What a gaffer does

I tend to watch films right to the end, including the credits, and have been amused by some of the names given to the technicians who work on them such as key grip, best boy, and gaffer and would idly wonder what they did. Here gaffer Andy Day tells us what his role is.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    “The gaffer” is also how British soccer players refer to their manager.

  2. says

    My favorite job is Foley Artist, named after Jack Foley. These are the people who make sound effects—like an actors footsteps or, in Jack’s perhaps most famous case, the clinking of Roman armor as soldiers march toward the former slaves in the climatic battle scene in Spartacus—that might not have been picked up by the microphones when a scene was filmed.

  3. says

    I thought a gaffer was the guy who tapes stuff back together 🙂

    I was fortunate to be at Warner Bros with a backlot pass the day the supply hardware store shut down. They had a big sale. So I picked up tshirts from various departments “grip” “set” “lighting” etc most of which are now appropriately covered in grease and paint. It always made me wonder what “grip” was.

  4. ridana says

    Apparently in British film the Foley artist is called a “footsteps editor.” Which I much prefer, since I always associate the name “Foley” with a urinary catheter.

  5. says

    I loved the “walking with dinosaurs behind the scenes” DVD, which had some great footage of the foley artists walking around various muddy places with giant wooden foot prosthetics, trying to capture the sound of ‘velociraptor walking in mud.”

    Re: Grip. As someone who once dropped an 8x10 view camera off a platform, I probably should be ashamed to wear a “grip” Tshirt then.

  6. says

    I’ve always been curious about “best boy”, which I assume is a young lad whose job it is to sit around and be praised by everyone on set. Or is just a dog with a people name.

  7. Jazzlet says

    Gaffer isn’t just a soccer manager in British English, it’s anybody in charge of a group of workers, equivilent to foreman or in a small organisaation the guy at the top.

  8. Trickster Goddess says

    Best boy is the foreman or lead hand. While the gaffer or key grip is head of their departments, the best boy is the second in command.

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