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Learn more about the U.K. film industry to see if you have what it takes to build a lucrative grip career and make a name for yourself behind the camera.

How To Establish A Successful UK Grip Career In The Film Industry

There are hundreds of different roles involved in film production, one of which is known as grip. The grip department is responsible for handling the technical equipment used to shoot films. It’s a crucial position that brings film sets to life through construction and supplying hardware.

If you’re interested in joining this hands-on sector of filmmaking, you’ll need to have a passion for teamwork, on-the-job training, and a willingness to follow expert guidance. There’s no clear path to getting into this career, so you can choose which way to approach the industry through sources available to you.

Here’s how you can establish a successful UK grip career in the filmmaking industry:

uk grip career

Do Your Research

The first step you can take to getting into the UK grip career is doing research. Learn as much as you can about the TV and film industry as well as the role a grip entails. This kind of knowledge is important for you to understand so you’re fully aware of what will be expected of you once you join the industry.

Furthermore, you should also familiarize yourself with production and equipment companies such as Kinetik and others to check how they work. By doing this, you can make sure you’re choosing a career path with working conditions that you accept and are interested in. It’ll also come in handy once you start making moves to get into this sector.

It’s also a good idea to read up on interviews and articles of grip crews who are new employees or are long-established workers too. It’ll give you firsthand insights into the work they do and advice on how you can follow in their footsteps.

uk grip career

Look For Opportunities

Once you’ve armed yourself with enough knowledge of the grips department of film production, you can begin looking for vacancies. Most grips workers begin as trainees, and apprenticeships work their way up to the more specialized roles. As a newbie, you’ll most likely start in any of the grips where they need extra helping hands.

To find opportunities, you can search for openings online through job listing sites and online directories. Alternatively, you can search the production companies that you discovered during your research to find their contact details.

If you still can’t find enough resources and information online, the next best place to search is locally in the areas closest to you. There’s a possibility that a film is in production nearby as Britain’s film industry is constantly active. If there’s one, there could be some ads in community newspapers about it and whether they’re looking for extra crew members.

uk grip career

In any of the above cases, when reaching out to people in the industry, remember to be polite and address them formally. Production crews, managers, and agents can be very busy so your patients can go a long way. Additionally, you should only contact personnel if they’re open to accepting solicitations and submissions. The grips industry can be somewhat insular, but with persistence and finding the right people, you can get yourself in the door.

uk grip career

Brush Up On Your Skills

Although no formal higher education or degree is required to get into grips, it’s still necessary to learn the tools of your trade. This will greatly benefit you and set you apart as a strong candidate during the hiring process. In cases where no formal hiring takes place, these skills could help convince a production crew to take you on as a trainee.

Grips is a very active profession that involves physically demanding work, lifting, and assembling heavy equipment. Thus, as an aspirant grip worker, you’ll need physical strength, technical knowledge of operating cameras, and building construction sites such as scaffolding. 

You’ll also need to be a problem solver and come up with solutions on set when there’s an equipment failure or things don’t work out as planned. You can add to your skillset by getting involved in local construction and building a portfolio of projects you’ve worked on.

uk grip career

Moreover, you can watch or read educational videos or books about electrical work and how to put together different types of machinery used on film sets. If you’d prefer to go the formal education route, there are various courses online or at institutions you can enroll in. The subjects should be related to film and tv production, as well as construction, electrical, and mechanical work.

uk grip career

Advance Towards Specialized Grips

As soon as you’ve managed to get a trainee role with a grips crew, you should try to make the most of that time. Don’t simply observe workers doing the job, but get involved in as many of the practical tasks as you can. This is essential because experience is the most important criterion in finding permanent work and eventually being promoted to more specialized grip positions.

You’ll most likely start out as the Best Boy Grip point where you’ll work as a type of admin assistant to higher ranking grip workers. In this role, you may be in charge of managing equipment, placing orders for tools, ensuring equipment arrives at the correct locations for shooting, and inspecting equipment functionality. Once you’ve proven yourself and impressed your trainers, you might get to move up to being in construction grip or dolly grip. 

This is where you can help build and break down different parts of the film sets and lay tracks and platforms down for various types of cameras to move during scenes. Once you’ve gained years of experience, then you could become part of key grip who’s the head of the department and supervise the entire grip crew. It’s the highest senior role you can take on in a grips career.

uk grip career

Conclusion

Establishing a successful grip career in the UK includes finding out as much as you can about the film industry in Britain. Get to know local production companies so you can reach out to them. 

Once you’ve landed a trainee role, that’s where you need to put in the work and impress your higher-ups. This can lead to future promotions and the ultimate senior role in key grip. With the right attitude, a solid work ethic, and determination, you can make your mark in the grip industry, earn the respect of your peers, and enjoy a fruitful job.

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