Four Movie Credits You Might Not Understand
Everyone does it. The movie or TV show is over, and you sit there and watch the credits scroll past. You may be interested in who played a particular role or even who the producers or directors were. But then you get all the miscellaneous credits that most people don't understand, such as best boy and key grip. This article explains what four of those titles mean.
- Gaffer - This just refers to the head electrician. The term comes from old times in England where an old man, the gaffer, would tend to the street lamps with a long pole, called a gaff.
- Key Grip - The key grip is in charge of the physical jobs required to make a film work. They work with the gaffer and director of photography to figure out how tricky angles will be handled. The dolly grip moves any equipment that is on wheels. A grip is anyone who controls any of the equipment and comes from the term given to a stagehand who was in charge of moving scenery about in a play.
- Foley Artist - The foley artist is the person who creates all the odd sounds you hear in a movie or TV show. The sounds of footsteps across a floor, or the cork popping out of a bottle, or even cellphones ringing are all created and supplied by the foley artist. When sound was first used in movies, an employee of Universal named Jack Foley was put in charge of sound effects and hired artists to help him out.
Best Boy - Finally, the one you've all be waiting for. The best boy is just the name given to the primary assistant to a gaffer or key grip. Before union rules made job titles and departments more rigid, if one department head needed another hand, he would simply call another department and ask them to send over their best boy.
And there you have it: four of those odd production roles you have always wondered about explained. Now you can pay attention to these titles and watch as someday the best boy gets promoted to key grip.