Manage a team of movie-set Electricians.
What does a Best Boy Electric do?
As Best Boy Electric, you’re the chief assistant in the electric, or lighting, department of a film studio. You work beneath the Chief Electrician, who is also known as the Gaffer.
How did you come to be known as “Best Boy”? Well, in the early days of cinema, before most film jobs became unionized, it was common practice for the various departments at movie studios to share workers. Two departments, in particular — the grip and electric departments — often pooled resources: When the head of one department temporarily needed extra help, he asked the head of the other department, “Can I borrow your Best Boy ?” And so the term “Best Boy” was born to describe the second-in-command — man or woman — in the grip and electric departments.
Now that most film jobs are unionized, the lines between departments are more rigid and less permeable. As a result, there are two kinds of Best Boy: Best Boy Electric and Best Boy Grip.
When you’re the Best Boy Electric, you’re the Gaffer’s go-to guy or gal when it comes to overseeing the team of Electricians setting up the lighting for a film. Your typical duties as Best Boy Electric include supervising and hiring lighting personnel, keeping records of lighting department expenditures, and monitoring lighting department inventory for repairs. You’re also in charge of creating and implementing lighting plans for each scene in a film, alerting the film company of potential electrical problems, and ensuring the safety of Electricians. Basically, you’re in charge of all the people, processes, and paraphernalia that are required to bring “lights” — as in “lights, camera, action!” — to a film.