At Work With… Savy Hess, Grip / Gaffer
The ‘At Work With…’ Interview Series is our way of bringing you behind-the-scenes with the people and businesses included in our Texas Production Directory (TPD). We want to showcase the creatives that cover all levels of production experience, backgrounds, and geographies around the state. This week’s spotlight is on Savy Hess, Grip / Gaffer based in Austin and a Texan for just over a year.
What’s the most memorable experience on a project or production that you’ve had and what made it so special?
I started my career as a theatre technician, which means when I first started in Grip&Electric (G&E), I was an expert with a leko but had no idea how to use a C-stand. It’s funny how theatre and film are so similar, and yet so very different.
What are the skills required to succeed in your specific area of expertise?
You have to be a perfect mix of left-brained and right-brained. Film sets are one of the only places where the artistic and logical have to work together. As a lighting person, I have to understand the vison of the director and be able translate that into real life. You want the scene to be moody and cold feeling, let’s get some CTB gel. You want to create daylight at 11 pm, roll in the Dyno 1200.
Have you had an industry mentor or colleague that has made an impact on you or helped you along your career path? If so who, and how did they impact you?
Nearly everyone I have met in the industry has been super helpful and gone out of their way to further my career. As a woman in a male-dominated career, I am extremely grateful. Special thanks to Brandon Torres who let me play with his gear whenever I wanted; Ben Root who gave me my first job; Emma Berrigan, the best female role model anyone could have; and the guys at Aduro Studios who patiently teach me every day.
What advice have you been given that continues to be helpful in your work?
Know your worth.
In your industry, collaboration is the key to success. How do you best foster collaboration with your colleagues from project to project?
The best productions are the ones where you get to work with friends and the better you know someone the easier it is to work together. I foster collaboration by building friendships with my colleagues.
What tools and supplies can’t you live without in your job and why?
The snips on my multi-tool. I use them more than anything else; from cutting makeshift gobos out of gaffe tape, to opening snacks. They’ve got my back.
Why do you choose the Lone Star State as a place to live and work?
The weather, the culture, and of course the people.
Interview has been edited for brevity.
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