• Gerry

From Prams to Dollies

Terry writes:

“I read, with a great deal of interest, Patrick Woodcock 's contribution to issue 32 of the Newspage, and not only do I agree with some of what he said, I would go even further and reiterate three of his points:-

1. I came to the conclusion some years ago that more and more people belong to movie-making groups simply to acquire, and show off their latest bits of high-tech equipment, and to use them ad nauseam, whether the subject needs them or not. They set out to impress their audiences, rather than entertain them.

2. Yes! Patrick, a lot of time is spent talking about equipment, rather than what to do with it. If we were a gardening club, would you turn up to every meeting just to talk about Spear & Jackson 's latest stainless steel spades, forks, rakes, hoes, trowels and electric lawn mowers? NO. You would want to talk about GARDENING. And the subject of gardening is just as far-reaching as movie making.

3. Why indeed would you belong to a movie making club if this is all we talk about? You do not need a PHD in nuclear physics to make a decent short film. I firmly believe that films are made in that small space that we all have between the left ear, and the right one. Most of film making is basic common sense. Technical skill is something that I admire greatly, probably because I have so little of it....! But it doesn't stop me from making interesting movies. Thank you Patrick, it's nice to know that I am not just "a lone voice crying in the wilderness".


Now, back to films. Looking carefully at the photograph, what do you see? No! It's not an amateur film-making club out on location using an old pram for a tracking shot. The man in the pram is Ossie Morris, one of the most distinguished cameramen of the post-war era, and the man in the dark suit is none other than David Lean, one one of the greatest directors this country has ever produced, and they are seen filming 'The Sound Barrier' in 1952. But, look at the man in the foreground with his hand on the pram. His name was John Howard Godar, and he was the focus-puller on the set. During the making of this film, he was charged and convicted of murdering his girlfriend. He was hanged for his crime. So, there is a lot of drama behind the camera too! As we have talked a lot about high-tech equipment, I wonder if the membership would agree to the purchase of an old pram for OUR tracking shots? Or could we just pinch a Tesco trolley? If it was good enough for David Lean......well then???

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