What is a Best Boy on a Film Set?

If you’re beginning to produce your own film but realizing it takes more hands on deck than you originally thought, you should probably think about bringing a best boy onto your set.

I know one of your first thoughts is probably one regarding your budget: where does another set of hands shake into your budget? In that case, think about entering our contests which give you the opportunity to win up to $10,000 as well as other prizes to fund your short film.

Now, let’s look at what a best boy will do on your set.

What is a Best Boy?

A best boy on your film set will serve as the first hand to either your gaffer or your key grip.

If you’ve forgotten, a gaffer is the person who leads the electrical department on your set and a key grip is the person who is in charge of building rigging equipment that supports lights and cameras. If you want more information on these positions, check out our previous posts on gaffers and grips.

Although misleading, a best boy can be either a male or female on your set; the term is considered to be gender neutral. 

This individual will report to the department head in either the electrical department (your gaffer) or your grip crew (the key grip). 

Because those two departments work closely with the director of photography, it will also be part of your best boy’s job to make sure that the vision of the cinematographer is followed and that he or she is doing everything in their power to make sure production occurs seamlessly.

They will do whatever they can to ensure that everything in the electrical department is moving smoothly as well as in the grip department. 

He or she will only be working with one department on your set, though. They will not be working simultaneously with both crews. While their responsibilities are similar, there are particular tasks that will vary between departments.

A Best Boy’s Responsibilities

two men working to adjust the camera as they film a woman the film fund

We’ve already discussed what your best boy’s main goal is on set: to assist either the electrical or grip departments. But let’s take that a little bit further and look into how he or she will do this.

Your best boy will be responsible for hiring crew members as well as giving crew members assignments on your film set. They will also have to create work schedules for your crew members and be able to lead the crew and manage equipment should their department head not be there. 

This means they must attain organizational as well as leadership skills.

If something is wrong on set, they must be able to communicate these issues to the correct person on set, and if a crew member needs something, they must be able to attend to that need.

He or she must also possess organizational skills and know how to track inventory. Although it is a large undertaking, your best boy must know where equipment is at all times and what works and what does not work. If something isn’t working or is unusable, your best boy must know these things and be able to provide a replacement for non working items if need be.

Best Boy Electric

If your best boy is part of the electrical department, they will report to your gaffer. 

Some things that your best boy electric will do that your best boy grip will not are unloading and managing electrical equipment and spearheading the inventory for lighting.

Best Boy Grip

man adjusting camera the film fund

This person will report to your key grip, managing the camera grip crew.

This person will be there to assist with everything in regards to the camera. This could mean organizing accessories for the camera or setting up dolly tracks.

Do You Really Need a Best Boy?

MasterClass answers this question very well: Best boys are the second pair of eyes and hands to their department heads, and necessary for any crew.

What Makes a Good Best Boy?

man looking at camera before filming the film fund

If you’re looking to hire a best boy, beyond having great leadership and communication skills, you’ll want someone who is attentive to detail.

As we’ve already mentioned, these individuals must be able to keep track of inventory and know where every piece of equipment is at all times. Your best boy cannot be disorganized and their attention to detail will be imperative for maintaining order on set.

They should also be good listeners in addition to being good communicators. Since your best boy will be the person that people go to with issues, they must be able to listen and have a mindset where they can easily make changes to solve problems.

Furthermore, they should be flexible and understand that things can and will change on your film set and they should be prepared for this.

Lastly, they should be able to work well with others and understand that a flourishing film set is one that can rest on teamwork.

Now that you know just how important a best boy is on your crew, don’t forget to check out our funding opportunities to put yourself in the running to win up to $10,000 in funding for your film in addition to numerous other prizes to help get your short film off the ground

One thought on “What is a Best Boy on a Film Set?

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