One of my early, clear and vivid memories as a young impressionable child of 8 years old happened early one Saturday morning, in 1973. While watching the cartoons, with a large bowl of Captain Crunch as my only morning companion, a mesmerizing, rotating, globe appeared on my television. It was CBS’ ‘In the News’, a two minute topical news programme that was shown during ‘toon time’ back in the day. My mouth agape, I watched attentively as one of the world’s greatest dancers (Rudolf Nureyev) performed jump after jump, turn after turn, from one end of our tiny b&w television screen, to the other. It was the most athletic, yet graceful thing I could ever have imagined. From that moment, I was hooked. As far as I was concerned, Newark, NJ had just created its black Rudolf.
FLASH-FORWARD to today.
No, I hadn’t become the black Rudolf - although the skills I learned had allowed me to teach dance in London and Paris. I was, and still am, living a pretty standard life - no wife, no kids, and no boring 9-5 job. I own my own piece of the American dream (in London), and had recently purchased another in the South of France. Life was sweet. But as every Buddhist knows, nothing last forever.
Quicker than you can say Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg (yes, this is a real word), my near 5-year relationship took a huge turn south. Not wanting to be subsumed by the magnitude of disappointment that flowed through my body, I rekindled the interest in my first love – film. ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute’, I hear you protest, ‘you started off saying that dance was your greatest love’. Listen people, I’m writing an introduction, not a novel! But, for completeness I will back track.
FLASHBACK to 1983.
I was active in the drama club, marching band, jazz band and colour guard (if you don’t know what that is, I ain’t going to explain it). Like the ‘Jeffersons’, my family had moved on up to a small town called Verona. I was hanging out with Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Asians (both South Eastern and Far Eastern), Italians, Irish, Armenians, Russians, and White Trash Americans – you know, one big Benetton ad. That year, I saw 2 things that changed my perception of dance forever – Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Bob Fosse’s All that Jazz.
Thriller is a masterpiece in its blending of modern pop-music and story telling in the short-film format, while All that Jazz, showed the world it was possible to be creative with camera positioning when dealing with movement – the editing of the audition scene has been replicated over and over in pop-videos and feature films.
For a while – while whenI was still teaching dance - my main interest was how film could be used as a medium to enhance movement. But as time rolled-on (and I could no longer do the splits), film, as a form of communication, has become my primary interest.
FLASH-FORWARD back to 2009 (whoosh)!
Yeah that’s me in the corner, the sad-looking black bloke, heart broken, rocking back-and-forth, while I cuddle, in trembling arms, the Canon HV20 that the ex had given me for Christmas. That Canon, which until a couple of years ago was the sweetest piece of machinery that the average person could buy, became my new best friend. It turned my frown upside-down and I went out and starting using the camera whenever possible, learning as much as I could about the art (or is it a craft?) of filmmaking.
While I still use the Canon HV20, I have recently purchased the Canon 550D DSLR, which is another sweet piece of machinery – just in case you didn’t realise, Canon is a leader in the prosumer market.
So what’s the point of this website, you ask? Got me, I just want to share my experiences, frustrations, hints, tips, and daily musings with you, and this seemed liked most logical way of doing it.