David Boulton on how he valued the support of his cameramen and film editors on ‘World In Action’

When I joined World in Action (in 1969) the two newly appointed editors of World in Action, joint editors, were John Birt and Gus MacDonald. John Birt was, I think, only about 23 when he was appointed editor of World in Action and Gus was a little older but had already begun to make his name in journalism. Anyway, these two were the editors of World in Action. Neither of them were filmmakers but they relied on the kind of Leslie Woodhead tradition of filmmaking. I was really sent out to make films and I had no idea how to make films so what I did was to rely very, very heavily on brilliant camera men and brilliant sound recordists and the technical team, working with people like George Jesse Turner and some of the camera men who became really big figures in the film world later – Dick Pope and so on – working with these camera men I had to learn very quickly how to make films and then working with extremely good film editors – Kelvin Hendrie – had to learn how to edit films and put films together. I could bring some journalistic skill to the telling of a story and I was somewhat old fashioned in that I believed in telling a story in a fairly linear fashion with a beginning, a middle and an end and was confused by the way in which filmmakers jumbled it all up and tried to tell the story visually rather than verbally so I had to learn fairly quickly to combine these very different skills. It was a wonderful apprenticeship being tossed into the middle of it and having to find my own way.


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