(Note: The following is the third in a series focusing on the local film industry, specifically the various jobs that go into producing a movie. Today: best boy grip)
Anyone who has ever sat and watched the credits after a movie has inevitably found themselves asking this question at some point or another: What the hell is a “best boy?” (Admittedly, this question was a large part of the impetus for writing this series.)
A best boy, or best boy grip, is “kind of like the manager of the grip department,” said Alejandro Snodgrass, best boy grip for the hit television series “Breaking Bad.” And the grip department, Snodgrass explained, is in charge of handling the cameras and their supports – such as the dolly or crane – and securing the cameras, such as outside of a car for driving scenes.
And while the electricians set up the lights for a scene, the grip department controls the lighting, coloring it, softening it, or shaping it, said Snodgrass.
The best boy grip also serves as the grip department’s liaison to the other departments.
“I need to talk to the transportation department to make sure the trucks and equipment get to where they need to be,” Snodgrass said. “I’m the one who, if we need equipment, I go to the producer and the production manager and I make sure that happens. When we go on location, I’m the one who has to come up with a budget for how much we’re going to need for this project or this episode of this TV show.”
As the manager of the grip department, the best boy grip answers only to the key grip and is responsible for manpower and equipment.
“I’m in charge of hiring, firing and scheduling, I handle all the paperwork, and if any of the equipment gets damaged, I’m the one who makes sure it gets replaced,” said Snodgrass, a California native who lived in New Orleans during his 20s and plans to relocate here once “Breaking Bad” wraps for good in New Mexico.
Snodgrass, 37, said he looks forward to the plethora of film opportunities New Orleans offers, and he attributes a lot of the success of Hollywood South to broad support from politicians, but also to heavier investment from locals into the industry than Snodgrass has seen elsewhere.
“That’s a good thing,” he said.
Brian Friedman writes about Hollywood South for NolaVie.