7:30am Saturday morning on September 29th, the lights were burning and the coffee was brewing. We were at Bud’s Studio for our Grip and Electric 101 Boot Camp. We had expected 100 attendees from various organizations and institutions across the city and Greater Philadephia region for an eight-hour crash course covering entry-level information on becoming a Grip or Electric. This was an exciting moment for myself and the Expressway crew because it had been months of preparation and focus to bring all seven instructors together to create a curriculum that we could present with true confidence. Expressway has always believed in supporting our community by being a trusted source of information for everyone in our industry.
This Boot Camp Series is an amazing teaching platform. Our goal was to cover the basic essentials of what we have come to expect from new members in the technical departments. Everything from the chain of command, what to expect on set, set etiquette, and life as an independent technician; followed by hands-on tutorials with the latest and most essential equipment. We hand-picked industry professionals to instruct this course because these are the people in the field our attendees could end up working for. Beyond learning the expectations they also get an amazing opportunity to network with their peers and professionals in the industry.
The doors opened at 9 AM and the attendees began to flood into the studio. Each person had to sign in while being greeted by our staff as well as our sponsor, Barbizon, who were so unbelievably supportive in this event and we cannot thank them enough. After check-in, the attendees enter the studio to LED lights color changing across the cyc wall with music bumping, a way to wake everyone up and get excited, not to mention the free coffee from High Point Cafe. They all were seated on the cyc floor to put them right in the middle of the studio. Six other instructors and myself sat in front of the room ready to get started. It’s not easy speaking to a crowd of people, and most of our instructors are “behind the scenes type of folks,” so public speaking is not exactly our strongest talent. However, each instructor supported the next and we ended up having a great opening introduction. The magic really happened once we broke the attendees into groups and had each instructor cover a station to teach hands on. We had seven stations:
- Basic Electric Distribution
- Basic Rigging
- Proper Staging
- Lighting Instruments
- Truck Safety and Procedures
- Basic Kits and What to Bring on Set
Some of these stations may have seemed introductory, but a lot of what we wanted to teach beyond the basics were the little things every technician has had to learn the hard way.
This Boot Camp was a success as we reached our goal to teach a large number of people a basic understanding of how the departments operate, why they operate the way they do, and some hands-on training to give them a great head start the field, showing them they can feel confident when the opportunity arises.
Being in a position to support the community to train or teach the knowledge I have learned over the years is not only something I like to do, but feels like something I must do. I believe that by supporting our creative community and technicians we are strengthening our city. If production companies can find quality crew, gear, and locations here, as well as great people that are willing to go above and beyond to ensure they have a successful shoot, we are almost guaranteeing their return. Our hope is that the attendees spread the word about an amazing experience with Expressway Cinema Rentals presented by some of the hardest working professionals that we have had the pleasure to work with in the industry.