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Nick Flowers

Nick Names

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I was musing about a shoot I was on many years ago - down a coal mine, for the National Coal Board, so the equipment had to be inspected and authorised not to make sparks (we recorded on a Maihac with a clockwork motor, the camera was a 35mm clockwork Newman Sinclair and the lamps were underwater type). ANYWAY, the director's real name is lost in the mists of time, but I do remember his nick name, which was Millet. He was small in stature and had a curiously rough, light brown texture to his skin, resembling, one must assume; a grain of millet.

 

That put me thinking of the various nick names, some cruel, some rude but all of them amusing, that abound for individuals in our industry. Gladys for a slightly fey male sound recordist (you know who you are, Graham), Bridge Tester for an overweight sparks, Rasputin for a dark and dangerous-looking sound mixer (undeserved, he was a pussy cat)...God knows what mine was but I'm rather glad I didn't ever find out. Any more out there?

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When I joined the BBC Film Department one of our tutors had a remarkable strange looking profile

and head so two of us nicknamed him Bodley Head ( strangely the name of a publishing house)

 

mike

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There was a reporter at TVS by name of Mike Rowbottom. This soon was changed to Micro Bottom (laughable in itself, as the gentleman had a fat arse), and then to the symbol  μ.

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I worked Super Bowl 39 with a truly funny guy from Boston,  Steve Katsos.  We were both utilities and worked together every day.  He gave nick names to everyone in our little group of technicians.  The movie, Weekend at Bernie's had been released earlier in the year so he called me Weekend for the duration of our time at the stadium.  Some people still call me that, years later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 7/22/2019 at 1:56 PM, berniebeaudry said:

I worked Super Bowl 39 with a truly funny guy from Boston,  Steve Katsos.  (text deleted)

 

I wonder if Steve Katsos ever worked in Italy? His surname is very like a rude word in Italian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There was also a cameraman whose penchant for lighting every scene very gloomily got him the nick-name The Prince of Darkness.

 

Gladys, the sound recordist who I mentioned up-thread, had the entirely understandable habit of bring a screaming cushion along. When the cameraman or director proved to be more bloody frustrating to the sound department than usual, Gladys would retreat to the unit vehicle, a six seater Ford Transit in those days, cover his face with the cushion and scream his impotent rage away. He would return refreshed and able to do his duty.

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2 hours ago, Nick Flowers said:

There was also a cameraman whose penchant for lighting every scene very gloomily got him the nick-name The Prince of Darkness.

 

I think he was Gordon Willis? I recall I read an interview somewhere where he admitted that he overdid it in The Godfather :)

 

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On 7/24/2019 at 3:06 PM, borjam said:

 

I think he was Gordon Willis? I recall I read an interview somewhere where he admitted that he overdid it in The Godfather :)

 

No, not as exalted as that - there are probably many Princes of Darkness out there. Alas, I can't remember this particular one's name, but I'm sure that it is not Gordon Willis.

 

While I'm here another recollection has just come to me. During a very long, slow panning shot the boom operator came into view from the right and exited frame to the left. He was admiring the view and was unaware that the camera was running. The cameraman's voice can be heard saying: "Hello David" as he passed through shot; which suggests that the recordist knew what was going on but couldn't be bothered to alert his assistant.

 

 A spark based at Maidstone was called 5 Watt, because he was not very bright.

Edited by Nick Flowers
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Here we go:

 

Working on a difficult US tele-movie a 9 week shoot

 

The first time director was always lost for words after a take

and offered no comment to the actors and just stared at them in a dazed state.

 

A very funny Australian lead actor nicknamed him Easter Island as he looked like

one of the expressionless heads on that lonely land

 

We loved it!!!

 

Mike

Easter Island.jpg

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On 7/24/2019 at 4:48 AM, Nick Flowers said:

There was also a cameraman whose penchant for lighting every scene very gloomily got him the nick-name The Prince of Darkness.

 

 

Gordon Willis.

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On the re-make of The Lady Vanishes we were on location in Austria. One evening the whole crew was dining in the hotel when a waiter appeared and called out, in heavily accented Austrian English, the best approximation of an English name that must have been spelled out for him: "Phone call for Mr. Slow C**t."

Dougie Slocombe was indeed not the fastest cameraman, and equally it was not unknown for him to be referred to in such terms. But to hear it shouted out like that ensured that much childish giggling erupted in the Sound crew and it has to be said the camera crew as well.

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We had a 1st camera nicked as old 20 frame, after he forgot to reset the frame rate after a chase scene. We had gone to lunch and came back and shot  and completed an entire 3 page scene before he realized his mistake.  

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