Mission driven
Mission driven
Posted by Pen Hadow

Monday, 02 Feb 2009 00:00

Of a bewildering array of thoughts swimming around in my head today, one has struck for the surface, indicative of the gel that holds us together.


A few months back Chip and I were being given a tour of Pinewood Film Studios in west London by one of our supporters. Located in the grounds of a once-smart country estate, an assemblage of old Nissan huts, vast film-set hangars, higglety-pigglety offices, artisans workshops and editing studios are now the only visible legacy of some of the best-known British films. In a private cinema there we saw a short film about Pinewood.  And in it was one particular interview with a modeler who made buildings a 1/100th scale … and I remember him saying:


“I love working here, it’s been my life.  Pinewood may not look much on the outside, but it’s the people that have made it. We are sometimes given projects to do that are unimaginably ambitious, the film director knows exactly what he needs, but relies 100% on us technicians to create the vision he’s after.  And there’s always a deadline – film day for that bit. And you know what?  Everyone here, EVERYONE is mission driven.  It simply has to work on the day. The day the film crew and actors are scheduled to be on set.  And being a part of that creative energy, that focused commitment, on getting the end-result is what I LOVE.  It’s an unbeatable buzz.”


And I remember thinking at the time, how similar pioneering expeditions are to the film-making industry. It’s the mindset of the team that is one of the defining factors of a successful outcome – not just the more visible team on the ice, but equally, if not more importantly, the team backstage.  And the Catlin Arctic Survey has such a team, which is good to know because we have some hills, and possibly the odd mountain, to climb backstage before Film Day.


The other thought is about how all the bigger projects I’ve been involved with have developed their own catch-phrases, their own jokes, their own ‘language’.  Some corkingly funny ones have sprung up from our escapades in Eureka, Little Cornwallis Island and now Broughton Island.  To be honest, they’re not funny on the page.  It’s all about the timing, the intonation, the mood of the moment.



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