Team Calf Rope | Nick Hess, Key Grip
Calf Rope Crew Position: Key Grip
What first inspired you to pursue becoming a Grip?
I wouldn't necessarily say it was "inspired", but more passionately pursued. Ever since dedicating myself to following this career path, I've been hungry to experience all aspects of "film life". I'm really inspired by those in my field who can rock multiple positions onset and are versatile...that's who I want to be!
What was your first-ever experience on set and what do you still remember most about it?
My first experience on set was on a set of a syfy-dystopian film, so it happened to start in this SICK mansion! It was my first "real position" on a crew - I'd been hired to boom op without any experience..the director was kind enough to give me a chance even though I had no experience. It opened the door for everything that came after...
I remember walking in and just freezing. "Nick, you're on a film set. A real film set..." My mind was exploding and freaking out at the same time out of sheer excitement and nervousness. I watched as various crew and cast members were rushing about prepping the shot on the very first scene and I couldn't believe I was a part of it finally - a dream come true!
Who is your all-time favorite filmmaker and why?
Hands-down Stephen Spielberg...for sure!
Everything that man touches turns to gold - you know of you see his name on it somewhere it'll be top notch. Before even knowing they were his movies, I grew up being drawn into his world. The film's I chose to watch over and over again, the film's that I have the most memories of - all turned out to be his films. And as I grew up and started caring about films - my passion grew for them - I've just always been naturally drawn in by his storytelling on a screen.
Tell us about a recent film or TV series that has inspired you.
One show that I happen to stumble upon recently is on Netflix called, The Movies That Made Us.
It has been really eye-opening and inspiring to see some of our most beloved, timeless films in whole new, behind the scenes light!
So many of them began with low budgets, studio issues, cast and crew drama, being told they were "going nowhere"....and yet, still got made, and are now HUGE! That's saying something to me - it's saying when there's a group of people who come together passionately about something they believe in - magic happens.
It was amazing to see and I can only hope I’m blessed enough to find myself on a set of something timeless....who knows, maybe that's already happened (*hint-hint wink wink - Calf Rope*)
Without giving away any *spoilers* describe your most memorable moment while being on the set for Calf Rope?
There was a moment that was truly breathtaking on set - and unfortunately, it's one that can't be revealed due to spoiler warnings - but what I can say was that it was truly magical. That whole day everyone on set, cast, and crew, just had this sense of professionalism and urgency...knowing how important this scene was and everyone was just on point.
But the memory that truly stands out about that day was a single snapshot I have in my mind of everyone...other than actors onscreen...EVERYONE, huddled together around this small screen, being completely and utterly wrecked by the amazing things happening on set. There was just a sense of "film family" and camaraderie that was truly special and I'll never forget it.
What did you learn most from being on the set of Calf Rope?
What I learned most on set was that when creative freedoms and experimentation are allowed - some truly magical moments happen on film. Allowing the actors to have multiple takes and try what they feel their character is saying in different ways, allowing the DP and camera team to take creative liberties on a unique angle or try something new...basically allowing voices to be heard and creativeness to be expressed - things come together better than planned!
Without revealing the context or which character says it, what is your favorite line from Calf Rope?
"I hope you get fifty hundred bucks!"
What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue becoming a grip?
Just keep trying. It can be so easy to be disheartened or lose hope in this industry...rejection after rejection can have you really questioning what you've chosen to do. Don't let that consume you - keep trying. I went 5 years, after graduating from film school, with no more then TWO projects...it was rough, I questioned my worth, I questioned if I chose right, I questioned my own passions. But I kept applying and pursuing - and one day, BOOM, door after door began opening and I'm SO happy I didn't give up on my passion!
How can people best keep in touch with you?