I've been slogging it out on network TV this year. First a pilot for CW, now on a series for NBC. I've encountered a few things:
The pilot had a big name director / producer. I won't mention names, but let's says he's gotten a bunch of TV shows off the ground (all having three letter titles). I pushed B dolly and had him within three feet of me all at time - screaming all the way, thankfully not at me, but at the rest of the crew (DP included). Seems he doesn't really like the whole "film making process...". Nerve wracking to say the least. Oddly enough, this was the second time I've pushed for B camera. I've always pushed A camera, but acknowledge that B camera is certainly a place to cut your teeth and hone your craft. I tip my hat to anyone who is part of a crew and has stayed pushing B.
On my current job, we've brought in a new guy to the crew to push B. He's a competent guy but also new to concentrating on dolly pushing and to the B spot. We've been able to share experiences and I've been able to pass along tips to help him get through this project - number one - don't be bullied into something you can't pull off. Yes, operator comfort is a priority, but at the same time, you have to be able to physically be able to do your job.
The show we're doing is of a CIA agent - so you've got the offices and enclosed spaces to deal with. I'm a big of NCIS and have more respect for the dolly grips on that show for what they've pulled off episode to episode, season after season. Just the amount of coverage in the bullpen alone is mind boggling. I'm hating our set design so much. Lots of glass and reflections for me and the operator to contend with (my op is pulling his hair out!!) We're in "ninja suits" all the time.
Two mechanical things that have come up in our first four weeks of shooting: We've managed to tear off the front corner seat pocket cap on our Hybrid, not once, but twice. Seems the cap is screwed into only an 1/8th of an inch of metal (first time we shot screws into the ceiling). Yes, we were using an seat extension and no, the operator is not a heavy guy. I'm still working with our rental house on this and have put in an email to Chapman.
The replacement chassis groans more than I do. I dread doing dancefloor moves in our studio, as the floors of the warehouse aren't level and I don't always have all eight wheels on the ground. I thought it may have been a loose leg (once again, the front left), but after tightening it still sounds awful. Even now, if a seat is placed in that pocket, then the pocket creaks like a old wooden sailing boat.
We do alot of handheld work and I finally got around to assembling the Mitchell Tractor seat (only to discover two weeks later that Modern now has one). Its been a life saver and the operator loves it.