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March 08, 2008

0 – 100 in 5 seconds

Working in the Motion Picture Industry* people are always wanting to know what it’s like making films, and more specifically how they can get involved.

The thing about making films [digitally or otherwise] is that there is an awful lot of hanging around. A great deal of preparation is required to get things recorded successfully. If you start working in this industry, you have to be prepared to hang around a lot.


Now this doesn’t suit everybody. People think: oh, what just hanging around? I can do that. But the catch is: you hang around for ages, then someone asks for something and you have to go from 0 to 100 mph in a couple of seconds. You have to know what’s happening, what point the production is at, who’s doing what and where they’re doing it. So you have to hang around and pay attention. You have to follow the action carefully.

As I said this doesn’t suit everybody, some people drift off into a world of their own and then take several minutes to get up to speed. These people don’t get asked back.

When you’re not hanging around you can find yourself in wonderfully bizarre circumstances. Last Thursday saw me wheeling the cameraman round in ever-decreasing circles, on a trolley, followed by the sound recordist, a cable-basher and two runners holding up the words of a poem the children were reading.


I really wanted to get the camera assistant on the trolley too, to pull focus, but the trolley wasn’t quite big enough, damn.


The hardest thing was to get the children to stop laughing and take it seriously. Oh! the glamour of it all.

*I spent ages trying to figure out where I fit in, I don’t work in television at the moment, I’m not “in films” because I shoot digitally. To say I make videos has connections with the Music Industry, which is not always accurate. I make moving pictures, though it might be misleading to say I work in the Movies. So I figured I was, generally speaking, in the Motion Picture Industry, even though that too sounds a bit grand.

Posted by john at March 8, 2008 01:24 PM