Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Hybrid Configuration + End of Year What Did We Learn Post

    I learned something interesting on the last show. The A Camera Dolly Grip pushes a Hybrid regularly. He showed me a new way to configure the head that Chapman offers and some of you die hard Hybrid enthusiasts may appreciate if you don't already know about it. It's simply a plate that bolts down in the same place that the regular four-way levelling head does, using the same bolt. The new style Hustler 4 rotating levelling head then attaches to the plate. Rather than an RO on top of the levelling head, giving you five extra inches of height you rarely need, you now can get a little lower than with the old style head. Having not pushed a Hybrid in a while, I hadn't seen it, but it really works great. I will be sure to ask for it next time I use one. I can file this one in my usual end-of- year what did we learn post, which is as follows:

1:You can get by on way less than you think you can.
2: Soft compound tires aren't as bad as I always thought.
3: Take it down a notch.
4: Don't overthink it. (I knew this already. It's actually one of my regular mantras. It bears repeating).
5: You know the front lifting handles built into the Peewee 4? There's a little slice cut out of the inside edge of each side. I know what that's for. (Think old-school low mode).
6: B Camera isn't so bad after all. I got a lot more stuff done.
7:  The replacement value of a short post seat riser is $845.00.
9: You don't really appreciate roundy-round until you don't have it.
10: Let the young guys take the front up the stairs.
11: That thing I said earlier about the new Hybrid config.
12: Being shushed by a  twenty-two year old PA  irritates me a lot more than it used to.

Here's to a great and prosperous New Year! Wishing you all the best. Take care of each other.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


We lost one of our own a couple of weeks ago. Tony Bendt, a Dolly Grip I had known only a few years passed away in his bed in New Orleans while on location. I don't know the details of his passing, and at this point it doesn't really matter. The world's supply of good men is down by one. Much of what I would say has already been said, coincidentally, by Michael Taylor in a post he did a few days ago about a fellow worker dying unexpectedly. I had heard about Tony just the day before reading Michael's post and had to read it twice to be sure he wasn't talking about him. I didn't know him as well as I would have liked, so I'll speak my peace with the few facts I did know and be done with it.
  The one thing I know for sure about Tony Bendt was that he had a talent for making friends. Whenever anyone passes on, it's amazing how many people say that everyone loved him and he brought joy into the world etc. etc.  I always wince a little and wonder how this could possibly be true of everyone who meets an untimely end. Well, if I were interviewed tonight about what Tony Bendt was like, I would say that everyone who met him loved him and he certainly brought a lot of joy to those who knew him. And Tony knew everybody. His ability to make friends struck me the first time I met him, at a gathering of dolly grips a few years ago. I met him, liked him, and a few weeks later received a text from him asking how I was. He would always send me pictures out of the blue. A  few of them are to the right in the picture section of this page. I don't think I ever went more than a couple of weeks after that without receiving a text or a picture or a phone call. He honestly was that way. I don't know how he found the time because, as I said, he knew everybody, and I have to assume that they were all getting texts and calls from him as well. He has a Facebook page and on it I have found the first Best Boy I ever worked with, a DP I've worked with, several Dolly Grips, and a whole network of  people I've heard of, but never met. He also loved this business. When you've been at it as long as most of us have, we tend to find ourselves jaded and disillusioned by the whole process. I never knew him to be that way. He honestly enjoyed his job, and the people around him. He was a good man in a business which sometimes seems short of them. He leaves behind a wife and two children. I pray for them. A blog has been set up for him at tonybendt.blogspot.com. If you knew him, go pay your respects. If you didn't, go and let it inspire you to leave as much of a mark on the people who know you as he did.
Safe travels, Tony. The world is a poorer place without you in it. See you on the other side.......

  Now, life, and business must go on. As most of you know, I let my domain registry expire due to a mixture of laziness, stupidity, and forgetfulness. In my defense, I've had a lot on my plate in the last few months and just let it slip through the cracks. Some company immediately bought it and is now holding it for ransom. It will be back. In the meantime, you can find me here at the Blogspot address.

  The show's over, we bought a new house, and I'm in the process of moving. Not a fun task in the best of times. Oh, I also don't have a job for next year yet. It's very exciting. You didn't come here for news on my personal life, you came here for some tasty Dollygrippery, so here's a rundown of the last job:

Steadicam, Steadicam and more Steadicam. I sit on the truck, help the A camera Dolly Grip lay track, sit on truck some more, surf the internet, move carts, get bored and help grips build 12 x's, sit on truck, do establishing shot. That's pretty much how it went for nine weeks. In the meantime, I made some new friends, worked with a great DP, and reconnected with some old friends. That's really all you can ask for. Til next time, stay safe out there.