There are several avenues available to a person who wants to become a best boy grip, which is a member of a film crew who handles cameras and lighting. Best boy grips act as assistants to the chief or key grip, and they are responsible for wrangling staff and equipment to make sure that they are where they are supposed to be. Many best boy grips are members of professional organizations and unions, and job prospects can vary, depending on qualifications and the state of the film and television industry.
One way to become a best boy grip is to start working on film sets right out of high school. Production companies might hire apprentices who have had minimal training if they have useful skills or experience in film and television production, even if that experience came during high school. Apprentices work in various runner positions to assist other staff members. As they become more skilled, apprentices can take on more tasks and eventually can have enough experience and training to act as best boy grips.
College degrees are preferred by a number of studios and will provide more opportunities for a person who wants to become a best boy grip. People can pursue degrees in film and television production, film history and related fields. This might give them a deeper understanding of the industry and a familiarity with different styles of work and various creative approaches. Film school also can offer internship and training opportunities that might be useful for professional networking.
It also is possible to attend a technical training program. Short courses to prepare grips, gaffers and other members of film crews are available. A student who wants to become a best boy grip can receive two to three months of training during such programs, allowing him or her to acquire the necessary skills. Some programs also provide internships and job placement opportunities, and these can be good choices for students.
After someone has become a best boy grip, it helps to have people skills. These members of the crew are often tasked with limiting arguments on the set, helping employees resolve problems and handling scheduling. Their supervisors want to be able to concentrate on the finesse of camera and lighting placement, continuity and other tasks that are important to the integrity of the production. An assistant who minimizes problems that need to be brought to the attention of the key grip can be highly desirable and is more likely to be requested for such work in the future.