Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 48 out of 51

  Hi all. I just finished my first week on the new job. As I said on Twitter earlier today, "They didn't fire me yet."  So far, everything is going smoothly, minus the usual first week craziness as the company settles into a rhythm. This job is especially unusual for me. First of all, I'm not the "A" camera dolly grip, or the "B" camera dolly grip. I am the co- Dolly Grip under the "A" Dolly Grip and also the local Best Boy. Let me explain, because this is complicated. The DP on this movie (who is up for an Academy Award this year) has his own dolly grip who travels with him on every show and has for the last twenty or so years, including the movie he did last year in the UK for which he is nominated. This cameraman operates himself and mostly shoots off of a jib arm with a remote head. His Dolly Grip operates the arm while I operate the chassis. There is no "B" camera.  The Key Grip, as well as his Best Boy, has also been with him for many years, and is a highly respected name. He is also old friends with my Key Grip, for whom I have been pushing for many years. This show comes to town. My Key Grips talks to the other Key Grip. I go to work for the new Key Grip who also asks me to put a crew together for him and act as kind of a local Best Boy. Cut to- now when I'm not on the chassis (we also carry a Fisher Eleven for tight quarters, of which there are many) I'm stringing up twelve and twenty-bys and helping coordinate equipment and manpower. And I really enjoy it. The Key and Best Boy are the absolute best, and I am honored to work with them. The crew we have is truly one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of working with. These guys know their stuff, they work their asses off, and never question or complain. And it's nice to not always be on set and also to re-acquaint myself with the nuts and bolts of gripping. It's exhausting and a little bewildering to switch back and forth from set grip to dolly grip as the need arises, but it's a great challenge. And it's also an honor to work with such a well regarded DP. I'm always up for learning new things, and I hope to learn some new skills from all these guys. Many of us tend to work with the same Key Grip or cameraman over and over, so it's always good to get out and see what the other guys are doing. So that's about it for now. The first week was spent in the pouring-down rain and mud, followed by a day of shifting twelve-bys around to block the sun. In between, I worked on some cool shots and had some laughs. I'll have another report in a week or so. Till then, stay safe and work smart.

PS- I have a tradition here of not really ever naming names. It's not that difficult to figure out who I'm talking about, though. Many people have asked how this DP is. Here is an indication: More than once after a shot I've heard him turn to his Dolly Grip, who has been with him for many years and is a great guy, and ask, "What do you think? How was that?" The guy is a gentleman, meticulous about his compositions, and respects his Dolly Grip's opinion.That's how he is. Think about that next time you work with some jackass who treats you like a mindless  cog in his machine. This guy, roundly regarded as one of the best in the world asks his Dolly Grip what he thinks about the shot.


  1. bizonne7:06 AM

    You're with Denis?

    Alain bisson doyal

  2. I am. Denis is great.

  3. bizonne5:04 PM

    Nice! I'm a dolly grip from Montreal Canada, he's one of our great director. Have fun, you are working with a great d.p. he did a film here in the begining of the century, a true gentleman. I was best boy back then, great experience.


  4. bizonne5:05 PM

    Great site by the way.

  5. Thanks, Alain. It's great to have you here. Please don't be shy about speaking up.

  6. Your PS made my day, thanks D. There is nothing better than being included in the creative process, and nothing worse than being treated like crap by some guy that needs a pan-bar to operate a head on a technocrane.
    I have always been curious how he gets his shots, and now I know. Is it a Magnum dolly and a duo-jib?
    Have a great shoot and give Danny a hug for me!

  7. It is a Magnum (love it) and an Aerocrane. I ain't hugging danny but he's doing great. Good to hear from you buddy!

  8. Lorenzo4:21 AM

    Do you still dislike the aerocrane arm?