Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010- What We Learned

"You shouldn't use the sun as a sightline. It will move."
                          - Day player to me earlier this year as I was working out a crane shot.

   2010 was a big year both personally, and at work. Our family lost a Mother, and gained a son, both within a week of each other. Work- wise, it was very busy. I did two series and a feature. Here's what I learned:

1. Although I am philosopically against cup holders on the dolly (that's all I need, one less seat receptacle and something else to lose just so you can have a place to put your coffee), a bicycle style one zip tied to the push bar is fine and completely unobtrusive. I take mine black.

2. When it comes to technocranes, the right tech is the difference between pass and fail. I knew this already, but it was reiterated on a very long day this year)

3. Keep extra wheel clips in the work box. The Hustler cart does a number on them.

4. In cold climates, be sure to run out the arm, and plug in the dolly at wrap or in the morning it's "No boom for you!"

5. Having a list of good Dolly Grips in your phone is invaluable. Unfortunately, they are always working.

6. Computers should have breathalyzers that you have to pass before you can get on the internet.

7. I need bigger cabinets for all the metal water bottles I now get as wrap gifts.

8. 1x8 dance floor pieces come in handy. Always cut one.

9. Don't lock yourself onto track if you can help it, or get away with it. Again, reiterated.

10. Soap works as well on dance floor as powder, and doesn't leave a mess. In fact, theoretically, it should clean it!

11. Luvs and Huggies leak. Pampers don't.

12. I don't let my friends know enough how much I appreciate them. Aww.

13. Cheaper ain't usually better.

14. When in doubt, use the force. It's better than the monitor.

15. Don't let well-meaning DPs who are used to working with crappy Dolly Grips talk you out of what you know. I love ya, but let go of my ears. I know what I'm doing.

16. If you convince said DPs to do it your way, you better damn well be right. I was.

Thanks to all of you for a great year and your inspiration and suggestions. Have a great New Year!


The Grip Works said...

"You shouldn't use the sun as a sightline. It will move." ... and make you blind !

Cheaper ain't usually better. ... keep trying to make producers understand this when I negotiate my rate ... the cheaper I get the worse I get :-)

Luvs and Huggies leak. Pampers don't. ... something all good dolly grips need to remember !!

Happy new year D, and thanks again for Dollygrippery!!

GHB said...

Once again, freaking genius!

Couldn't have said any of it better myself and as sad and selfish as it may seem, it's so reassuring to know there are people out there who share my pain and can be in on the inside jokes that we as lonely dolly grips experience on a daily basis. Thank you for this fraternity.

All I can add is:

Always lay extra track at both ends (unless it's in the shot).

Actors never hit their marks.

Always make the dance floor much bigger than it has to be (unless it's in the shot).

Actors never hit their marks.

Whether they're in the stupid cup holder or on the chassis, always make the Camera Operator throw out his coffee cups when he goes home for the night. If he doesn't, make the 2nd A.C. do it. You don't work for either of them and the cleaning staff is on vacation. If they keep neglecting this action, move the operator's half-full coffee cup onto the A-Camera cart right next to his jacket. Makes a nice mess when the cart is pushed over a cable cross-over!

Strive to be good at what you do and stand up for yourself in this business. It's agonizingly cut-throat sometimes.

Thanks for this site, D! Makes me smile every time I log on.

And I must be drunk or just too busy wishing I was, but I don't think I congratulated you and your lady on the addition to your family. All the best, my friend.

Nathan said...

Whether they're in the stupid cup holder or on the chassis, always make the Camera Operator throw out his coffee cups when he goes home for the night.

And, for Pete's sake, make sure it makes it all the way to an actual trash can; I don't work for either of them or you. :D (If you wanna be really thoughtful, pour the leftover coffee down a drain before you toss the cup in the trash. It sucks trying to move those bags with a gallon of liquid in them.

In return, I promise to try my best to only send you to locations with elevators and/or really short/wide stairs!

D said...

Sanjay- Exactly. I just rolled my eyes and ignored it. Diapers are really important to us both right now.

GHB- Great add ons! Always good to hear from you. I hope you and yuour family are well. I do the same thing with the coffee cups. It puts a stop to it.

Nathan- Guilty as charged. i don't always empty the cups. I will from now on!

The Grip Works said...

Nathan - great to hear another perspective. We moan about our problems, sometimes its good to get a reality check on the problems we create for others :-)

Also guilty of the coffee cups ... also plan to now empty them out now !

A good location crew can mean the difference between a great experience and a miserable one.

Nathan said...

In all fairness, I must admit, nowadays, I "have people" for that stuff. Rank has its privileges.

A couple of years ago, my Unit P.A. came inside from a pouring rain after collecting all of the trash bags left when the trucks pulled away. Looking like a drowned rat, she said, "We should really hire someone to do the crap jobs".

I just kinda looked at her.

Michael Taylor said...

Sounds like you had a very intense year, D -- birth, death, and a full plate riding the Hollywood roller coaster. From what I've gleaned reading this site, you handled it all with the smooth competence we've come to expect from a first class dolly grip -- making it look easy when it's anything but.

Here's to you, and all your readers, having a great 2011.

PS: great story, Nathan...

A.J. said...

I always seem to miss the days they're handing out the metal water bottles, so if you're ever looking for a good home for one of them... :)

And Happy New Year to you too!

D said...

Michael- Thanks for the kind words.
AJ- My next one's yours.

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