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A stagehand performs many different jobs for theater, commercials, films, and television production. The work is generally considered to be behind-the-scenes. Jobs generally include working with props, equipment and scenery and involve heavy lifting, stage setting knowledge and construction skills.
People who are interested in this kind of work usually have to be physically fit and be able to lift heavy equipment. Although much of the training can happen while working, prospective candidates need to know about the equipment and how to fix it efficiently. Advanced jobs might require previous training in carpentry or electrical work.
Props, also called stage property, consist of various small items that are part of an overall stage setting. These items can include things that the actors wear, such as hats or glasses. They can also include set props like rugs or furniture, or things that actors might use in a scene, such as bookcases or briefcases.
The job of a prop stagehand is to make sure the necessary props are where they need to be at the beginning of a scene. When the scene is completed, the stagehand usually has to remove those props, place them backstage, and replace them with new ones for the next scene. He or she might also have the responsibility of finding props for various scenes.
In television and film industries, a stagehand who moves scenery and equipment is typically known as a grip. Flats, or wooden frames for stage scenery that can be moved, are generally things a grip has to move and dismantle the most. A grip might also work with scenic designers to decorate or paint the flats.
A flyer is a theatrical stagehand who places scenery in the roof of the stage, the area above the stage that isn't visible to the audience, and then lowers it as needed. This stagehand might also work with lighting people or stage electricians, helping to set up lights and other duties.
Sometimes, a theater stagehand might also work with sound engineers to make sure sound systems are working. The sound system is typically very important to a stage production. Not only does the sound system amplify the actors' voices, but it also is used for music or sound effects in the production.
The number of jobs stagehands have usually depends on where they work. If, for example, they work at a studio or theater that belongs to a union, then jobs might be divided among all the stagehands employed there. Non-union employers will usually have each stagehand working on several different jobs.