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Influences and inspirations

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Operating movies is like a sport
Michael Chapman Film-maker
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The confusions and breakdowns and this and that were practically nothing to do with me, I was happy as a clam, you know. The boat sank one day. All sorts of things happened. The orca... I was standing there with the boat sinking down there, holding the camera saying, 'Well, please somebody take this damn camera before it gets...' You know. All sorts of things happened, but it didn't... it was fun for me. I had a marvelous time. Marvelous time. And, it was just really... just fun the way sports is fun, in a curious way. It really was like a... like a sport – like a long, long game of some kind, you know. Football game or baseball game, whatever, that went on week after week after week. It was wonderful! And... and I was winning, and I won, you know. It's that simple, really. I wish I could... I wish it were more profound than that, but it was really almost boyish in the... in the sort of sportif... you know, sports and aesthetics all together. It was wonderful. Who could resist? And I think, you know, saying... there's almost nothing more that can be said about operating than what I've said because it is... operating is utterly unverbal. It's as... it's as close to... to action painting art as anything can be, you know. You can't talk it. You can only do it, you know. And so there's really... there's almost nothing to be said about it. You can sit down with people and say, ‘Look, you should've let the head be here and you should crop it, and you should put the...’  You know. But basically you're just out there doing it, and you can do it or not, and you have a... a vision of how the frame should be or you don't. And if you do, it's heaven.

Michael Chapman, an American cinematographer, has had a huge influence on contemporary film-making, working on an impressive array of classic films including 'Taxi Driver', 'Raging Bull', 'The Lost Boys' and 'The Fugitive'.

Listeners: Glen Ade Brown

British Director of Photography and Camera Operator Glen Ade Brown settled in Los Angeles 10 years ago.

He has been working on features, commercials and reality TV. He played an instrumental role in the award-winning ABC Family series "Switched" and is also a recipient of the Telly and the Cine Golden Eagle awards for Best Cinematography. He was recently signed by the Judy Marks Agency and is now listed in her commercial roster.

Tags: sport, operating, confusion, breakdown, fun, curious, boyish, non-verbal, vision

Duration: 1 minute, 44 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2004

Date story went live: 29 September 2010