When you Produce things in LA, there is no shortage of gear houses, big and small. You can find anything you need even with the smallest amount of notice. The same is mostly true in Portland too, only, there are only a couple of reputable gear houses. One of the best? Gearhead Production Rentals. Why you say? Oh, let me tell you why. Here are the 4 reasons they are always my first call on a film project in Portland.
5 Reasons to Call Gearhead Production Rentals
1. They seriously know their stuff.
I can’t tell you the number of times I have called there not even sure what it is I’m looking for and they help me come up with a solution that works AND (this is a really big AND) fits within my budget. They are true problem solvers and always make my job easier. If that is how I feel as a Producer when calling them up, I can only imagine how awesome it is when a DP or Gaffer gives them a ring. Everyone there has worked in the industry, you won’t find any former doctor’s office secretaries answering the phone and trying to guess what a C-stand is. Joel Stirnkorb is a co-owner and working DP, just like so many of his employees who are also commonly found on set.
2. They never half-ass it.
I have rented gear from a lot of places. And you know what sucks? When you had a very specific list from a DP and you gave it to griphouse, and when they got to “2 inch plastic red tiger” on the list, they saw they didn’t have that and tossed in the “2.5 inch wooden blue tiger” instead. INFURIATING. Because now, I am explaining to the DP, whose entire plan revolved around the red tiger, that I did ask for the red tiger and the gear house didn’t think it was a big enough deal to mention it. And maybe the DP believes me, maybe, but probably not. This never happens when you work with Gearhead, because they always call and confirm if the exact item is unavailable – every single time. They’ll also stay late to make sure your truck is packed perfectly, and everything is in operational, fine working order. And their gear is always pristine – no muddy sandbags!
Why send the PA to Gearhead when I can go and get at least 5 minutes of pure entertainment from the Gearhead dog crew. On any given day you’ll find between 3 and 10 dogs of all shapes and sizes roaming the warehouse. It is seriously the best! If you want a sneak peak of the dog crew, check out their Instragram – it is loaded with all the dogs doing their dog thang. Some even donning the iconic, aforementioned Gearhead apparel. For funsies, here is Frodo rocking his crew shirt and Cleopitra wrapping cables.
4. Thank the Tooth Fairy for Third Thursday.
Okay, the Tooth Fairy, or God, or whatever higher being you believe or don’t believe in. Tiffany, the manager at Gearhead is particularly great at fostering connections, creating networking opportunities and all around just encouraging everyone to have a good time. Every third Thursday of the month, the griphouse is open for happy hour – with beer on draft and open pinball machines. Yes, I said machines plural. So, puppies, pinball and pints – do I even need to go on? Some weeks the fire pit is lit – it’s always a good time and a great way to grow connections with local film crews.
5. Three words, Mini Gear Expo.
This is one of the coolest film events in Portland every fall. Gearhead hosts vendors from every area of the business…blimps, helicopters, camera support and even transpo! A little bird told me that this year they are expanding the vendors to cover even more departments. It’s an all-day affair with food trucks, booze and live music. Many don’t know it, but Joel Stirnkorb, Co-owner extraordinaire is an accomplished musician as well. You’ll see his band and more, plus live demonstrations and activities and the party always goes well into the night. Bring the kids too, there’s something for everyone. This year, Mini Gear is happening September 8th, mark your calendar and watch for event updates here.
This whole thing sounds like an ad – but really, these people make my job easier and my life better. And here’s where it gets mushy – these people have also become my gosh darn friends. So, next time you are going to make a film in Portland, hit me up for an intro to not only the best grip house in town, but some of the best people as well. Until then, scope out the dog crew on Instagram – you won’t be sorry.