The film industry is not for sissies. You work really long hours, you usually end up all sweaty and dusty (which is never a pleasant combination) and you lug a ton of stuff around from place to place the whole day. You also very rarely get to see the picture you’re helping to create and the people you work with are a rare breed of interesting, quirky and often temperamental.
I’m addicted to the feeling I get, when all the elements come together perfectly and I am able to capture it. What I’m trying to tell you is that there is absolutely nothing glamorous about being on a film set. If you want to pursue that as a career, you must be absolutely 100% sure that it is your calling in life.”
Willie Nel is one of our country’s great directors of photography and one of very few people who can, with total conviction say that he can’t imagine doing anything else fora living. His eyes light up (pardon the pun) when he talks about the mechanics of bringing all the elements together and seems wholeheartedly in love with his job.
Willie has been known to be quite tough on set, but I suppose when you are chasing the sun, dealing with talent (referring to the performers) trying to realise a directors vision, listening to a producer pushing to make sure that no time and by extension money is wasted, I guess you really just don’t have that much time to be a nice guy. No-one can, however, deny that Willie is great at what he does and I can quite freely state that he is indeed one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.
He is a meticulous storyteller, who believes that he is more analytical than creative. Admittedly being analytical is a much bigger part of the job, than many young filmmakers would like to acknowledge and Willie keeps highlighting the fact that logistics is a major part of the film-making process. To make a good movie, you need a bunch of really talented people to come together with their egos set aside, to work towards one single end goal, which is the movie. When it happens, call it the magic of film-making and this is where many people fall in love with making movies.
Willie’s ultimate dream is to make movies with his gorgeous, equally gifted scriptwriter/director wife, who has played a part in delivering her fair share of commercials and movies to screen. She is currently in the process of raising funds for her latest screenplay, so this dream is not as far-fetched as it might sound to many of us.
We look forward to seeing work from this single address collaboration and will keep you up to date on Art-Movie-Book.
For more of Willie’s work go to www.willienel.com