Film School Friday – What is a Grip?

Grip Episode Summary

In this weeks episode of Film School Friday, Corey and Bill discuss the roll of a Grip on set.

Grip Episode Notes

This week we’re talking Grips, what they do, and why they’re awesome.

“They don’t suffer fools.” – Bill Cornelius

Grip Links

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Grip Transcript

Corey (00:06):

This one’s going to be good. That’d be good.

Bill (00:09):


Corey (00:10):

Welcome to film School Friday. I’m Corey I’m bill and together we host the focus podcast. Film school. Friday is our special weekly episode where I get to quiz, build a, see how much knowledge he’s actually able to retain from film school. And this week’s episode you know, bill, I know as we were going through the pre-production discussion, this one had you a little bit on edge. You’re a little concerned about how this one might translate to some of these individuals in the world. But I want to talk about the grip department and what, what it is they’re responsible for.

Bill (00:45):

So the grip department, they are, they support a lot of things on set. Most non-electrical building up building and tearing down things primarily related to the camera department on lower budget shoots. They’re a bit of a catch all for, you know, gear being loaded out and loaded in all the extra stuff they’re in charge of the grip truck. Obviously they drive it, they manage it. They make sure nothing escapes from it that shouldn’t be going out of it. And so they, they have a lot of support roles that, that can vary from budget to budget, depending on how big the shoot is. And they’re a very passionate group. And in my experience, a lot of them are very specific about the way they want things done. I may have had an experience when I was a young 20 something up and comer with a key grip that had no patience for me.

Bill (01:44):

I said, good morning to him when I got to set, because I I’m nice. And his response was, there’s two things. We can do stuff around here, my way, or my way mad you decide which one it’s going to be. And then he just walked away. So, you know, they don’t suffer fools a lot of times grips they, they work long hours. They’re doing a lot of heavy lifting, literally in a lot of cases, you know, time is money onset. A lot of pressure is put on them to make sure stuff’s going off the truck and being built and being torn down and being coordinated and moved around the set when it’s called for it’s it’s high pressure, honestly. And so, you know, it’s, it’s easy to be sensitive and to be a little, a little grumpy and long days. And you know, I I’ve, I’ve dealt with my fair share of very passionate grips.

Corey (02:35):

All right. So bill, did I hear you correctly? And you just said, grips can be sensitive.

Bill (02:40):

They can be, they can be sensitive about their work. Okay. Very much so, like I said, it’s a lot of high pressure. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s a lot of heavy lifting. They don’t have time for people rolling up in there and getting in their way grips.

Corey (02:55):

They, they just, they don’t around.

Corey (02:57):

No, they don’t around at all. A lot is on them to, to move things from point a to point B a lot of times on set and quite frankly, to protect a lot of the gear. Yeah.

Corey (03:08):

Good. So clearly a very important role. It exists for a reason. Make sure you find a good one, right?

Bill (03:15):

Yes. Yeah. Make are a good mini grips, a good mini grips, unless you’re, unless you’re Chris Dyer, if you have Chris Dyer on set, he can be your one grip and he will do all of that beast. He is a beast.

Corey (03:30):

I worked with them recently on a short with Zac Adams. Yeah. And he, he was everywhere. Everywhere you needed somebody to be. He was, I felt like he was already there.

Bill (03:42):

Yes. And, and he’s, he’s one of those guys where it’s like, I’ll be thinking about how I need to change the battery on the camera soon. And he’ll be standing behind me with it in his pocket and it’s like, Oh, Oh, Oh yeah. And, and you know, just a great dude anyway, just a really great guy. But, but yeah, Nashville, if you need a, all encompassing a one man team, Chris Dyer, he’s your man.

Corey (04:07):

Nice book him today.

Bill (04:09):


Corey (04:10):

All right. A grip. What is a grip? I think, I think you clearly define that clearly grips don’t around.

Bill (04:17):


Corey (04:18):

Uh so thinking about other roles onset, obviously that, you know, the grip plays an integral part in a lot of different inner workings on a set, but you know, getting into the work of a grip like it, could that be a role that maybe a high potential production assistant or a PA could maybe easily transition into with the right kind of focus and training? Is that like a fair assessment? That, that would be a good next step for a PA?

Bill (04:46):

Yes. I would say so there’s a lot of, you know, very hungry PAs out there that want to go straight from PA to DP. It doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes you have to work your way into other set opportunities like grip and things like that. And it’s not a, it’s not a glamorous job. It definitely isn’t. And like I said, it’s, it’s tough. A lot of grips don’t fool around. It’s a, it’s an easy way to learn really quickly. I have to say in my experience when I was younger and dealing with more seasoned grips on set, it was, I learned very quickly it was thrown to the wolves because they they’re just like, let’s, let’s go, we will run right over. You keep moving. So it’s, it’s a good way to get into that head space of, you know, time is important on set.

Corey (05:41):

Yeah. That’s great. No, that’s good. Okay. Excellent job. As always, we appreciate your knowledge and your willingness to share, I guess you passed this time,

Bill (05:52):

You guess?

Corey (05:53):

Yeah. Now you definitely pass it.

Bill (05:55):


Corey (05:56):

Okay. I think that’ll about do it for film school Friday this week. Thanks for tuning in, please. Everyone make sure you feed your Crew and we’ll catch you next time.

Bill (06:07):

See you later.

Corey (06:10):

We know you have a lot of podcast options and we appreciate you choosing us. Come back next week to hear me put bill to the test again, check us out at And if you like what you heard today, could you do us a favor and rate our show? Wherever you consume your podcasts, it would help us out a ton.