Friday, September 08, 2006


Tuesday night, out with Work Buddy and Grand Lad, reminded me how little time I spend in Soho* now. Which is really no great loss.

Back in the day, working for the animation studio, post-production would regularly be done at one of the larger – more expensive facilities houses there – even though as our software was upgraded, with a little more time on the schedule, and at far less expense, it could have practically all be done in-house.

When I suggested this to the producer, her response was that the commercials’ agency team/clients liked to go to the edit suite. Right.

I assumed these were the same agency team/clients who would usually turn up late on the last day, concentrate more on the menus provided for something to eat, and then um and ah over how large the pack shot should be. As far as I could see, their appearance simply reinforced what useless bastards they were.

What the producer really meant was that she liked to go to the facilities house, sit in on the edit and entertain the people that would drop by. Bless her.

Sure, it was fun the first day, but the excitement pretty soon wore thin. Most of the time I’d sit there going through the list of scene elements as the editor comped them together and fannied around with tone and highlight percentages. (These were scenes that had been composited at the studio and then stripped down to their separate elements for output).

Usually the edits were where the commercials directors made the choices they couldn’t be arsed to make during the actual productions. It’s then that you discover perhaps the six most expense words in the English language: “We’ll sort it out in post.”

Out of animation, pals have their book launches in Soho – I think there’s another one coming up in October, sometime – and there have been preview screenings to attend in poorly air-conditioned screening rooms. But nowadays it’s simply a cut through, to get from one part of London to another without having to get bogged down on the tourist-stuffed thoroughfares.

Even then I find myself watching which way I go, looking out for people either I was at college with or worked at animation studios, or design companies, or documentary companies with. Not because I’m some miserable git who hates everyone, but because as work colleagues the only thing we really had in common was the work. And the few encounters I have had in the past... haven’t been so great.

* For those who don’t know, Soho is an area in Central London bounded by Oxford Street to the north, Shaftesbury Avenue to the south, Regent Street to the west, and Charing Cross Road to the east. Film companies set up shop in Wardour Street, then in the 1960s the sex trade found a home there.

The area is a mix of production companies, facilities houses, publishers, sex shops, theatres, pubs, private members clubs and nightclubs.

Whereas SoHo is New York is a contraction of South of Houston Street, in London the area was once a Royal Park in the Middle Ages and the name apparently originated from the hunting cry “So-Ho!”

So, you learn something every day. And it’s a good job the cry wasn’t “Spear that cunting deer!” Although...


At 9:20 pm, Blogger wcdixon said...


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