I was the original Director of Photography and the camera operator on the key scenes for "Superstition" (AKA "The Witch"), directed by Jim Roberson.
I shot and lit all the scenes for the entire opening sequence (about 8-10 minutes) of the film in one night, worked a couple of more nights on the show, and then had to segue to a paying gig as a Steadicam operator for Cinemobile on another show while Jim pressed on.
That we were able to shoot so much usable film in such a short amount of time stands as a testament to Jim's organizational and directorial skills.
He spent all his time with the actors, and left the cinematography and setups almost entirely to me.
Jim is one the best directors I have ever had the pleasure of working with.
The only discussion we had about the photography was that Jim (who is also a very fine DP) wanted me to key down the lighting to make the scenes darker, to which I kept replying, "any darker, and you will have to give the audience a flashlight".
In the end, Jim left me to do it my way, and the finished look of the film was exactly what Jim had envisioned.
Heather Locklear (who was just then starting her very successful acting career) was in part of the first's night filming (scenes that never made it into the finished movie).
I recently found one of the original crew call sheets for those first days of shooting (along with a promotional button), click here to view that sheet.
All the crew and talent on this show was absolutely first rate.
Shooting resumed some time later with a real budget this time, but without bringing me in to finish the remaining scenes (which are very easy to spot, cinematography-wise).
Jim gave the film's producers not wanting to pay my "high" shooting fee as the reason, which didn't sit too well with me at the time.
But since Jim was a friend and a very decent guy to boot, I just let it slide, even hiring him as my camera operator on paying gigs after that incident.
Jim was directing and also filling in as the DP on all those remaining scenes. If you look at the credited DP's "name" in the film's opening credits, you will easily get the inside gag (it's a pseudonym for "none").
the DVD release, a lot of the scenes I shot are printed way up from
where I had originally keyed them — destroying most of the look
that Jim and I worked so had to create.
Jim Roberson on the set of "The Witch" / "Superstition" (1980)
I shot "The Witch" and all I got was this lousy button ;)
Donna Paris working a charity telethon at KNBC for me (early 80's)
Why actors go on strike... ("No champagne, NO work!")
Somebody on this production really liked my ass
(I found this shot in a stack of studio production stills ;)
you believe, a Spectra exposure
repair tech checking out my tools? Would you?
(DP on the film comedy, "Actors Liberation Army")
up a 320° tracking dolly shot with my Worrall gear head
(Shooting the film "Actors Liberation Army", AKA "ALA, The Movie")
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