The 5 Major Mistakes Inexperienced Gaffers Make on Set

Working as a gaffer can be a very difficult and stressful job. It can be very easy to make simple mistakes or let the stress get to you.

There are definitely some things you can keep in mind that will make your day easier, more efficient, ease communication, increase the possibility of a call back and ensure a lasting relationship with your favourite Directors of Photography. Don’t forget to get your copy of The Set Lighting Technician’s Handbook on Amazon

5 Mistakes Inexperienced Gaffers Make on Set:

Let’s talk about the common mistakes inexperienced gaffers tend to make on set. These mistakes aren’t of a technical nature, but more about set etiquette, the way you run your crew and work on set.

Making Inappropriate Suggestions

Part of your job as a gaffer is to look for ways to help the DOP improve the look of a scene or make things more efficient for later scenes. This is all based on what you have already done, the established look of the film or things you know the cinematographer likes.

What I see happen quite often is a Gaffer making a suggestion based on having seen that particular technique done on other sets and not because the scene or shot calls for it. Sometimes a gaffer will even make a suggestion because they are hoping to get some sort of credit, not because it is what needs to happen in that moment.

As you gain experience as a Gaffer making appropriate suggestions will become easier and easier. The best advice I can give you is to think twice before making any suggestions at all. Analyze the scene, what you’ve already done then decided if your input is necessary.

Stepping on Toes and Throwing People Under the Bus

On a film set you will have to work with various departments and the last thing you need is to bump heads with someone all day.

There is his common trend with young technicians trying to be heroes and over stepping the bounds of their positions. This will make people hate you!

Yes, you might be working with a less experienced Key Grip or Camera team, but that doesn’t mean you should make enemies with them or cause them to look bad in front of the rest of the crew. It’s unprofessional and will make you look like a terrible person long term.

If you are working with a less experienced key or crew member, rather than calling them out on mistakes or doing their job for them, simply take them aside and give them a friendly suggestion. Whatever you do, do not embarrass them in front of the DOP or their team.

Not Delegating Tasks 

This is a big one because it can slow down your whole day. There are even grips that I have avoided working with because I feel they miss manage their team, causing us to waste a lot of time.

They work as a group and attack simple tasks together, rather than splitting up for the smaller tasks then coming together for the big ones. This is a big mistake.

There is no sense in having your best boy and 3rd tech stand around watching you set a flag just so they can toss a sandbag on it when you’re done. What can save you and your team a lot of time is if you split up to work on the small tasks, then come together for the big ones.

As a Gaffer, you can have your 3rd run your power as you start to set up the light. By the time the light is ready to be sparked the power should have arrived already. When setting up multiple small lights you can all split up and set them up individually, then when the DOP is ready they can be sparked and aimed one at a time.

Not Watching Rehearsals and Takes

When I was coming up as a Gaffer, I was trained to always be on the monitor. At first I never really understood why and I actually hated having to watch every take. I wanted to be able to relax during the roll, not focus on a tiny little monitor. As I started to work for different DOPs I started to notice little things during rehearsals.

Sometimes the key light would be a little off or the back light would be too bright or a wall would look flat. I was able to catch and correct these things before the roll and those DOPs were very grateful for my attention to detail

This goes hand in hand with the first mistake listed at the top. If you are watching rehearsals and really paying attention you can make awesome suggestions that can really improve or even save a scene.

Little things like that are what makes people remember you and want to call you back in the future.

Not Spending Enough Time Near the DOP

It sounds weird, but when ever you aren’t doing something or watching a take you should try to spend that time standing by the DOP.

When I say “standing by” I DO NOT mean just standing around waiting for them to ask you for something! 

Watch them, pay attention to what they are looking at…are they metering a lot? Looking around at lights trying to figure out what they are doing? Do they have a confused or anxious look on his face? You can tell how they feel about what is happening just by their look or body language. Not all DOPs will be vocal about how they are feeling about the set up. A good gaffer learns to read their body language.

Often times just asking “everything ok?” or “need anything?” can make all the difference. They might end up bouncing an idea off you or want to discuss a later set up they are unsure about. It is very much a give and take relationship and some DOPs might need a little nudge before they are able to open up to you.


Working as a Gaffer is one of the most difficult and stressful jobs below the line. It is very easy to lose track of things and make big mistakes that can really slow down your team.

So, keep these in mind next time you’re on set and feel free to add any mistakes you see inexperienced gaffer make on set in the comments below!

Author: Iggy
Source: Article, Image

The 16 Sexiest Roles on a Film Set, Ranked by Sex Appeal


I know why you really got into the business. It wasn’t because you’re a masochist for long hours or a sucker for uncertain income. You think film is sexy. Actually, you know film is sexy. And you’re right.

If you’re attracted to a career in filmmaking, it’s only natural that the people in the industry will turn your crank. But beware – there’s a hierarchy of hotness on set.

Here’s a wildly subjective ranking of roles, and what gives them different degrees of beddability. Actors have been disqualified for obvious reasons (they’re all bat-shit crazy).

The 16 Sexiest Roles on a Film Set

16. Data Wrangler

Look, somebody had to be last. And let’s face it – most Data Wranglers have their heads buried in a laptop all day and rarely register on set. When you do, it’s usually disastrous. Being the bearer of bad news that a file is corrupt or a card won’t read is the ultimate buzz kill – even if it’s not your fault (and it usually isn’t). Sure, you can sometimes score points with actors by giving them a sneak peak at the digital dailies, but even then you’re just being used. It’s sad to say that the one job on set with zero room for error is not exactly a head turner, but at least you made the list (sorry, Craft Services).

Letter: Dear Arnaud Hemery Data Manager for LUCY | Purchase LUCY on Amazon

15. Production Assistant

You’re not last! It wouldn’t be fair to pick on this job, especially since so many of us have been PA’s at one time or another. Yes, it’s unglamorous and often attracts unskilled go-getters, but stick around because it gets better. People usually have an eye on you (to see if you fuck up), but at least competence will get you noticed. It’s an entry level-job with big-time make-over potential.

Letter: Dear Natalie Wood Production Assistant for DOWNHILL RACER | Purchase DOWNHILL RACER on Amazon

14. Dolly Grip

Here’s a job that many people enjoy doing, but few people enjoy watching. Dolly Grip’s win “Most Likely to Flash Plumber Crack”, but are not nearly as likely to get any ass themselves. The process of laying track and guiding the camera is one that requires a lot of focus and steady work, so luckily most Dolly Grips are too busy to care what anyone else thinks. That’s worth something.

Letter: Dear Bruce Hamme, Dolly Grip for PRISONERS | Purchase PRISONERS on Amazon

13. Props Master

Being a Prop Master is only as sexy as you make it. Depending on the film, you’ll have various chances to show off your good taste and handy skills. The only problem is that once props are loaned out, most of you turn into neurotic headcases trying to keep track of everything; making sure that vintage book pages aren’t torn or that the vase in the background gets back to your grandma safely. Lack of control inevitably loses you points.

Letter: Dear Michael S. Martin, Property Master for 12 YEARS A SLAVE | Purchase 12 YEARS A SLAVE on Amazon

12. Continuity / Scrip Supervisor

Good continuity is a total turn on, but more in a reliable relationship way. You got here by proving you have a great attention to detail, and as such, are often seated at the right hand of the director to keep an eye on loose strings. Like many relationships, pointing out inconsistencies or faults might be encouraged early on, but you also have to be okay with being regularly dismissed or overruled. It’s a tricky dynamic to have work in your favour.

Letter: Dear Ronit Ravich-Boss, Script Supervisor for THAT’S MY BOY | Purchase THAT’S MY BOY on Amazon

11. Best Boy

Like the Best Man at a wedding, the Best Boy is a true misnomer (shouldn’t the “best man” be the one getting married?). Second-in-command of either the Grip or Lighting department, the term dates back to when managers would yell “bring me your best boy!” to come help with lighting or electrical. This official wingman status is often a thankless job, but at the same time, being shown favour on a big set gets you noticed. Plus, some people would probably hook up with a Best Boy just to say they did.

Letter: Dear Greg Fusak, Best Boy for BEHIND THE CANDLEABRA | Purchase BEHIND THE CANDELEABRA on Amazon

10. Line Producer

Though being the money manager isn’t as sexy as it sounds, there’s some true power here, and that’s the basis for most of the appeal. Many of the department heads are likely to cozy up to a Line Producer just to try and squeeze a little extra money their way. Enjoy it. It’s the best play you have.

Letter: Dear Sarah Craig, Line Producer for TIME LAPSE | Purchase TIME LAPSE on Amazon

9. Unit Production Manager

What’s hotter than hiring and firing people? Well, a lot, but this is still a position that demands respect on set. Points are mainly lost by being so removed from the action when the camera’s rolling, usually holed up in a trailer somewhere crunching numbers and fixing schedules. But with the power to make or break many below-the-line careers, it’s no wonder there’s a little strut in your step.

Letter: Dear Brian Bell, Unit Production Manager on NEIGHBORS | Purchase NEIGHBORS on Amazon

8. Assistant Director

There have to be some cheats here, so I’m grouping all you A.D.’s together, even if the difference between a First AssistantSecond Assistant and Third Assistant is rather huge. It goes without saying that your appeal is directly related to your ranking – no one’s getting hot and bothered by a Third A.D. bossing extras around (well, bothered maybe), and Seconds are usually tucked away in the office somewhere (which at least provides an air of mystique). An effective First A.D., however, really has presence on set – even if all the yelling has more in common with a drill sergeant than a rock singer. In fact, using the band analogy, First A.D.’s are more like the drummer – making a lot of noise and keeping the rhythm of the production going. And we all know drummers get plenty of action.

Letter: Dear Lauren Wells-Jones, Casual Assistant Director for THE BABADOOK | Purchase THE BABADOOK on Amazon


7. Make-up Artist/Costume Designer

If there’s a cool kids club on set, Make-up and Costumes are the gatekeepers. You get a lot of face time with the stars and are the hub of production gossip. But the real appeal comes from being so hands on; cozying up with measurements and touch-ups, striking a quick level of intimacy and familiarity the actors. By extension, Make-Up Artists and Costumer Designers are usually approachable and friendly by nature. Both disciplines (combined here for simplicity) are true art forms in and of themselves, where excellence can be rewarded with an Oscar or a spot on SyFy’s FaceOff. That’s hot.

Letter: Dear Robin Matthews, Makeup Department Head for WILD | Purchase WILD on Amazon

6. Boom Operator

If you don’t have a sense of humour, you can’t be a boom operator. The big rod you brandish makes you the butt end of easy jokes, but owning that absurdity goes a long way. It’s a low level position, but also the most visible one in the sound department – and the most fit. Keeping your mic out of the frame isn’t easy. Arm strength is one thing, but there’s also an agility required to keep up with hand-held moving action. For that reason, you’re hotter than you think. Plus, who doesn’t love somehow who knows how to work a pole?

Letter: Dear Valeria Ghiran, Boom Operator for THE ARTIST | Purchase THE ARTIST on Amazon

5. Key Grip/Gaffer

Another big cheat to combine these two professions, but the same principles of attraction apply to setting up lights and laying cables. These are technical jobs that require both brain and brawn. Both land on a respectable rung of the professional ladder, and watching someone who really knows what they’re doing is always appealing. But really, this ranking is all about the belts. A lot of people wear them, but no one on set owns them like a Key Grip Grip or Gaffer.

Letter: Dear Andy Mountain, Lighting Console Operator for UNDER THE SKIN | Purchase UNDER THE SKIN on Amazon

4. Director

An ego monster by necessity, a director’s magnetism is a real crapshoot. Everyone on set is judging you, and expecting an answer to their question. If you make mistakes, people talk behind your back. If you act like a big shot without delivering world-class goods, word travels fast that you’re an insecure phony. But no matter what people say, you’re endowed with creative control – and that’s impossible to ignore. If you do all your homework, treat people well, and shepherd a stellar project, your sex appeal is second-to-none. But more often than not, seeing the sausage being made is a pretty heavy turn-off.

Letter: Dear Marc Foster, Director of WORLD WAR Z | Purchase WORLD WAR Z on Amazon

3. Production Designer

You could be working anywhere – drafting buildings, designing big brands, creating personal installations – but you’ve chosen to give your talents to film. The wild variety of skill sets most Production Designers and Art Directors possess make you the most interesting people on set. Most of you care as much about Neo-classical architecture as you do contemporary tech interfaces. You might not sweat as much as the Grips and Gaffer, but you don’t need to. Plus, even in jeans and T-shirt, you still seem to dress better than most people on set.

Letter: Dear Bobby Vanonen, Production Design/Art Direction for THE VALLEY BELOW

2. Stunt Coordinator

Not many sets have the luxury of a true Stunt Coodinator (or even stunt performers), but the ones that do – look out. Everyone’s eyes are on your action. It’s a rough and tumble profession, and one that, at its best, risks life and limb for our entertainment (will somebody give you and Oscar category already?). The reason it’s so high isn’t just because of the Ryan Gosling Drive factor, but the stunt makers who have really broken out, from Bruce Lee to Zoë Bell. Even when you’re doubling for a star, you’re the real show on set.

Letter: Dear Brian Smyj, Stunt Coordinator for THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES | Purchase THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES on Amazon

1. Cinematographer

Was there ever any doubt? If the Director is the singer of a rock band, the Cinematographer is the lead guitar. It’s where the real music comes from, and where fans know to focus their attention. As the architect of light and movement, the Cinematographer (or Director of Photography) has enough help to side step most of the drama that plagues other department heads. And even so, you’re often the hardest working person on set. Most Directors are disproportionately indebted to their Cinematographer, so they can’t begrudge the praise you get. But don’t think they aren’t jealous when an A-list movie star lovingly uses your nick-name to announce your Oscar win to the world.


Author: Christopher Redmond
Source: Article, Image