camera assistant or the key grip who would rather have his guy on the dolly or who knows what. And that's what I love about this site. Thank you.
I have worked with a very few assistants who want to ride all the time--one who would sit on the side of the dolly and drag his feet as the dolly was moving. I got very frustrated with him and finally one day simply told him to get his f****ing feet off the ground. He never did it again. I find that ususlly in this situation, the operator can be your best ally because he normally doesn't want anything on the dolly that will interfere with your ability to do the shot and another guy sitting there makes it harder to see, harder to move and harder to stop in the right place. Also, keep the second seat far away. Keeping it on the dolly is an invitation.
Also, I have seen dolly grips constantly put the chassis right where the assistant needs to stand and if you do this, you're asking for the guy to hop on and ride and also teaching him some bad habits.
Thanks as well, D. I'm doing what I can to contribute positively to this site. I really enjoy it and I think it's an asset to us all. Even if sometimes it is just the comfort that someone else out there is feeling my pain on these common subjects.
As far as assistants, walking...It's been my experience that the really great focus pullers only ride when it's appropriate for the shot. The really great ones also want to walk right next to the camera, right at the film plane, where they should be and I do whatever I can to make sure that the chassis is out of their way and they can look where they need to and not down to see if I'm gonna run over their feet. I also love working with the focus pullers that respect you so much as a dolly grip that they assume you're always gonna be on your mark and they never throw down a piece of tape. Those guys always get the extra special attention when they need it. There ain't many of them out there.
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