Sunday, January 01, 2012

This and That

  I'm actually low on ideas for technical posts right now. Over the last four years we've covered just about every imaginable topic you could think of in the field of dollygrippery. The well is dry. Please email me or comment with any ideas you may have or topics you would like to see covered.
   One thing about this business that I've always appreciated is the universality of it. By this I mean that yuou bring a crew of hundreds of people together, many of whom have never met, and because of the traditions, training, and work ethic among most of them the whole thing can function like a machine with very few hiccups. Making a movie is an unbelievable logistical nightmare. That a group of strangers can meet, pull it off, and part as mostly friends amazes me every time it happens. This is true now more than ever as the film business finds itself breaking out of the traditional "shot in LA or New York" mold and is cranking  up in places like Shreveport and Detroit.  As I was loading out dollies for the last show in Atlanta, I attempted to strike up a conversation with an out of town dolly grip who was checking in a dolly behind mine. I could tell immediately that he thought of me as "just another local with a Southern accent who thinks he's a dolly grip."  He shrugged me off and went his way and I'm sure did a great job, but the attitude gave me the idea to just say this: there are good techs everywhere, as well as subpar ones. It's a new business and if you're fortunate enough to be a guest in someone else's town, at least be gracious. That's all I'm going to say about that. Jackass.
   I've got a new blogsite up at It's  mainly just a place to practice and polish up my writing a little. It was inspired by a blog called 365 Jobs, as well as Michael Taylor's blog. Both are so well thought out and beautifully written that they made me want to have a place to work on my skills a little and see what else I could write about. Check it out.
   Like I said before, give me some ideas. I haven't been behind an A camera dolly in five months, so I need a little shove to know which way to go. Maybe I'll get in touch with Larry the Boom Guy. He's always got great ideas for posts. I got nothing but time so help me out.


The Grip Works said...

Beautifully written D ! (@ infrequent writing)

Anonymous said...

I've always been confused why the MovieBird crane has two different sizes per crane, like the 35'/45'. Where as the TechnoCrane will just be one size, like a 30'-Super TechnoCrane. Any idea why this is?

Anonymous said...

What do you think of the Atlanta area for starting out as a grip? I know this might not be the kind of question your looking for but I'm really interested in thes field and all I can find is small no pay gigs.

Anonymous said...

being that you haven't been the A guy for a while now; how do you feel about the B position, and what is your approach?
i guess it differs from crew to crew and even from one individual to another. being the B guy can be one of the more demanding positions in the department in my experience. i personally enjoy the challenge of having to be a dolly grip and a set grip in the same day. on any crew i've worked on the B guy is as much of a grip as anybody else and is not solely tied to the duties of the second camera. there certainly are guys who follow the lead of the B operator and take to lounging whenever they're not actually moving the thing during a take, and there are guys who are right in the thick of it with everybody else. i'd like to know what your B experiences have been like.

Azurgrip said...

Re; Moviebird 35/45

I believe they only do that on one model (35/45) as in it's longest version it has a limited payload, so to compensate, they tie in the last section and are then able to carry a heavier load.

Scorpio does something a little different with actually adding a section to their 30ft + 7ft to gain extra length, but that too is with a lesser payload.

Azurgrip said...

As for playing the B Camera pool. I'm currently on a show as the "B" Dolly Grip. It's a huge show where there can be up to four cameras playing at any moment, but I've also had entire days without a shot.

I won't jump back and forth from the floor to dolly, as in the past I've been caught doing one thing when I needed to be somewhere else. Generally, production should have enough manpower to cover everything. As much as I hate lounging around, I have to look at as - I've worked every "A" camera shot for the last ten plus years - looking over my shoulder to see the B guy sleeping. Now is my turn. However, I'm no sleeping in the truck, I'm there on set. My presence is know. I can hide in plain sight, ready to jump in at anytime.

This show has had ALOT of "A" camera SteadiCam, so even the "A" Dollygrip has had a "break".

D said...

I agree with Azurgrip's comments but I'll add a couple. Jumping in with the boys is fine and when I was younger I did it a lot. The problem is that you can't be two places at once and you will always be needed wherever you arent. Another problem is that production will count you as a hammer, possibly lowering the man-day count for the regular crew, and diminishing your role as a dolly grip. There's nothing wrong with helping out the hammers, but you have to protect the position.

D said...

Also, It's a money thing with the Moviebird. It costs extra to unlock the extra 10 feet, which makes it more versatile. Production only pays for the arm they need, but you have it all available if they need it.