I’m finally done with my two back-to-back film sets as Key Grip and Best Boy Electric. We wrapped at 12:45 am last night, pushing just about every Film School rule with overtime and wrap times to the limit.
I learned a few things during the past two sets. One, though this is more true if you’re filming in Florida in the summer, is you will get wet. Either from sweat or the summer rain, I came home soaked every night. After a very long drought, it rained every day. Sometimes the timing worked out, and other times it didn’t, such as last night.
During the final stretch we moved to a new location that required a 12-by reflector with two HMI’s bouncing into it outside in the rain, as well as a dolly track setup on uneven ground. The biggest risk was making sure water didn’t get on the lens of the lights, or else it could crack, releasing UV rays. The solution was a tent made from c-stands and a tarp.
Rain also posed other risks, such as a slippery loading ramp on the grip truck (I got a free thrill as I lost my footing unloading the sound cart and uncontrollably sped down the ramp).
Another thing to keep in mind as a grip on set – you will set up lots of equipment that won’t get used. The idea is to have it on standby, ready for action when the DP or Director needs it. On Monday we had the dolly set up and ready to go at two locations, but it was never used. Of course had it not been set up then they would have asked for it and the whole production would have been held up for ten minutes as we unloaded it off the truck and set it up.
Getting the equipment to set can also be an adventure. The trick is to look for wheelchair access, though some older buildings don’t make it easy. Yesterday, we had to travel through a basement of an old building (which had asbestos warning signs) on campus to get to a creepy looking wooden elevator that looked scarier than the Tower of Terror. Here’s a photo, but it doesn’t nearly do justice to how eerie this elevator looks when first seeing it. Fortunately we survived and did not cross over to the Twilight Zone.