The travels mentioned this month were filmed, mostly with a hand-wind Bolex 16mm. A one-hundred foot roll of film lasting 2 minutes 44 seconds.
In retrospect this meant short stories in the final product. Lots of them need to make 90 minutes of edited film. Then A&B roll edits and a release print to screen. Magnetic sound track proved cheaper and better quality than expensive optical soundtracking for a one-off print.
Today’s video cameras making story gathering a whole lot easier. What to do with the finished product?
I trust the following stories will be inspiration for other young adventure-seeking film makers. If I’d have known how difficult it was going to be, my project would not have got off the ground.
Our inspiration was the Californian surf movie by Bruce Brown called \The Endless Summer\. Filmed with the same equipment as what I used it was later released around the world on 35mm theatrical prints.
The problem with going down that road was “too many other people handling the box office money”.
Film distributing companies were not benevolent toward film makers either. Many filmmakers who tried this method failed to make much of a profit – apart from Bruce Brown.
\Aquarius\ must have impressed a few people in it’s day. I had a letters of introduction to a major film studio and another to Screen Gems (TV) in USA yet didn’t pursue either.
Also an opportunity to appear on a New York TV \tonight show\. Alas, I was homesick.
Did not follow up any of these or other opportunities.
They would have changed everything – not necessarily for the better either.
No regrets ever.
We’d just visited the office of \Skin Diver\ and had lunch with editors and their friends. It was not as fruitful a meeting as it sounds. The 35mm transparencies I left for publication were used under another person’s name, never returned to me or paid for either!
At the restaurant we paid for our own meals then left a tip, a great pile of notes on the table from a dozen people in the group. I was second last to leave and turned around just in time to see the last person pocketing the pile of notes and giving me a big grin.
Further up Sunset Boulevard was one of the first poster shops I’d seen. Speakers played Hendrix music onto the street.
I filmed a poster “F-ck Censorship” and included it in my documentary \Aquarius\.
Footnote: In 1973 The New Zealand film censorship board removed the scene (plus others of naked hippies in Hawaii) and gave the movie publicity value on the front page of the leading newspaper.
Highlight of a visit to what was then the best oceanarium anywhere, was not this monkey. It was a pair of killer whales.
On the same day I bumped into **George Meyer** a free diving spear fishing champion formerly from Canberra (ACT) and now living in California.
George and some friends were visiting the oceanarium.
What were the odds of bumping into the only other Australian I knew in USA? How it happened was even more remote. I spotted a tall blond haired guy in a red T-shirt in the distance and thought…. “I wonder if that’s George Meyer”? On closer inspection, guess who!
There’s a three page fold-out picture of **George Meyer** February 1968 \National Geographic\ – with one of the first **whale sharks** photographed underwater, Montague Island, New South Wales.