STEVE CHIVERS LIGHTING CAMERA
Steve Chivers is a colourful character - both inside and out.
Covered from head to toe in tattoos and piercings, he’s famous for his
battles with airport metal detectors.
’He’s extraordinary-looking, which some people find frightening. He can
be scary, however. If he thinks you’re a wanker, you’re dead in the
water,’ says his close friend and colleague, Daniel Barber, director at
Rose Hackney Barber.
Barber, who like others, claims Chivers is a ’sweetie pie’ beneath his
hard exterior, raves about his camera skills. ’The way he orchestrates
lighting is incredible. He’s one of the most creative you can get,
particularly when he strays into the fantastical - that’s where his real
skills lie,’ Barber says.
This is much in evidence in Chivers’ work for Becks beer, which won him
a Golden Arrow for cinematography at the recent British Television
Advertising Craft Awards. The ad features beautiful shots such as
raindrops on waterlillies and silky, shadowy horses.
Chivers’ interest in film began when he was just nine years old and the
proud owner of a Super-8. He went to art school where he completed a
degree in fine art film and then began a career working on promos. He
has worked with all the greats, including U2, The Eurythmics, Elton John
and Diana Ross. ’Ms Ross’, as Chivers calls her, would only go ahead
with her latest video if he agreed to light her, according to one
Chivers, 40, claims the experience on promos was invaluable.
’It was the early days, there was no MTV, and what we did was
experimental and pioneered many of the techniques which have entered
music vocabulary today.’
A multifaceted character, the dog-lover, diver, former teacher and
romantic - he ran away to get married on a desert island off Australia -
has also worked on award-winning features and shorts. Lisa Campbell
ANNA DARBY LOCATIONS MANAGER
Anna Darby, founder of Lavish Locations, barely has time to take a
breath as she helter-skelters through the history of her 13-year-old
locations company. Her conversation is littered with ’luvvie-isms’ and
interrupted every few seconds by a high-pitched, throaty laugh. It’s
like talking to Jilly Goulden on speed.
Darby established Lavish Locations after she’d been begged time and time
again to hire out her own Georgian home. ’I used to have lots of people
knocking on my door asking if they could use it for commercials or
films,’ she explains. ’After talking to them, I realised how difficult
cold-calling can be. You’re either told to sod off or are invited in for
tea and scones. I thought I’d be rather good at it.’
She now has more than 15,000 locations on her books from semi-detached
houses to grand stately homes. ’I’ll be driving along a road and see a
potentially brilliant house for a Persil commercial or something with a
New York apartment feel. I’ll screech to a halt, knock at the door and
tell them their house is absolutely perfect. They often think I’m
’Anna is a genuinely eccentric human being,’ laughs Storr Redman,
managing director of Eclipse, the production company. ’It’s one of the
few businesses where someone like that can survive and do well. She also
has one of the best collections of private houses on offer.’
And Darby’s kept the talent firmly in the family: husband Simon is one
of the top locations managers in town and her two daughters also work in
So what’s the secret of her success? ’I love what I do, darling,’ she
shrieks. ’I love the film business. It’s very sexy. I love selling my
business to production companies. I love seeing round people’s houses -
especially if they’re famous. It’s like Through the Keyhole. A very
famous person once realised she’d left her knickers lying on the bedroom
floor when I was looking around. And I caught her trying to stuff them
in her bed. It’s brilliant!’ Harriet Green
VIC HAMMOND GRIP
Vic Hammond has seen it all. From crocodile-infested waters in Thailand
and snake-ridden jungles in South America, to all-night drinking
sessions with the likes of Michael Caine and Roger Moore. Whatever the
tale, the garrulous cockney loves to share it.
’You won’t find a better story-teller than Vic Hammond. Sometimes he
gets carried away and you have to go over and break the session up, or
otherwise the whole production would come to a standstill,’ says Stephen
Gash, managing director of Stark Films.
Hammond’s story-telling skills are renowned in the industry. ’People are
always telling me to write a book,’ he acknowledges. ’I’ve got thousands
(of stories) because I’ve got a good memory for happy times.’
Originally a plumber’s mate, Hammond entered the world of production by
driving a mini-bus for the crew on Randall & Hopkirk Deceased.
To begin with, the ’luvvieness’ scared him off. ’It seemed a strange
world to a macho 23-year-old from Shepherd’s Bush,’ he laughs.
But before he knew it, he was hooked and was thrust into the position of
grip on The Eagle Has Landed, after working as an assistant.
Whatever he has worked on - whether it’s big budget films like Out of
Africa or commercials for Camel or WH Smith - Hammond has found
On one recce in the Amazon, he became concerned that there was no doctor
or serum to treat snake bites. When the producer stated that this was
just a rehearsal, he quipped: ’Aah, but do the snakes know that?’
’He’s the biggest joke-teller on earth and, for many, would be the first
person on the crew list. He keeps the crew laughing no matter how tough
the conditions. He’s the type of bloke you’d want alongside you in the
trenches,’ says Saatchi & Saatchi’s head of TV, Mark Hanrahan.
Crews have also relied on the strapping Hammond to negotiate with the
locals in far-flung climes.
’He gets booked for dangerous jobs or the ones where you have to lug a
150lb camera up an 800ft hill. If you get into any nasty scrapes, you
definitely want him on your side,’ adds Hanrahan. Lisa Campbell
PAUL FRECKER WARDROBE
While most men are a nightmare on a shopping trip, Paul Frecker would be
a dream companion. He’s rated as one of the industry’s top stylists.
A favourite of Jonathan Glazer, Frecker is known for being highly
creative, strongly opinionated and very particular. He’ll soon put you
in your place if you dare to interfere with any of his creations.
’I once tried to get involved but was told ’what do you know about
frocks, you’re a producer?’,’ remembers Lizie Gower, managing director
’His real skill is being able to dress actors so that they look very
natural - like they’re wearing their own clothes, not something that was
bought half an hour ago.’ To achieve this, Frecker often insists that he
meets the actors before compiling the wardrobe. ’People and outfits
aren’t interchangeable. Some agencies don’t understand that. They
haven’t cast the character but they still want the outfit ready. But
everything has to be believable - a stylised reality,’ he says.
Frecker does not have too many pretensions about his work. Some of it he
says is art, some is just to pay the mortgage. ’When a friend described
my career recently, she said that I flick though the clothes rail at
Joseph for a living,’ he says, revealing a dry sense of humour.
Yet one of the commercials which he is most proud of showed how creative
he can be. A futuristic Mazda ad involved Frecker creating weird and
wonderful garments out of rubber and gauze.
Now 40, he began as a stylist on The Face and i-D magazines, working
with acclaimed photographers such as Nick Knight and Juergen Teller.
He then drifted into TV commercials via pop promos, with Tony Kaye
approaching his agent for a top stylist. ’It was a baptism of fire,’
remembers Frecker. ’I thought if I could cope with that, then I could
cope with anything.’
Few would disagree. Lisa Campbell
NOBBY FOLEY CATERER
It doesn’t get much better than receiving a compliment on your cooking
from chef extraordinaire, Michel Roux. Not that location catering’s
chirpiest clown needs a reason to smile. Nobby Foley (aka ’a real-life
garden gnome’ and ’a young Frank Dobson’) is guaranteed to put a beamer
on even the most tired and hungry face.
Nobby’s reputation for cracking one-liners at all hours precedes
’He can always be relied upon to serve up a joke or five with the
breakfast,’ says Francis Castelli, a producer at The Mob. ’As long as
there’s an audience, he’ll be performing.’
You begin to wonder if he’s in the wrong vocation. When Robbie Williams
so enjoyed his roast dinner that he popped over to say thank you, they
ended up swapping anecdotes. And he’s shared a joke with Paul Hogan,
Burt Lancaster and Jack Nicholson, who all enjoyed his nibbles and
A Bermondsey boy, Nobby clearly enjoys talking as much as he enjoys his
food. As Charlie Read, production manager at BFCS, remembers: ’He’s such
a fast talker. He’ll talk the hind leg off a donkey.’ Showmanship aside,
it’s his accommodating nature that has won him so many fans in the
industry. Becky Swindale, production manager at Annex Films, remembers:
’He’ll do anything for you without sleep and without complaining.’ And
Castelli remembers a Jameson’s Whisky shoot that required Nobby to cook
en route on a coach journey to Devon: ’He helped by being flexible.
He’s never been known not to deliver the goods.’
It is clear to everyone, including Nobby, that he loves his job, even
when it takes him to far-flung, cold locations. ’I love working
It’s like having a holiday,’ he enthuses. ’You get put in a lovely hotel
and meet friendly people.’ Jenny Watts.