With a non-jaundiced eye towards the ‘reel’ veracity of show business Owen Marsh, SOC fuses the perfect combination of humor, wit and truth as seen through his viewfinder over the decades.
Owen Marsh was one the of Founders of the Society of Operating Cameramen in 1979 (now the Society of Camera Operators), and served as the first co-president of the SOC during its formative years. I followed Owen’s path years later, and I’m proud to call him a friend.
This popular book was first published in 1991, but some years later Owen’s publishing house went out of business and with it his original manuscript! After reading his book again recently, I felt the necessity to republish it—Owen shared my enthusiasm. I then proofed and reformatted it into a new template with rescanned photos, and included a new section by Owen at the back of this book.
Michael Frediani, SOC
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Parking Lot's I've Eaten In
This book is a wonderful peek inside of the movie making sausage factory from a unique insiders point of view. Camera operators are at the very center of the movie-making process. They stare at the screens fabled beauties from three feet away, looking for the little things that may detract from the scene, sometimes reassuring the uncertain and sometimes pretending they are not there, all as required to get the shot. There is no one more intimately connected to the actor at the moment of performance, more privy to the Director of Photography's intentions, more likely to overhear the conversations of the stars between the moments when the camera rolls. To have a long career as a camera operator is to see it all from a very privileged seat.
Owen Marsh had a long and wonderful career as a camera operator and in Parking Lot's I've Eaten In he shares some of the experiences gleaned in the course of his adventures. there are stories galore and peeks into what it's really like working on film production. If you're in the business you will recognize his tales immediately. If you're not it's a fine way to find out what it's like being on the set.
Hilarious and heartfelt
This book piqued my interest because its author was the camera operator on 'Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,' one of my favorite Martin Scorsese movies. Then I found out that he had also worked on classics like 'How the West Was Won' and 'The Brady Bunch,' and I was even more intrigued. No ghost writer to make the prose more generic and palatable here. The book has lists, poems, enthusiastic punctuation, onomatopoeias, and industry jargon, and that’s a big part of why I loved it.
On pre-Internet movie sets, the cast and crew didn’t have much to do in their downtime so they would entertain themselves by learning the local customs, pulling pranks on each other, and generally wreaking havoc. Marsh’s stories of racing golf carts into hotel swimming pools, finding creative ways to order a drink in Utah, and indulging a director who requested to be rolled up in a rug in order to “feel” the scene (among many, many others) really brought the era to life for me, and made me wish I had been there. Anyone with an interest in film history should pick up this collection of priceless Hollywood stories.