Becoming a Grip: Everything You Need to Know

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

A version of this article appears on Assignment Desk

Pro sports shoots are always fun to be a part of. Especially when you get to be in the same room interviewing your favorite athletes! Assignment Desk Camera Operator and Grip Paul Critzman III was lucky enough to work as a grip on a pro sports feature interview. Critzman has several tips to share on what makes a good grip.

What Does Being a Grip Entail?

In this position, you are often the person behind that cool tracking shot. That said, if you are booked in this spot on the crew you will need to prepare and maintain equipment. This could range from setting up dolly tracks and camera cranes. You may also be asked to run the rest of the grip crew while coordinating lighting to fit the requests of the director.

How To Problem Solve?

In this position, although most of your job will be on the technical side you want to be open-minded and creative. This is great to keep in mind as problems may arise that need an unusual solution. The best grips are resourceful and use what is around to solve the issue, and not necessarily only what is supposed to be done. They can do this by using a combination of what is available on set and tools they brought with them.

What Gear Will You Need?

As a grip, there are several pieces of gear you’ll want to keep in your bag. A multi-tool, c-wrench and measuring tape are essential to keep on your person when putting together a shoot that runs smoothly. Most grips will often carry a tool pouch with them, along with things like a level, multi-bit screwdriver or a knife.

This not only helps you be prepared, but it helps you have the ability to move quickly. As a grip, and especially a key grip, strong communication skills are also essential for a smooth day of production.

What Departments Will You Work With?

As we mentioned earlier, the grip often coordinates with lighting. This means a clear channel of communication between the two departments is necessary. While grips do not generally directly adjust and prep lights, it would be beneficial for a grip to know at least the basics of lighting in case they need to adjust lights. Think of it as actors knowing their part, as well as at least a few of the other actor’s parts if their counterpart should be out sick.

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About the Author

Assignment Desk
Assignment Desk
From camera crews to producers, DPs to grips, gaffers to makeup artists, Assignment Desk provides virtually any production element-worldwide. Quality is at our core, and we ensure that the freelancers we hire have the creativity, technical ability, and experience that is perfectly suited to your needs.

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