Every time on Oscar night, I dream of walking out on stage to collect my gong for best Cinematographer or even Director. Or for that matter, picking up a BAFTA too! Amazed The Revenant didn’t get best film! Still Spotlight sounds really good and will be going to see it soon.
Above pic – not quite The Revenant, but here we are (me in the shades) about to shoot the closing scenes of my epic horror movie, The Weredog! Woof Growl!
Writer, Director, Producer, Cameraman, Editor etc etc, just trying to look cool. And that’s when ‘cool’ mean’t cold: which we were, standing posing for a pic in Hogback wood! Pic by David Leslie
Pic below A Summer shoot for ‘Rocko Baby’ starring Bob Hammond, (long time best mate ,actor, talented musician and collaborator on many productions) a film about a tyrannical film director, vainly attempting to shoot and complete one scene, but constantly thwarted in the process. It was a comedy? Well, we had a good laugh making it anyway!
One of my movies a violent short entitled ‘Two For The Golden Gates’ was screened (as a runner up in The Ten Best Competition) at the NFT on London’s Southbank. What a thrill that was, I’d never seen 8mm film blown up so big. Wow!
I suppose its nostalgia that prompts these musings, but it’s also my long time passion for the art of cinema too.
Anyway, in my teens (antediluvian times) whilst cajoling friends to appear in my cinematic creations, I was fortunate to meet a couple who were involved in the film biz. One whose father was a sound recordist (foley editor) and the other was an assistant film editor. This led to me visiting Elstree and Shepperton studios, walking around sets in awe, then spending a day watching the editing process and viewing takes on a Moviola machine. Later we went out for lunch with the director whose horror film we’d been hacking. I don’t remember the title and maybe it was too horror bubble for release! Anyway, a fascinating glimpse into post production. And when a pair of coconuts were brought home by foley editor junior, I remember clip clopping them together and coveting said nuts as if they were precious antiquities. Nuts, yes I know, but just being around the movie business, albeit briefly, for me was pure magic!
Back then we were kids having fun, long before the WWW. How much easier it is now, from a technical perspective, to make films with the wealth of digital equipment available. The long late nights spent editing both film and audio, trying to sync wild recorded dialogue to the picture. My oldest mate,Bob Hammond, remembers well me throwing a wobbly and a screwdriver at the screen (2-3am in the morning) when after painstakingly trying to marry up lipsync, it went out yet again.
Below, me applying make up to Michael Humphrey (who I haven’t seen for years) and that might be because we, literally, burnt him at the stake! Hahaha! I shot the process of the change to the beast in stop motion adding hair etc shooting a couple of frames and so on for the transformation. Spirit gum was the adhesive, Camp coffee was used for blood (great in B/W) and virtually all makeup and some props, came from Tommy Cooper’s brothers joke shop in Slough high street.
Here are a more stills from some of my productions.