A Good Day to Die Hard

I have never stayed in one place longer than two years. I have always moved on to a new thing. I started my work life as a sound engineer working on radio at the age of 18. Within 6 months I had resigned to start working for a company that offered me more opportunities. I was a kid and I treated work like school and I was very bad at school.

But within a few months of working at the new company my then boss, a very well known celebrity gave me the biggest break of my life. I had joined him in the August just after my 19th birthday and I was a punk kid who would skip work and just layabout. But I was good at mixing his soundtracks for the slide tape programmes we used to make (yes I am that old) and one day, In February he made me the office manager in charge of scheduling and bookings as well as mixing and eventually programming the shows we made. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. I never missed another days work with him except the day my eldest daughter was born (although I did work that evening on a show we were doing for a big corporate client). Essentially he gave me a purpose, he gave me responsibility and more importantly he gave me a work ethic. Years later when I had moved on I went back to see him and I asked him what on earth had promoted him to push this punk kid into even more responsibility and take the chance that he did. He said he had seen the potential in me and that all I needed was to realize it and things would be okay. Well he was right. 

It’s been almost 30 years since I left his employ and I have done many amazing things in that time. I have travelled the world. I have toured with a rock band around Europe and I spent many many nights and days making movies. But to get back to the core of this piece. 

I worked for 18 months at that job and was forcibly enlisted in the South African army for two years before going back to that same company for two more years.  In the meantime we had moved away from slide tape and into the wonderful world of linear editing. I was now developing my skills as a cameraman and an editor. As the company grew so too did my skill set but eventually we were stuck in a rut of making corporate videos according to a set formula and I knew it was time to move on. Which I did.

To a company that produced high end video for corporates. I also ran a series of video walls which were for hire and for permanent installations all within the same company. I was still mixing, shooting and editing but I added the technical staging side to my skill set and that too came to an end two years later when I was offered the position of editor, cameraman, mixer and director for a TV company that I had been doing freelance mixing work for several years.

Now I was directing, shooting, editing and mixing television inserts. My first job right off was to interview one of South Africa’s most famous old school singers and I was terrified but I pulled thru and things went a lot easier. Two years later and I had a falling out with the boss man (who actually left the business to grow cut flowers up north because of the fallout)  and I was for the first time in my life, unemployed. 

Time to go freelance. Woohoo. It was magical, one day camera hire turned into a two day edit hire and a one day mix hire and I was working my ass off but I wanted more. I wanted something different. A friend of mine, a writer friend of mine was writing a big 13 part 48 minute television series for the national broadcaster and would on occasion ask my opinion on certain things in the scripts and I would give it to him. It was here I discovered my knack for story. In fact because of my ‘help’ with the scripts I got the gig as editor on the production. My first. What made it all the more terrifying was the fact that I was going to be cutting this on a non-linear edit suite, the EMC2 system. I was the first editor in the country to cut drama on a non linear system and it was extremely interesting to be at the forefront of the technology. 6 months later editing was finished and I managed to wangle my way to post sound supervisor on the same job. This time I was using the brand new Avid Audio Workstation and life was good but that too came to and end and I moved on after the production to be an online editor for hire for a big facilities company.

But the company I used to work for before doing the drama, came calling and I went back to the corporate world for, you guessed it two years. I was freelancing as an editor Camerman director mixer guy for a while and eventually I started my own business with a friend of mine, the writer friend of mine.  We were very successful at that, it was the halcyon days of my corporate life but it was also the beginning of my love affair with filming and editing and mixing live music concerts. I have worked with many great people and when my two years of running a business  with my friend and I went back to being a freelancer I continued to do that too. And then 5 years ago today I started working at a company that allowed me to work in TV Drama again and I loved it. In fact I loved it so much I stayed for 5 years. 

But that 5 year tenure came to an end today as I have decided to go back on my own. Back to being a gun for hire. This is the longest I have stayed put in a company and guess leaving is going to be the best thing I ever did. And I’m terrified. 

But I see the potential in myself now more than ever and I can handle the responsibility much easier now I’m all growed up. 

So here’s to the next two year cycle, let’s hope it brings much happiness and lots of work that I can be proud of.

Peace love and vomit