I'm a little short on time, and inspiration this week. 14 hour days, midnight company moves, wife out of town, and three dogs to care for (one is 15 and can no longer make it out the door, so he leaves me a little surprise every night), have all made finding time to post a little hard. I went back through the archives and found this one. Since we've had some search hits for "grip description" it might be appropriate. My firm belief is that you have to put in a fair amount of time as a set grip before you can be an effective Dolly Grip. All of us on this site have spent many a night hauling sandbags and setting flags before we moved on to pushing dolly. A good Dolly Grip can work a set with the best of them. Here are a few tips to help those of you still in the trenches.
First posted 11/17/07. New comments added.
Someone contacted me recently and suggested I write a post on basic Gripping. Here are some tips:
Righty tighty, lefty loosey This one should be on a t-shirt. It's the Cardinal Rule. Learn it. It comes up a lot.
If they ask for a double, bring a single too.
When you set a 4x4 outside, use a combo stand.
When you set a flag, put the big leg under the weight.
When you set diffusion, fill the frame.
Put the diffusion at the angle of the light.
It will always start raining at wrap.
If you tie a 12x12 off to a sandbag cart, turn it sideways to the rag.
Gel closest to the light, then diffusion. In my original post, I got a comment from a grip who took offense at this one. He said he always puts the gel outside the diffusion and gave some lame ass reason for it. I took it easy on him. I shouldn't have. Gel goes before diffusion. Every experienced Set Grip knows this. So shut it. The other grips are laughing at you.
Bfl (big f#$%^g light), big f#$%g flag. One of the hardest things for me to figure out when I was a young grip was which sized flag to bring. In time, you'll get it. Generally, though, make the flag size correspond to the light size.
When laying track, level is good, getting the bumps out of the joints is better. If the track is consistent, the Dolly Grip can level it on the head. He can't correct for a huge bump in the seam though.
Always, ALWAYS bring everything. I'm guilty of breaking this one. It always bites me in the ass. Whatever you don't have is the first thing they'll ask for. To this one I'll add, Bring the Luma Beams.
If you bring a half-apple, also bring two quarters (and maybe a pancake).
Know your knots (clove hitch, bowline, truckers hitch, bohemian lesbian death hitch).
The "board stretcher" does not exist.
Neither does the "air hook."
"T-stops" are not in the jockey box (they are usually in the workbox, second drawer down).
If you keep two seats on the dolly, you are a chump. To this I'll add, to all you new Dolly Grips: If your focus puller needs to ride every shot, he's a moron. He's not the only one being taken for a ride. Miss your mark by six inches. Re-mark it.
The operator does not always need a sideboard. Don't just put it on there at the beginning of the day. Please.
Seat offsets are for the weak-minded. Apologies to certain Dolly Grips whom I really admire.
Always look at the set from where the camera is, it's all that matters.
Never fall asleep on an 8-step ladder. I did this one time. It wasn't pretty. I woke up on the way down.
Safety everything. It will fall. It will hit Katherine Heigle on the head. You will get fired.
Keep an extra jacket on the truck. It will always get colder than you think it will. Few things are more emasculating than wearing a fellow grip's jacket. Unless you're a female grip.
If you have a question, or don't know how to do something, ASK. I get it. You're 22 and you don't want to look like you don't know something. I've been there. Trust me, everyone knows you're 22. They expect you to be respectful, keep your mouth shut, and your ears open. They will bury you. It will hurt.
As my friend Ted says, never be afraid to break something. Ted's a Rigging Key. He hangs thousands of pounds over poeple's heads.
Those are all I can think of for now...oh yeah, Murphy's Law applies more in this business than any other...if it can go wrong, it will. Never take anything for granted.
I still go back and set grip in between shows sometimes. It's good for the soul and makes me feel 22 again. (OK, it didn't hurt this much then, but you know what I mean).