Saturday, February 10, 2018

2018 Motion Picture Moving Camera Platform Lifetime Achievement Award

  Can we just call it the Dolly Grip Award already?

  Anyway, my old friend Danny Pershing  (Django Unchained, Eat, Pray, Love, Baby Driver, Hateful 8, Iron Man, ok, I give up) just won the lifetime achievement award from the SOC. It's one of the few arenas where the contributions of the Dolly Grip is recognized by our industry. Recent winners include: Brad Rae, Mike Moad, And Moose Schultz.
  I've known Danny for over twenty years. He is one of a kind. I have a story. Years ago Philippe Rousselot called me to Key a commercial for him in Los Angeles. I had been Philippe's Dolly Grip on several movies and he trusts me. I told him, " I'm not a Key Grip, but I'll do my best." Anyway, I knew I needed a good Dolly Grip to come in because there was a lot of crane and jib work and I wanted to concentrate on the lighting with Philippe and not deal with camera.. Without hesitation, the first name I thought of was Danny, and surprisingly he was available. I then proceeded to micromanage him to the point where I finally pulled him to the side and apologized. I said, "Danny, the last person you need telling you how to do this job is me. I'm sorry, I'm just nervous because it's Philippe." Danny was so gracious and handled it so much better than I probably would have and that's one of the reasons he deserves this award. He is quite literally the best in the business. I'm proud to call him a friend and so proud of him for this much delayed recognition,
   Thank you Danny. I've learned so much from you over the years. Your patience and good attitude has been a template for me to follow for over twenty years. Congratulations.

And now a word from Bill Pope.




https://www.facebook.com/dan.pershing.14/videos/10216129735015734/

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Freelancing

  I did a post a few years ago called Freeballing which talked about freeform finding a shot when they don't really know what they want. This happens when you usually have a montage piece and you find shots as they happen. I recently (last night) had a chance to revisit this situation and as it turns out, had a lot of fun doing it. This is literally when you as a dolly grip get a chance to be creative and, if you're experienced, know what they might need in editing and can deliver. The setup was a mission control type room with a main character facing a huge screen. We had a technocrane swooping around over the various desks and my camera on a stabilized head "mowing the lawn" in front of him. As the scene unfolded, my main job was to stay out of the crane shot and keep them out of my shot on a longer lens. The instructions from the DP were to travel in on an angle and then travel out on a mirror angle. as this happened, and the crane shot changed, I had an opportunity to find shots. If the crane camera was on the right side of frame, I decided to give them a left to right tighter shot, which I knew they didn't have yet.have but would be valuable. Although the DP or operator hadn't really given me instructions, I saw an opportunity and took it. After we cut and moved on, the DP came up and said, "That was crafty." I said , "Crappy?" and he said ,"No, crafty." And I knew I did the right thing. This reinforced to me the importance of experience for a dolly grip. I knew what they didn't have already, but would probably need and gave it to them.
  I work in a boom town. Production in Atlanta has increased tenfold from what it was when I started here thirty years ago when we had one series and one feature a year. Now, if you do a season of  "B" camera on a series and know how to put the sideboards on, you're a "dolly grip." Forget that you don't understand editing, or eyelines, or crane placement. None of that matters anymore until you don't understand the shot and five takes in, you still can't get it. As dolly grips we are more than just some monkey who moves the camera from one place to another. Often, as was proven last night, it's up to us to give them what they need. If you don't know what they need you can't give it to them.

   It all comes back to what we have been harping on for over ten years on this page: Learn your craft. This job is a craft and it's up to you to learn it.

Learn your craft.