As with other sections of the film and TV industry, becoming a grip requires becoming a trainee. If you’re really interested in becoming a Grip we highly recommend trying some of our tips below.
TIP 1 to Become a Grip
Did you really enjoy the film or TV show that you just binge watched on Netflix? Did you stay on and watch the credits? If you did then keep watching and once you see the words ‘Grips’, ‘Key Grips’ or ‘Dolly Grip’, pause it and check out those names. Go online and see if you can find any further information about these individuals and the production itself. Check if the production was shot in your area, this way you can figure out if it’s worth contacting any crew members.
TIP 2, Do Some Digging.
Why don’t you do a little digging? Check out the show on IMDB, the independent movie database, on here you can usually see a full list of crew members and production details. You may be able to find out if the production has any new productions coming up? It could be worth contacting the producers and mentioning that you’re really interested in becoming a trainee on set. If you’re specifically able to find the details for the key grip it may be worth contacting them and asking if they have any trainee roles going. Always act respectfully and don’t take it personally if individuals don’t get back to you, it’s a very busy industry.
TIP 3, Do the leg work.
If you’re struggling to become a Grip trainee specifically then why not try becoming a runner. Becoming a runner is the best way to make contacts on set. As a runner you will technically be assisting either the production department or assistant director’s (AD) department but whilst you’re doing this you can meet and help out other members of the crew. This is how a lot of on-set crew start off and there are countless examples of crew members who started their careers as runners. Make teas and coffees, be respectful and don’t worry excessively about what people think of you, just be kind, be yourself and work hard.
Once you’re on set as a Grip trainee now is your time to shine. A good trainee is always ready and able to learn and work hard. You may have to work as a trainee for a number of years, so it’s worth working with people that you get along with. Sometimes as a trainee you can feel pressured to work for individuals that you may not get along with but always remember, the industry is full of good people, and you aren’t always tied down to the individuals that you work with. A good Key grip will help you grow at your own pace and point you in the right direction towards becoming a grip. Always try and help the different grips that you work with. Showing a good attitude and being keen to learn is always going to go down well. Learning the equipment and grip slang terms is half the battle as a trainee, if you fancy a helping hand feel free to read our articles named ‘The ultimate Grip equipment guide’ and ‘The Grip slang term guide’.
And don't give in!
Becoming a Grip can be a difficult journey. This section of the industry is notoriously insular but we are trying to change that. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to become a Grip if they’d like to. Grip departments in the United Kingdom are notably underrepresented in terms of both gender and different ethnic backgrounds. This is something that we want to change and believe should be openly discussed in the industry. If you are interested in becoming a Grip then please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll try our best to advise you on the initial step of becoming a trainee.
If you’d like to find out more information on the role of Grips in film and television then please check out our other website and other blog posts at www.kinetik.site.
This post was written for educational and informational purposes and does not at any point claim to be the official standpoint of Grips internationally or nationally on film and television sets. Grips around the world work in different ways and job roles may vary depending upon location.