Best boys, key grips, and tailors, oh my!
This week while we’re celebrating celebrities and all their glorious accomplishments, it’s the perfect time to also recognize the hundreds of other people who work their asses off to help make your favorite movies, but who don’t get nearly as much attention as actors, actresses, directors, or even writers.
I’m talking about people like Anthony Cady, who was key grip on La La Land, Martine Bertrand, who designed the alien language in Arrival, Olivier Fontenay, who was the colorist on Lion, Jean-Paul Chreky, script supervisor for Hell or High Water, Melissa Forney, the hair department head on Hidden Figures, Becca Kenyon, property master of Moonlight, David Elmes, first assistant camera for Hacksaw Ridge, Susanna Brown, Manchester by the Sea’s tailor, or Eric Riedmann, best boy on Fences. One of these films will win Best Picture this Sunday, and none of these people will stand on stage as the award is accepted, though no one else would be able to either if it wasn’t for their contributions.
Filmmaking is, has been, and always should be a collaborative art. You want a singular voice, go read a novel. Films are made better by the myriad hands that help to form them, they are elevated to a more universal level by the plethora of perspectives, opinions, and skill sets that give them shape. Emma Stone is a phenomenal actress; but can she rig lights? Barry Jenkins is an outstanding director; can he do makeup? Damien Chazelle may have written the best film of 2016; does he know all the ins and outs of foley mixing?
My point is – borrowed from Hillary Clinton – film takes a village, usually a big one, and for every face we associate with a particular film, there are dozens we never see. In the following video made by L J Frezza for the fine folks at Fandor, the unsung heroes of cinema are given a solo. Frezza takes us through a handful of the most important professions behind-the-scenes to show us what they do and how it is vital to the filmmaking process.
So while you’re preparing to spend three or four hours showering famous people with more praise, take a couple minutes to recognize the efforts of the men and women who go to work every single day just like you so that when your day ends, you’ll have something magical with which to unwind.