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Re: Your industry choice
- To: "Martin Banks" <martin_banks at qm1.mvbms.com>
- Subject: Re: Your industry choice
- From: "Robert Lovejoy" <rlovejoy at bellatlantic.net>
- Date: Sun, 3 Aug 1997 09:48:45 +0000
- CC: telecine at xyzoom.alegria.com
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Mr. Banks queries:
> Anyway, I was wondering if any of you would like to regale about how
> you got started in the business?
Always a good question. I had never considered telecine at any
time up to my start. Like many people, I was basically ignorant of
what the film-to-tape process was.
It all started back in college. I originally wanted to be an
EE, but my freshman physics teacher was operating on a different
continuum than I, and I had discovered the campus radio station, and
with it the realization that Syracuse had a pretty good Television &
Radio department. I switched majors forthwith and graduated in 1969
with a BS in TV-R production from SU.
In a nanosecond, Uncle Sam sent me a letter of greetings. In
order to avoid the chance fate of drafted soldiers, I enlisted in the
US Army with the promise of a MOS (Military Occupational Specialty)
of 84C20 - Motion Picture Photographer. Sure enough, right after
basic training I was sent to Ft. Monmouth, NJ and learned the Army
Way of making movies. Fortunately, my college knowledge of the
subject gave me a great advantage and I graduated with honors from
Signal School. (An interesting sidelight - they almost made me an
officer back in basic training based on a battery of aptitude tests
they ran, but I deliberately flunked the OQI (Officer Qualification
Inventory) by truthfully answering such skewered questions as "Would
you rather lead a group of men on a forced march or stay home and
listen to classical music?" - but I digress.
I spent a year in Viet Nam as a combat photographer. It was
1971. I shot everything from "Psychological operations" to base
stand-downs to firebase mobility; in short, many things, and I got to
work with all sorts of cameras, from the filmo to a very nice Arri S.
I even got a little lab experience. Actually, it wasn't an entire
year; I remember having a few months off duty to play in a USO band
which toured the country with an anti-heroin message. It was quite
After I was discharged from the army, I hooked up with that very
same band. We all agreed to meet in Colorado and try to make a go of
it as a real rock band. As most musical careers go, it didn't, and
after three years I was in a band in New Jersey and decided it was
time for a day job. Remembering my college training was in video, I
began freelancing for large corporation video divisions, working
camera, audio, lighting, or simply grip work, whatever I could get.
Most of the work was for various AT&T branches around New Jersey, and
the pay was decent - $100 a day!
On December 12, 1976, I was married. Before long, I realized
I'd be needing steady regular income, and I opened a trade magazine
which had a complete listing of Manhattan postproduction houses.
I wrote up a resume detailing my video and photographic experiences
and started at "A". This is now 1979...
When I got to "D", I got a response. Devlin Videoservice, at
that time up on 57th St., asked me in for an interview. As it turned
out, Devlin was one of the (very) few facilities to hire the
untrained. They saw that I had both film and video experience, and
they hired me to be a backup for their colorist.
It was harrowing at times. They ran a tight ship and there was
little room for mistakes. They taught me how the facility was
connected together, they taught me basic video engineering, and they
taught me how to run a Rank and a TOPSY.
Their senior colorist, Giorgio Malfitano, was my mentor for a
year and a half. He had a lot of patience with me, and he saw my
potential. I was encouraged to stay after hours and practise on my
own. He taught me about color balancing and the quirks of the TOPSY.
We didn't have secondary correction back then.
As patient as he was, Giorgio left one day for better
opportunities. Suddenly I was promoted to senior colorist. I don't
think one can ever forget their first session on their own! For me,
it was for NBC and there were eight clients in the room! Somehow I
got through it just fine, and I still remember that heady feeling...
And that's how it started for me, some twenty years ago in
Manhattan, or was it thirty years ago in Syracuse? I'd like to
publicly thank Sandra Devlin and Roman Culka for my start in the
business, with extra special thanks to Giorgio, who is currently
performing his magic at DuArt in New York. Thanks are also due to my
Parents for sending me to college, and to the US Army for helping me
be all that I could be.
I tell you, Martin, that was not a simple question! Sorry for
the long answer, but I enjoy bringing out some details... Please
keep us informed of your progress!
+++ thanks to Donna Chapman and Pacific Radio for support of the TIG in 1997
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