How to Become a Film Key Grip

Film Key Grip Job Description

On film sets, grips are the technicians who perform lighting and rigging. However, sometimes this position title refers to a technician who only performs camera rigging and mounting duties. The Key Grip is in charge of directing all other grips on the set.



Film Key Grip Job Duties

• Responsible for placement of the camera, regardless of where camera setup is to occur

• Direct other grips, who usually perform more specialized functions

• May double as backup camera crew if they have been properly cross-trained

• Assist with lighting setups, working alongside the film’s electrical department

• May tend to their own dollies, tracks and cranes

• Key grips are charged with directing the other grips in matters regarding safety

• Grips may be held responsible for injury of other crew members on set relating to faulty setup and use of equipment rigs, stands and ladders

• The Key Grip works alongside the head of the electrical department (the Gaffer) to ensure safe and practical lighting



How to Get Started in a Career as a Film Key Grip

To get started on your path to a career as a film grip or key grip, contact different film commissions to see who is filming in your area and apply for any open jobs. Film grip jobs may not always be advertised by traditional means, such as online job postings or newspaper classifieds, so a proactive approach is your best bet to obtaining a grip job.


Another strategy is to move to an area where there is a large film industry presence, such as New York, Vancouver or Los Angeles. If you choose this route, try joining a union to help secure a film grip job and decent wages.


A film grip must apply to work on specific productions, rather than being employed by a single company or business entity. So working as a grip you will continuously have to apply for grip jobs, and seek to increase the quality of productions you are involved with in order to gain valuable experience in order to eventually become a key grip.



Scholarships for Becoming a Film Key Grip

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a Film Key Grip. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on our Film Studies Scholarships page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Film Key Grip: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for becoming a Film Key Grip. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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