The Best Boy
Best Boy means chief assistant. The best boy can be the second in charge of any team, but the term usually applies to the lighting/electrical and grip departments on a film set. The two most common types of best boy are therefore:
Note: Best boy is a gender-neutral term, applying to males and females. Technically there is no "best girl", although some crews do use this term informally.
The role of best boy varies greatly depending on the size of the film production. In small sets it mostly involves helping set up equipment, etc. In large productions, where each team can consist of a dozen or more staff members, the best boy may be given more responsibility and help with some management duties.
The origin of the term best boy is unclear. There are two common theories:
- Best boy was a title used in early sailing and whaling crews, who were often employed during shore leave to work as stage hands.
- In early film days, different departments sometimes borrowed staff from each other. One department head would ask for another's "best boy".