What is a Best Boy, and What Actions do they Perform on Set?
The Best Boy is also known on the film set as the Assistant Chief Lighting Technician, the Assistant Chief Lighting Operator or the Assistant Chief Lighting Electrician. Originally coined from “The Gaffer’s Handbook,” the name “Best Boy” refers to the designated best electrician on the team according to the Gaffer. When it comes to logistics and paperwork related to the Lighting Technicians on set, the Best Boys are in charge. They work as liaisons between the production office and the lighting company to ensure proper information is relayed to the Gaffer in adequate time.
Best Boys will order lighting equipment, ensure timely delivery and make sure it’s at the right place at the right time. Damaged lighting equipment or any equipment that malfunctions when in use is also the responsibility of the Best Boy. Acting as the right hand to the Gaffer, the Best Boy role is a senior level position that that varies with each production based on the size and scope of the film.
Best Boys act as managers or supervisors to the lighting team ensuring that hours worked match with time sheets and that written orders are provided to properly assist the Gaffer in the coordination of all lighting technicians within the team. Best Boys are the liaison between the Special Effects Director, the Art Director and the First Assistant Director. This is a demanding role that requires long work hours in an often unpredictable environment.
Best Boy Skills
Best Boys require several skills in order to effectively work with the lighting team. Generally, a lighting technician will spend several years in the field before they become the Best Boy. Rarely are Best Boys under the age of 25 as the experience required to take on this challenging role is generally upwards of 5 or 6 years on set.
Best Boys are highly organized and able to work well under pressure. They communicate with other production departments and act as motivators to the rest of the lighting team. Because Best Boys liaise with the lighting company, it is vital that they have a firm understanding of the lighting technology and electricity involved. Additionally, Best Boys are required to have working knowledge of the Health and Safety procedures on set to ensure they keep themselves, and their team members, as well as other on the set safe.
CBC Arts uploaded a fantastic short video on what exactly a Best Boy is:
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