Thursday, 29 March 2012
60 SECONDS INTERVIEW: Ian Robins
MANY hours sat in front of the TV may have given Ian Robins square eyes as a child, but it also led him in to a career as a cameraman and photographer.
With more than 20 years experience in the world of visual media he has seen all the advancements in technology and is a champion of the digital revolution.
Now 47-years-old, Ian runs a successful production company. He still enjoys experimenting with new techniques and ideas and has just entered the Flash Film competition which forms part of the upcoming Page to Screen Festival to take place at Bridport Arts Centre in April.
Ian lives in West Compton near Dorchester with his partner Sarah, and his three motorbikes.
WHAT drew you into world of film making and photography?
As a kid I spent a lot of time sat in front of the TV. We only had three channels back then of course but it was enough to grab my attention. At school I was only interested in art so I went to art college to do a pre-degree foundation thinking I’d earn a living as a graphic designer. As it turned out, I hated graphic design but attached to the photography course was film making, which I loved and that’s the degree subject I chose.
WHAT was your first job?
I started off as a runner at a production house in Soho, London. The bottom of the ladder. They weren’t interested in my degree, they wanted people experience, so I gained lots of that by hanging around on shoots and meeting people in the industry. Whilst at NBC news we interviewed Richard Branson. His advice to anyone trying to get a job was never take no for an answer. I’d applied for an ITV job via an agency but got turned down so re-applied myself and got the job. I worked for ITV in news and current affairs and Dorset was part of my patch, which is why I ended up in this area. Now I have my own production company, Albion Video Productions, so I do everything – shooting, editing and producing.
HOW many films have you made?
Hundreds. My first film was about politics. If I wasn’t in film I’d perhaps be involved in poiltics. I’m interested in making a difference, but I thought I’d probably make more of an impact through film and TV – My first film was about the true story of a man who was arrested and tortured by the Nazis and wrote a secret diary. That led me to work with Amnesty International. As a member of a film co-operative in London I shot the first programme for Channel Four’s Cutting Edge series about the Poll Tax riots in Trafalgar Square. I got beaten up twice that day, once by the protestors and once by the police.
AND the latest film you’ve worked on?
Most recently I’ve entered the Flash Film competition as part of the Bridport Prize. You have to choose a short story of 250 words written by a shortlisted writer from the Flash Fiction category, and turn it into a 60 sec film. I’ve spent my life making short films – news items are only ever a couple minutes long, so this competition is right up my street. I’ve chosen a short story called “Filament” and if it’s nominated it will be screened at BAC on 15th April.
WHAT has been you most memorable filming experience?
I once spent three days with Dutch submariners playing war games in Portland, being hunted by Royal Navy destroyers and hiding beside ship wrecks. One of my favourite TV series was “Das Boot” and it felt like I was filming that. It was a crazy experience… living in the submarine and going to bed with a nuclear missile lying next to you.
WHAT other interests have you got?
Motorbikes, I’m obsessed with them. I have three at the moment – my latest is a Honda V-Twin. And I’m off to the Le Mans Moto GP and the Isle of Man TT races in June.
WHAT are you three all-time favourite films?
First is Sweet Smell of Success, a 1950s film noir with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. Then, Withnail and I, and finally I’d choose Oh Brother Where Art Thou? – I have so many favourites but these are the ones I’ll happily watch over and over again.