“We get a script Wednesday night, it shoots Friday, and is on the air Saturday night,” Korn says. “In that timeframe we parody hundred-million-dollar movies and elaborate music videos, and create political satires.”
Grips are staffers responsible for setting up equipment that supports the camera on a set. The key grip is their supervisor who oversees lighting, rigging, set construction, and camera movement. For his work on SNL, Korn has been honored by the Television Academy with Emmys for his contributions to the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series during the show’s past two seasons.
Korn started out as an English major at Hamilton. During that time the College offered one video production course and two in film production. “There was minimal equipment, a couple of Bolex hand-wound film cameras, a few barely operational lights, and a Sony Portapak video camera,” he says. “We edited our 16mm film with primitive cutters, basically razor blades on a hinge. It was as basic film production as you could find, but you were forced to use your ingenuity and powers of invention.”
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Despite these limitations, a number of students — Korn included — went on to careers in film production. Six months after graduation he found steady employment as a production assistant at a TV commercial production company. He segued to jobs as a union grip, started running his own crews, and established a clientele doing TV commercials. In 1996, that experience led to his current job.
“When I first started at SNL, we’d have spots on maybe half the shows. Now we have a weekly gig,” he says. The New York native lives in Nyack, N.Y., with his wife, Kim Coons ’79, a retired Mercy College administrator.
What’s next in his career? “Retirement,” Korn says.