The old riddle that too many people guess wrongly goes like this: A father and son have a car accident and are both badly hurt. They are both taken to separate hospitals. When the boy is taken in for an operation, the surgeon says ‘I can not do the surgery because this is my son’. How is this possible?
So many people used to get this riddle completely wrong because they said the first thing that came to their minds: that the father was going to do the surgery. The correct answer of course, the mother, who is a doctor. It just never occurred to a great deal of people that a woman could be a doctor.
This type of riddle could be applied to just about any career or vocation, including the motion picture industry simply because men have dominated most of the jobs in that industry for over a hundred years. Well, things have changed and times have changed also. Women are now immersing themselves in all facets of the film industry including behind the scenes jobs such as Cinematographer, Key Grip, Best Boy and Gaffer, among others.
Joann Wong is a filmmaker from Malaysia and began studying classical music at 6 years old, writing at 9, won first prize at the Global Overseas Chinese Writing Competition at 13 and made her first film at 18. She immersed herself in hands-on filmmaking at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles and as an honor student worked with the likes of Bill Duke, Mathew Modine and David Oyelowo among others. She loved filmmaking in general (and still does) but realized that her path was in lighting and cinematography. To further her experience and skillset, she studied cinematography at UCLA and got involved with Mole-Richardson Company, the legendary epicenter of Hollywood film lighting workshops and master classes.
Since then Joann has worked on over 80 projects and participated in enterprises with recognizable names such as: Disney/Pixar, National Geographic, Condé Nast, Rudy Mancuso, Juicy J, Absolut Vodka, Jack Daniel, Buzzfeed, Ty Segall, French Montana, Def Leopard and Edison Chen. Joann has been either a Key Grip, Best Boy Electric or Gaffer on several features, including, Selfie Dad, Bloody Eyes, Acts of Depression and The F Happened among others. She has also worked on numerous music videos, short films, live events and commercials.
The Gaffer is the chief electrician in a motion picture or TV unit and the Key Grip takes care of lighting and rigging and the Best Boy is the foreman of the department.