The Wonders of Super 8

It was around 1978 that my closest buddies (Rob & Dave most notably) and I became immersed in film and fascinated by the prospect of creating our own Super 8mm masterpiece.

We had already spent a number of years experimenting with tape recordings when we were all but 12 or so. Crazy, spontaneous, clunky, non-scripted affairs that reflected our love of Monty Python and the last gasps of radio comedy and storytelling. Our high pitched awkwardness belayed our time and creative focus – trying things such as recording on real tape, flipping the physical tapes, and recording with a secondary device to produce a backwards layers. Our breakthrough was finally using Realistic hand held microphones – and have the amazing privilege provided by condensers and the metronome glories of audio meters.

Our playtime in these years seeded a desire for new canvases ~ new methods ~ new mediums. By the time we hit the shores of high school – we felt like sophisticates pop culture art mediums. Experts in music, the history of film, the nuances of classic radio all the way back to The Shadow and Dick Tracy. High school afforded new avenues of exploration and Film was the epitome of an academic, elective lottery win.

Our final assignment was a homemade 8mm production. We had all grown up with some amount of 8mm interwoven into the family archived fabric. Whether the blistering obviousness of reflector lighting, the hand wound mechanics of cameras, the diminutive smallness of reel stacks in a cabinet, or the strange haunting silence of sharing such films with others. As with our audio years ~ our scripts and storyboarding was all but non-existent. We composed the core assets in real time – leaving assembly & storyline flow to the final *director* (as we could rightfully call ourselves in this case). Each of us 3 created a unique vision and each of of 3 became the extras and actors for execution. Our neighborhood was a short walk from the last Green Line stop of Riverside outside of Boston- and we spent countless, liberating hours exploring both it, as well as the venues and experiences it could transport us to. At the time, as it was *end* of the line – it was used as a repository and yard for repair and cast offs. It was a gritty, unsupervised, old fashioned, and potentially dangerous by modern parenting standards, but *the tracks*, its surround ghost machines, mechanical misfits, oil, grease and heat were a boundless adventure land for teenage boys. To this day I can remember the smell of the rails and the tar soaked ties – and their worn, cast metal smoothness.

Like using our backyard for location – Rob created *Terror* as embedded below. I hope he forgives me for posting


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