Grip Department

Film Crew Position: Grip Assist

What does a Grip Assist do?

A Grip Assist, often referred to as a Grip Assistant, is an entry-level position within the Grip Department on a film or television set. The primary responsibility of a Grip Assist is to provide support to the key grip and dolly grip by handling various tasks that ensure the smooth operation of the department. Their work is pivotal in maintaining the equipment that supports cameras and lighting, which includes setting up stands, rigging dollies, and laying down tracks for camera movements.

What role does a Grip Assist play?

The role of a Grip Assist encompasses a variety of hands-on tasks. They are often tasked with loading and unloading grip trucks, setting up equipment like C-stands, flags, and apple boxes, and moving and adjusting heavy gear under the direction of more experienced grips. Additionally, Grip Assists might be involved in the assembly of scaffolding and the execution of safety measures on set to protect the crew and equipment. They are also expected to remain attentive and responsive to the needs of their department, ensuring that the grip team can efficiently shape and modify the lighting and camera setup as required by the director of photography.

Do you need to go to college to be a Grip Assist?

Pursuing a career as a Grip Assist does not necessarily require a college degree. While film school can offer valuable knowledge and networking opportunities, many grips have successfully entered the industry through hands-on experience, internships, or by starting as production assistants. A strong understanding of on-set etiquette, basic grip equipment, and practical experience gained through working on smaller sets or student films can be instrumental in securing a position as a Grip Assist.

What skills do you need to be a Grip Assist?

To excel as a Grip Assist, one must possess a diverse set of skills. Physical strength and stamina are crucial, as the job involves lifting, carrying, and maneuvering heavy equipment. Good communication skills and the ability to follow instructions quickly and accurately are also important. Being detail-oriented and safety-conscious is essential, as the grip's work often involves intricate rigging that must be secure to prevent accidents. Additionally, a basic understanding of the mechanical and technical aspects of grip equipment will enable a Grip Assist to be more effective on set. Problem-solving abilities and a proactive attitude are also highly valued in this role.

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