What Is a Best Boy Grip? Job Description, Salary, Responsibilities + More

Article Image
Photo Source: Shutterstock

Crew > Grip + Electrical  

Best Boy Grip Job Description: What Does a Best Boy Grip Do? 

The best boy grip is the right hand to the key grip and runs the daily operation of the grip team, including managing all of the grips. While the key grip works closely with the DP during production, the best boy grip keep the grips organized and on task, hires personnel, assigns roles, delineates working hours, handles paperwork, keeps track of inventory, orders and returns equipment and gears, makes sure the loading trucks are organized, and serves as the point-person between the department and production office. 

Once the key grip has figured out the logistics of what the DP wants for every shot, information is relayed to the best boy grip, who directs the department. On set, it’s common for them to oversee the grips while they execute the proper operation of dollies, cranes, tracks, etc. They also make sure the rig for the next shot is ready to go by the time they call “cut.”

(The title is non-gendered, and comes from early film days when the head of the grip or electrical team needed an extra body and would ask the other for their “best boy.” There is also a best boy electrical.) 

Department

Grip + Electric

Alternate Titles for Best Boy Grip

n/a

Crew Hierarchy

The best boy reports to and works closely with the key grip, while also managing the grips within the department (set grips, construction grips, dolly grips). On smaller sets/budgets, all of this work is usually done by a lone key grip or grip/gaffer hybrid position. 

Best Boy Grip Salary

Salary depends on experience and working conditions (budget, location, hours of work, union status), but according to Forbes, a best boy grip can expect to make $50,00 to $75,000 if they’re working regularly.

How to Become a Best Boy Grip

Many best boys start out as production assistants or low on the totem pole in the grip department, working the jobs they’ll later supervise. After a few years of hard work, production experience, and networking, grips can gradually rise to best boy positions. It’s very common for best boys to continue advancing to the key grip position. 

Best Boy Grip Required Experience + Skills

Best boy grips should have significant mechanical and electrical knowledge, strong managerial, organizational, and problem-solving skills, major physical and mental endurance, the ability to work long, fluctuating hours, an eye for detail, and a genuine passion and eagerness. While a degree isn’t necessary, a background in carpentry, physics, mechanics, and/or filmmaking is usually preferred.

For more on how to get work on a film crew, visit Backstage’s crew hub!