Location Managers Guild International

Fall 2017

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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Page 13 of 55

14 • LMGI COMPASS | Fall 2017 G U I L D I N T E R N A T I O N A L TM LMGI As far as I can remember, I always wanted to be in movies … Cue: Tony Bennett's Rags to Riches. And so starts a montage of my upbringing in Croydon, South London, in an Irish household full of love, laughter and sausages. Watching movies in the local cinema. Building "sets" in the garden with Star Wars figures, dreaming up stories … Whip pan to a Catholic boys school where we wrote CAREER FOCUS FADE IN: Living the Life of Reilly: The Career of David O. sketches every lunchtime with the intention of becoming the next Monty Python or at the very least, avoid playing rugby. Whistling through exams and then off to Leeds University to study English literature and language. I signed up for student radio and worked on my own daily comedy news show and soon discovered I was writing more about mid- '90s celebrities than I was about Chaucer, Orwell and the past participle. One afternoon, I was thumbing through some magazines and saw an article about the London Film Commission (now Film London). They were looking for interns and before long, I was working in the location library of a converted pub in Notting Hill with only the distant hum of reggae and smell of falafel and weed from Portobello Road to sustain me as I stuck photos together. After several years (they eventually decided to pay me), I was ready to make the leap to the freelance life … and promptly ended up working in a shirt factory where one can only describe my job as a shirt lifter. Betwixt the Oxford cuts and English spreads, I managed to get onto a number of film sets—first as a soldier in a little-seen film called The Trench (Daniel Craig kicked me in a scene) and then six weeks dressed in pink tights, hose and heels in the much- seen Shakespeare in Love (squint and you'll see me up in the gods of the theatre just between the lips of Romeo and Juliet as they kiss). I then worked as a runner on a short film, my principal job being to look after the late great Rod Steiger. My first question on seeing how tall he was—"How did you play Napoleon?" His immaculate reply, "I wore big clothes, kid." My first film lesson: nothing is as it seems, it's all smoke and mirrors and everything is easy when you're brilliant. One more week of being sent out to buy sky hooks and tartan paint and I was hooked. There was nothing better to do with an English degree than hang around a "building site" drinking tea, listening to dirty jokes and bad-mouthing the production team. Soon the shirts had run thin and I got my first job on Tomb Raider in the Locations Department at Pinewood Studios, courtesy of location manager Robin Higgs. I collated location photographs and soon found myself set sitting and scouting for additional locations. Like a pasty-faced London Irish Lara Croft, I was now climbing the crumbling (Pinewood) Temple toward the inner sanctum of a career in the film industry. At this stage of the film, the hero needs a mentor—a Liam Neeson or Morgan Freeman. I got the fabulous BAFTA award-winning location manager Nick Daubeny, who I am happy to say is still a good friend and occasional wine sharer. He worked on Highlander, several Bond films, A Fish Called Wanda and with Stanley on Eyes Wide Shut and had along the way, Adam Somner (1st AD to Scorsese, Anderson and Spielberg) and his brother Mark as his assistants. I worked on several films with Robin and Nick: What a Girl Wants, Timeline and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I then landed my first of four times working with Tim Burton. Charlie and David O. Reilly I've been privileged to work with some of my heroes: Tim Burton, Chris Nolan and Michael Mann. The common denominator amongst them, apart from immense talent, is an ultra-clear concept of what they want. David as Han Solo.

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