Thursday, September 06, 2012

What The Hell Is A Key Grip?

***This post was previously published on an old, discarded entertainment blog I used to have back in 2009. 
It's still interesting today.***

I'm one of those people who will sit in a theater after a film is over and read all the credits. And when I say ALL the credits I mean ALLLLLLLL the credits. As in sound engineer and property master and soundtrack listing credits. That's right... that person you always see not budging an inch while everyone scurries out of the theater is probably me, curious as to who the 2nd assistant director was.

Don't even get me started on the gift from heaven that is the Internet Movie Database (IMDb); when that website came into my life I honestly found a reason to live. It's like a movie-credit-junkie's wet dream... all those facts and quotes and trivia and CREDITS... ahhhhhh... I think I just jizzed in my pants at the thought of it all.

But I have to admit, as much as I get off knowing that Soldier on the Beach #4 in Saving Private Ryan was Shane Johnson (Jeremy from the 2002 film Pumpkin) I cannot tell you what some of those production jobs in the credits even mean.

The magic of the Google, however, came in very much handy, though, and after typing in "What does a best boy do in a film?" I found oh so many articles on the subject, and now consider myself a film production expert.

And fret not, young grasshopper- I won't keep the information to myself; what would be the fun in that?

According to a post on ProVideo Coalition by Matthew Jeppson & Kendal Miller, here are the job descriptions to some of the more puzzling gigs listed in movie credits:

>>Key Grip
The key grip works with the gaffer in setting and cutting lights to creating shadow effects for the set lighting and supervises camera cranes, dollies, platforms, and “wild wall� movements according to the DP. Specific duties will include:
* Creating shadow effects
* Supervising dollie, crane, and other camera movement
* Maintenance and management of grip equipment

Also sometimes called the lighting designer, the gaffer is the chief electrician who supervises set lighting in accordance with the requirements of the DP. Specific duties will include:
* Lighting of sets and locations
* Maintenance and management of lights and lighting equipment
* Specialized electrical work such as generator operation

>>Foley Artist
The foley artist creates sound effects to accompany specific visual objects, movements, and sound sources, such as footsteps or punches. Specific duties will include:
* Generating and recording sounds to accompany specific on-screen sound sources.

Interesting shit, right? I used to think these were all so mysterious and, frankly, quite a load of bullshit that made movie tickets that much more expensive, but when you read all of the descriptions you have to admit- a lot goes into making even the tiniest of independent films. A lot.

So don't you think at the very least you can sit in the theater and read the names of all the people that worked hard to entertain you? Especially the dude who worked hard to design the titles... he chose that font just for you.

*To read the article in its entirety, click here.