Part Five: Film crew
The Oral History program provides personal recollections of careers in film, TV, radio or recorded sound. This week we’re featuring recent Oral History interviews with actors, musicians, journalists and directors. Today we’re looking at various members of the film crew.
Read an outline of the interviews below, and listen to excerpts or the full interviews embedded from SoundCloud.
John Bowring has worked as a film armourer for more than 35 years.
He explains how he sources weapons internationally, what happens to them after filming, and how he must work within the law, even though the laws are different in each Australian state. He talks about advising governments on policies for film firearms. John also explains how he makes foam replicas and blanks and the use of holster butts.
He began as a gunsmith and rented weapons to films, and was then employed on Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) as a special effects weapons maker. Later he was the Key Armourer on the biggest firearms film made in Australia, The Thin Red Line (1998), and he describes his safety procedures when working with actors and hundreds of extras. His job requires an understanding of digital effects for muzzle flashes and knowledge of historical weapons and procedures. He works with the Australian Army History Unit and military advisors during filming. On The Great Raid (2005) he worked with the Director of Photography to light a scene by gunfire.
He is also responsible for other weaponry such as crossbows and swords. In this excerpt, John tells how he made the knife for ‘Crocodile’ Dundee (1985):