Katie Gail Smith is a dedicated grip from the Denver market and has been an active member of the freelance film community for over 6 years. After transitioning from stage lighting, she’s worked on national commercials for top Fortune 500 companies, popular television shows, and feature films. Katie gaffed her first feature, Army & Coop in 2016, and is due to gaff her second, A Girl Like Me, coming in July.
[0:49] Katie’s personal background
- Born in Fredericksburg, TX
- How Katie ended up in Colorado
[1:23] What is a grip?
[3:00] How Katie got started on her career path
- Got her degree in Theater Arts to pursue a career in Shakespearean acting
- Went back to school at Colorado Film School to pursue cinematography
[9:31] The virtues of Tyler Martin
[12:57] What does it take to be a grip?
[14:24] Discussion of upcoming trends in lighting, and comparison between various lights
[17:27] Katie’s take on the merits of film school and networking
[20:30] How Katie started working in the industry, and how freelancers get work
- “If someone recommends you …”
- “Fake it until you make it” as a segue into furthering your skillset
[23:04] Why live in Denver? Where does the work come from in this market?
- “Colorado is wonderful, the people here are wonderful, it’s beautiful here, I love the weather.”
[24:30] Discussion about the quality of life in Colorado versus other markets
- The quality and varying types of work, especially in documentary filmmaking, has a great appeal
[26:57] How Katie deals with travel
- How it can impact relationships
- The support available in the film community
[28:40] Discussion of in-state vs. out-of-state work
- The importance of networking
- Examples of being flexible in your duties can help
[31:38] How do you plan for slow times?
[33:21] Part-time work
[37:00] Recent and current work
- Crime show recreations
- Music videos; Issues new single Tapping Out
- A Girl Like Me coming up later in June
[40:21] The perfect job…
[43:20] When things go wrong…
[46:24] When things go really, really right…
- Paulie Meehan
- Jon Wignall
- Juan Brown
[51:07] The best books
- Impossible to determine the best book ever, though Katie has some suggestions…
- In the industry — Running the Show by Elizabeth Gill
[55:25] The best advice ever received
[57:02] The best advice for someone wanting to become a grip
[59:59] The best lessons from the past year, and over Katie’s career
Links and Resources
- Katie Gail Smith's DMP Directory page
- IMDb credits for Katie Gail Smith
- To contact Katie, you can email her here.
- Be sure to check out Katie’s website: The Grip Girl
Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!