- Set up scaffolding and other rigging for films, tv shows, and theatre productions
- Practical, hands-on work in an exciting industry
- You'll need attention to detail, a good head for heights, and the ability to concentrate for long periods of time
As a rigger or 'grip' as it is often referred to in the industry, you'll set up and operate any scaffolding, lighting rigs, booms and hoists for tv, film, or stage productions.
- Work closely with the team who design and build the sets, the lighting and electrics teams, and the rest of the crew
- Make sure the relevant elements are in the right places
- Ensure that they are safe and secure
- Move them from location to location as needed
- You might be involved in setting up platforms and pulley systems for stunts and special effects, or for moving scenery in and out of theatre sets
Your working hours are likely to be erratic, with long days during filming or live productions, including early starts, late evenings and weekend work.
As a rigger you'll spend your time moving equipment, working at heights, and sometimes working in potentially dangerous settings, so you'll need physical fitness, and excellent attention to detail.
Most riggers have a background in scaffolding or have worked their way up in the industry from junior roles to become skilled riggers.
You'll need to gain an accredited qualification in Advanced Rigging or Scaffolding from the Joint Industry Grading Scheme (JIGS) or an NVQ or SVQ, and you'll normally need to spend several years working with scaffolding to gain these. There are apprenticeships available in this area, so this may also be a good way to get started and earn while you learn.
Many riggers will be freelancers (as is the case for many workers in the film and tv industry) although there are some opportunities for permanent employment in theatres and locations with regular production schedules.
There are a range of different roles you can progress through from being a general Rigger to becoming a Chargehand Rigger where you'll manage a small team, to a Supervising Rigger where you might manage several teams, to a Head of Rigging or HoD Rigger where you'll oversee the whole of the rigging operation for a production.