Location Managers Guild International

Winter 2018

The Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) is the largest organization of Location Managers and Location Scouts in the motion picture, television, commercial and print production industries. Their membership plays a vital role in the creativ

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18 • LMGI COMPASS | Winter 2018 G U I L D I N T E R N A T I O N A L TM LMGI The stunning three-day drive took us across the breadth of Argentina and up into the world's second highest mountain range to a remote South American town where we rode the ski lifts to a jagged ridge and looked down on the backs of condors. I got a mountain army unit to bring mules to schlep the gear, the shoot was once delayed by a blizzard, one crew member fell in the snow and had to be stretchered down. And not a single frame was used in the CAREER FOCUS Jonathan Slator: A Life in Film final cut! Back in LA, Halloran kindly spread my name around. I was soon getting calls to scout—a job I love to this day. I wasn't a complete newcomer neither to the industry nor to scouting. In the fall of 1972, I arrived back in the UK after a brilliant trip through the Greek islands, tanned, happy and broke; wondering whether I'd have to resort to teaching to make a living, the career for which I had trained. A friend told me the BBC needed scene hands. Next morning, I was rattling the latches on the supervisor's office and so began a lifetime of checkered and thrilling and occasional nightmare labors in the varied world of film, TV and commercial production throughout the world. The BBC had superb training opportunities. They offered secondments: transfers between departments. I landed a spell in camera and joined a three-man crew as clapper loader and general factotum. We dashed around doing human-interest pieces, ready at any moment to respond to a breaking story. We shot 'single system' reversal film. There was a mag stripe 28 frames behind the picture frame, an editor's nightmare. As the sound man slalomed the Land Rover through London traffic toward the studio, I sat in the back, my arms deep in the changing bag, sweat pouring from my brow as I struggled to pry the exposed film from the spool and avoid the two terrors of the job: a. unwinding the film and b. unwinding the film so poorly that it sprang like a coiled snake creating static and thus 'flashing' (exposing) the margins of the celluloid. If we got the film back to base by 4 p.m., the lab could print it in time enough for the editor to hack the story together for the 6 p.m. news. Invariably, the finished product was miles out of sync, as the hapless cutter wrestled in vain with the gulf between image and audio. Sadly, and perhaps foolishly on my part, my path to becoming a DP (or lighting cameraman as they were known in England) was thrown off course when I accepted a chance to train as an assistant All photos courtesy of Jonathan Slator/LMGI I was working as an AD and occasional stunt driver on the second unit of Highlander in Buenos Aires when producer and former location manager Kevin Halloran arrived at the hotel. We hit it off and, despite the fact that I left him with the bar bill, became close friends. Toward the end of the shoot, we needed some VSFX footage from high in the Andes. I lobbied hard for the gig and was soon riding shotgun in a cube van across the pampas to Bariloche. Slator and Johnny Wally, 1975

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