Fit out the stage for theater productions.
How did you come to be known as “Best Boy”? Well, in the early days of cinema, before most film jobs became unionized, it was common practice for the various departments at movie studios to share workers. Two departments, in particular — the grip and electric departments — often pooled resources: When the head of one department temporarily needed extra help, he asked the head of the other department, “Can I borrow your Best Boy ?” And so the term “Best Boy” was born to describe the second-in-command — man or woman — in the grip and electric departments.
Now that most film jobs are unionized, the lines between departments are more rigid and less permeable. As a result, there are two kinds of Best Boy: Best Boy Electric and Best Boy Grip.
Under the direction of the Director of Photography, your department is in charge of moving and positioning cameras, lighting equipment, and scenery. Along with the Key Grip, therefore, your duties as Best Boy Grip include hiring and supervising Grips, ordering and renting camera or lighting equipment, and planning the manual setup for scenes. At times, you also place and operate camera dollies, mounts, trailers, and cranes, or install, move, and strike scenery. Because it’s your job to handle the behind-the-scenes logistics and physical labor of setting up a scene for filming, you’re basically the “muscle” of a film set!