Grips work on a film or TV set to prepare the non-electrical equipment that helps move or carry the cameras, including cranes, tripods, vehicle rigs, and dollies.Job Category:
What you will do:
As a grip, you’ll work on a film or TV set to prepare all the non-electrical equipment that helps move or carry the cameras. This could include cranes, tripods, vehicle rigs, and dollies (the wheeled device which carries the camera and its operator).
Your day-to-day duties could include:
- Arriving early on-set to prepare equipment, and packing it up after the cameras have finished rolling
- Meeting with the Director of Photography to plan the direction of cameras and lighting for each scene
- Hiring equipment and processing invoices
- Recruiting the staff needed to support you in setting up and moving equipment
- Meeting with hire companies, Event managers or the police to plan for any filming that might take place in public spaces
- Making sure equipment is safe throughout set-up and filming, to keep performers, crew and members of the public safe from injury
To become a Grip in the film and television industry, you generally don’t need specific GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) subjects. However, there are some subjects that can be helpful and relevant to this career path. Grips are responsible for setting up and maintaining camera equipment and support systems, so subjects that can provide a foundation in technical skills, problem-solving, and teamwork are valuable. Here are some relevant subjects and skills:
- Mathematics: A strong foundation in math can be beneficial, as you may need to make calculations related to camera angles, lighting, and equipment placement.
- Physics: Understanding the principles of physics, such as mechanics and optics, can be useful for grasping the technical aspects of camera equipment and its operation.
- Design and Technology: This subject can help you develop problem-solving skills and familiarity with tools and equipment, which are essential for grips who often build and modify camera rigs.
- Media Studies: While not a requirement, taking media studies can provide you with a better understanding of the film and television industry, including camera techniques and equipment.
Art or Photography: Courses in art or photography can help you develop an eye for composition and framing, which are important skills for a Grip.
- ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using computers and software tools can be valuable for managing and organizing digital files related to camera equipment and shots.
- English or Communication: Effective communication and teamwork are vital in the film industry, so courses that improve your communication and interpersonal skills can be helpful.
In the UK, there is a specific route required to become a Grip.
You should start off as a trainee. To apply, you’ll need to show that you know what a Grip does, so it’s a good idea to chat to a working Grip first if you can.
You’ll usually spend three years as a trainee before becoming an Uncertified Grip.
Working Hours and Environment:
Grips are usually some of the first people on set, and the last to leave. You could be setting up equipment in the hours before filming starts and taking it down after evening shoots, so your working patterns will be varied.
You’ll usually work freelance, which means you’ll work on a range of projects and probably manage any admin from home, rather than having a fixed office space. You’ll also have some very busy work periods and other times when you won’t be working.
Career Path & Progression:
Grips can work in events and concert broadcasts, as well as scripted or unscripted TV and film, so look for a range of opportunities to build your skills.
With enough experience, you could become a Best Boy Grip (not a gendered role), and be the second Grip in charge on set. Eventually, you could progress to Key Grip, the head of the Grip team on a large production.