When I was studying film and video in the salad days of my youth I used to have a friend named Dave. Tall, slender, red haired, punk rocking, cinema pragmatist Dave. Over the years he and I have have worked on project together, drank a lot of rum, gone to a lot of cons together and I cannot remember us ever getting mad at each other. If you knew me in my youth you would understand what an accomplish that latter bit was. Through all of the years though there is one thing about Dave that I have always valued…pragmatism.
In part I may have liked racing cars because my mind has always been racing. In the same way it used to RACE to conclusions (often WRONG) it also RACED to solutions. My cerebellum is often like the most complex erector set ever assembled, and on every project that was set before it my brain has always felt compelled to use every piece in the box. Ask me to build a camera mount for two or three shots and construction would immediately involve micrometers and lathes.
Dave isn’t like that. Dave is the Zen master of simplicity. He considers how the project needs to play out, how long it needs to last and what it needs to do and he acts accordingly. The best example I can think of is Dave one did a camera mount for a PANAVISON camera whose lenses were worth more than his house out of plywood from home Depot. It was strong, cheap, served it purpose and the pats were easily recycled into to future jobs. If I had been asked to do the same job I would have panicked about the value of the Camera and eith rented something heinously expensive and complex o built something that would have involved welding.
Another great trait Dave has is the fact that he is helpful, tempered with a complete lack of judgement. This is always served our friendship well, because whenever Dave saw that my brain was reaching for sixth gear when it should only be in third he spoke up.
“You’re making it too complicated.” he would say over the rim of his 7 and 7.
Whereas with anyone else I knew at the time I would have either ignored them or launched into a description of why I needed a space-frame truss to support a super 8 camera when Dave said it I listened. Not only did I listen but lost times I did what he suggested, and was better off for it.
Dave and I live a long way apart these days and don’t talk as much as we should but whenever I get into a situation like I have been in the last few days, caught in technical minutiae and making things to complicated I think:
“What would Dave do?”
In the end, when I listen to that question things tend to work out better in the end.