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Construction Grip

A construction grip is a worker on a set of a movie or dramatic production. Construction grips are found most commonly in, or on jobs that originate in New York.

The construction key grip and his crew work with the construction coordinator and his carpenters to execute any sets or set pieces that are erected or installed. The key is chosen and directed by the coordinator, though they are ostensibly of equal rank, and the coordinator generally determines the order of work.

The division of labor is basic: The coordinator and his carpenters build the components of the set, the construction grips prepare the site, and erect, level, and plumb the set. Then the carpenters trim the set in preparation for the scenic artists.

In addition, the construction grips accomplish any rigging that may need to be done (flying set pieces or facades mounted on existing structures), order, and if applicable, operate any heavy machinery required. They are also responsible for any backdrops that need to be hung.

Once complete, and the shooting crew comes in, the set is generally handed over to the regular or shooting grips, unless there is a particularly large or complex piece that must be moved at a particular time.

The grip department in general is also traditionally charged with the safety of the crew, and this engenders certain other labors for the construction grips: the shop and set (until it is turned over to the set dressers) must be maintained free of debris, and lumber and building materials must be stowed or racked in a safe, neat, and accessible manner.

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