Tim Grady Adapts to Changes in the Local Film Industry
For nearly 25 years, H. Timothy Grady has enjoyed a slow ride to the top in the film industry. From working in the animal department on Ace Ventura, When Nature Calls – no doubt, he witnessed his share of “nature calling” doing that job – to his ultimate evolution into a highly respected location manager and scout, as well as a much sought after producer, Grady has loved every minute he’s spent in the film business. Whenever he talks about his “work,” there is little doubt from the passion in his voice that he’s just getting started.
“Working on Ace II sparked my interest in the industry,” states Grady, the owner of the Charleston-based Ebb & Flow Pictures. “Not only did I take care of the animals, I did the timecards, ordered the food and basically did all the schlepping. But I also started learning my way around the industry and how it all worked.
“I learned some important lessons from my friend who helped get me that job,” Grady continues. “She told me, you are representing me at this job, so you show up on time, ready to go. And you don’t ever say, ‘no.’ You make it work…figure out a solution.”
Following his friend’s advice worked well for Grady. “Because I showed up on time with a can-do attitude and handled myself well, I got to go to set almost everyday,” he continues. “It was an amazing experience.”
Another hard day at the office for Tim.
Photo by Bill Lea (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons.
Even though there was nothing glamorous about his first foray into filmmaking, he was hooked. So when the project wrapped, Grady did everything he could to get a job on another film project.
Never saying “no” soon meant saying “yes” to driving a motorhome for Charleston Production Vans. For this recent Clemson University graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management, driving a van initially might not have appeared to be an ideal fit. But Grady used the position to add to his knowledge about the film business and to make contacts in the industry.
“My experience driving motorhomes across the country was invaluable to me because I learned how the professionals get things done, from high-end commercials and still shoots to independent films and low budget industrial videos,” he notes.
Later Grady went on to work as a production assistant for nearly a decade, taking any job he could get in the film industry including those on a number of major projects that filmed in the Southeast. They included, The Patriot (in which
he was thrown into the ocean), The Notebook, Radio in Colleton County, and Divine Secrets of
the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in Wilmington, N.C. Each project provided him a new experience and new set of skills.
Even as film production ebbed in South Carolina, Grady found his flow in smaller, but higher paying projects. “Today, the jobs I worked on driving motorhomes are my bread-and-butter projects…the jobs I prefer to do. I stay busy producing catalogs, as well as coordinating and production managing commercials and print ads.
“As a location manager and producer I have a unique perspective amongst many other producers,” notes Grady. “I’ve moved up slowly, having done every single job along the way. So I understand exactly what it takes to do every job. Once you understand what people need, you can give it to them…you can do your job much better.”
Now Grady even enjoys a little glamour in his work, especially in the magnificent places he visits and the wonderful people he meets along the way. Today, his growing list of clients include Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Jude Connelly, Volvo, Mercedes Benz Sprinter, Norm Thompson, Appleseed’s, Lunch & Recess, Engine Pictures and many more.
“I’ve witnessed some of the best in the business work, and I’ve learned a great deal. I want whoever is in charge of pushing a project forward to have all the tools they need seamlessly, without having a hassle. This work is not always easy, but I try to make it easier for the people who deal with me.”
He concludes, “I enjoy going to work every day. In fact, I can’t wait to get to work.”
USS Yorktown, Patriot’s Point Maritime Museum, Mt. Pleasant, SC. Photo by Thomas Fields on Unsplash.
Second Presbyterian Church, Charleston, SC.