Recently, our show had a "double up day." For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it just means a separate unit is formed using whichever DP is off that week and they shoot scenes from an earlier episode that we didn't get to. It's not really a second unit, but rather an alternate 1st unit. Anyway, the Dolly Grip we brought in is an old friend and a really good Dolly Grip. We got to talking and he brought up an issue we've all had to deal with- picking up after yourself. He said he had worked with a crew recently who refused to help him keep up with his parts. To the point of being forbidden to help him by the department heads. We've all dealt with this to one degree or another. The bottom line is, we don't always have time to run back behind and pick up all the low modes, risers, lifting handles, etc that we set to the side as we're working. We try, but sometimes it's impossible. Our day consists of an endless rotation of watching rehearsals, getting marks, laying track, shooting, and doing it all over again. There's barely even enough time to take a leak before the next marks are being laid down. Dolly equipment is grip equipment, that's why it rides on the grip truck. Why a crew would create such a frictional situation is beyond me. We depend on the guys to help us keep up with the two dollies and carts worth of gear we have to lug around and use. If there happens to be a shot on sticks, or something besides a dolly, I'll usually scout around and try to round up my parts, but this is a rare occurance. It's completely unreasonable to ask the one guy who never gets a break, who's always behind camera while the other guys are sitting at the carts, to also be solely responsible for everything associated with the dollies. If you're a department head who takes this position, you're being ridiculous. There just isn't time. And you try telling the DP that you can't get marks right now because you have to go back and find your seat riser. Now, that being said, this is where a B Camera Dolly Grip becomes invaluable. It kind of falls to him, since his dolly doesn't usually work every shot, to assist the A Camera Dolly Grip in keeping up with his stuff and helping move it to the next location. I don't think this is originally how this was meant to turn out (I work with some B Camera Dolly Grips whose A Camera resumes would put mine to shame) it just logically evolved to that point. I did it for years, schlepping the dance floor out of the house at wrap while the A Dolly Grip drank a frosty beer on the truck. It's just part of the deal. So guys, give us a break, we're counting on you.
PS- Before the comments start rolling in, I want to qualify the preceding post by saying that this is not an excuse to be lazy. I try to keep up with everything and always attempt to put a piece aside where I can easily remember it and throw it on the dolly as I'm moving to the next location. I am notorious (or used to be, I'm actually much better now) for misplacing or forgetting parts so I've had to learn to be extra careful in putting them in easy to spot places rather than just flinging them wherever it's convenient- that's not fair to the rest of the crew. They have other work to do also besides picking up after the Dolly Grip. They don't mind helping, the good ones understand our predicament. But it's unreasonable to ask them to go on a scavenger hunt after every set-up. I'm just saying....it goes both ways. Be considerate or you may find yourself spending hours looking for that 12" riser on your own.