You must be wondering... what's a gaffer and how do I know if it's right for me?
A gaffer is the head of the electricity department on a movie/TV set. Their lighting work often sets the mood and provides meaning to each scene that we see!
What Do They Do?
Work closely with the Director of Photography (DoP) to understand what lighting they need for the shot
Measure and assess lighting levels on set
Organize and pitch a list for the kit (equipment needed for the desired lighting) to the Line Producer
Appoint a Best Boy (gaffer's assistant) to hire the crew and order the gear
Find the quickest ways to change lighting setups in between shots
Make sure electrical setups are safe and comply with laws
Communicate ideas of the DoP to the lighting crew
What things should you be good at to be a gaffer?
How Much Do They Earn?
The average salary for a Gaffer in Canada is $50,000 CAD.
The average salary for a Gaffer in the U.S. is $36,000 USD.
Where Do They Work?
Gaffers most commonly work on film and television sets, but they can work in virtually any environment that requires a lighting setup!
They can also be found at:
Lighting for theatre/dance productions allows the audience to see what's happening on the stage - even from very far away.
The right lighting at concerts can make a world of difference. Lighting sets the mood and ensures that the artist can see their fans and where they're going on stage.
You'll Enjoy This Career If:
You are great at communicating! 😄 Gaffers need to talk to many people and make sure they are carrying out the DoP's vision for the shot and be able to explain complex plans for lighting.
You like tinkering with electricity. ⚡ You need to have a deep understanding of electrical circuits, cables, fuses, and more.
You are organized. ✨ Gaffers lead and schedule large crews, work within a budget, and meet deadlines.
Find A Different Career If:
You don't like sudden schedule changes. 📅 Weather is one of the many factors that can affect a shoot. Gaffers need to adapt quickly to get their setups ready.
You don't enjoy travelling to different places very often. 🌎 Filming locations can be local or across the world. Gaffers have to travel and stay in new locations for weeks or months depending on the project.
You want a standard 9-5 job. 🏢 Gaffers often work at unusual hours due to different filming schedules and need to be constantly available to accommodate those schedule changes.
Does being a gaffer sound like an interesting career path for you?
If it does...