In honor of the Olympics, what if film crews had to audition their members by holding Olympic style events? Or what if the best from each film crew went head-to-head to earn medals?
Walkie Relay (4 by 400m)
If there’s a position most vied for, it’s the set production assistant position. What better way to test a team of PAs than to time their ability to get a walkie to set? Film Offices in Oklahoma have laid out the following scenario: at the start of the race sits the AD trailer, with a case full of walkies. 400 metres away, at the finish line, sits an actor in a picture car, unable to communicate with the film crew around him. 4-person PA teams strive to get the walkie from point A to point B in the speediest and most efficient manner, without sacrificing the duties of lock-ups and first team whereabouts. The PA team with the best time gets hired.
Dolly Sprint (10m)
Dolly shots are some of the more difficult to obtain, particularly if the dolly grip or AC isn’t at the top of their game. This celebrates the fastest of dolly grips and focus pullers, as both work together to obtain a quick shot while maintaining focus.
For the grips that are not known for their speed and miss qualifying for the Dolly Sprint, there is an event celebrating their brute strength: the Shotbag Shotput. Fairly self-explanatory; grips must be able to chuck a shotbag 50m to a nearby C-stand.
*Bonus points if shotbag lands on the high leg of a C-stand.
There aren’t enough steadicam ops to go around. To remedy this, interest is being generated by unions in the form of Synchronized Steadicam competitions, with preliminary matches being held in the auditoriums of film schools. This celebrates the grace and methodic nature that being a steadicam operator requires, and celebrates the best Steadicam Ops in the world, along with raising awareness.
Boom Pole Vaulting
“It’s the pole that counts,” Alfred Hitchcock* once said in an edit session about a crappy boom pole that nearly ruined the audio for a particularly quiet and tense scene in The Birds. The pole was hollow, weak – and in the arms of an equally weak, unsteady boom operator, the pole shook and the operator attempted to compensate, creating loud “adjustment” noises throughout the dialogue.
Since learning this lesson, directors who are concerned with the quality of audio in post production** put potential boom ops to the challenge in boom pole vaulting. This not only tests the integrity of the pole, but the strength of the operator.
Company Move (200,000 meter)
The biggest event at the Production Olympic games is undoubtedly the Company Move (200,000 m). Transpos from around the world battle the elements, potholes, unpaved and uneven ground to move an average sized basecamp (1 hair/makeup trailer, 1 wardrobe trailer, 1 honeywagon, 1 AD trailer, 3 actor trailers) a distance of 200,000 meters. The first transpo team to successfully set up their camp wins gold.
Australia, New Zealand, and the UK need submit to the rest of the world’s standards and adopt left-hand driving to avoid catastrophes.
- 200-extra, Civil War Era Wardrobe Challenge
- 5k Individual Freestyle (Electrician rigs 5k solo)
- G&E Breakfast Dash (Catering)
- Locations vs Hail Storm
What other events would you like to see at the Production Olympics?
DISCLAIMERS & CREDITS* Creative liberties were taken to generate Hitchcock quote
Dolly Races photo credit
Thanks to Marie for Boom Pole Vault Training Image
** Weak Boom Ops fear not, only two directors in the history of film have ever been concerned with post audio quality
I am not presenting myself as some Photoshop Wizard. It’s just for laughs, folks! Thanks to Gunner for inspiring this silly post.