Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Hasta Mañana

I make no apologies that for the second time in as many blogs, events have happened that I find myself writing a tribute to yet another of my young friends that has passed away prematurely. Not many readers will have known my friend, and cameraman, Richard Steel, but we all at one time or another lose someone close to us. The fact we grieve and talk about them is testament to our feelings for them.

“Hasta Mañana”. Richard would regularly sign off a telephone conversation with this, the literal translation being “until tomorrow”.

It is impossible to sum up Richard in one short blog. Professionally on set I could always rely on Richard to work hard and deliver the goods. He and I would regularly lock horns on set, simply because we were both passionate about our craft. But then the next day I would be helping him build raised vegetable beds in his garden, or have dinner together with Dawn, his surviving partner. Nothing ever got in the way of our friendship.

Recently he asked me to help write a biography for him in respect of his BAFTA membership application. Maybe this best sums him up:

In terms of leaders and followers Richard is very much in the category of the former. He constantly demonstrates a thirst for new ways to achieve what the director wants and regularly surprises his fellow industry professionals. I will often hear from Richard about new technology and a cutting edge approach to capturing a scene, only to find shortly after that others have copied his ingenuity and before long it has found it's way to rapidly becoming the accepted norm.

Apart from his ability to think outside the box, he has a rare combination of skills, from early development of creative ideas, through production and the edit process, be this in digital or film. This gives him an ability to understand the entire collaborative process and make everyone’s job that bit easier. But one of the main qualities that Richard possesses is his generosity. Never one to guard his niche jealously he is in his element in sharing his skills and expertise with those on their way up, reaching out a hand to nurture new talent in a very competitive industry”.

Richard and I met in the late ‘90s and if it hadn’t been for his enthusiasm and drive I doubt I would have returned to film making full time.

In 2004 one of the many highlights of working together was to film the Dalai Lama’s visit to Scotland.

But Richard was only one half of the package. The other was Dawn, his partner. They were great together, very comfortable with each other, and Dawn always has a smile for everyone. We are lucky to still have Dawn in our lives, and I know that Dawn still has us.

Hasta Mañana Rich.

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