Turtle Canyon Media, a film, TV and corporate production company based at Pinewood Studios in the UK and Seattle, USA, have a dark secret. Prepare yourself because what follows is Stuart Laws’ explosive account of what has happened…
The first I remember was a keyring collection. It numbered 80-odd before I lost interest in rifling through tourist shops for unique designs. What prompted a seven year old to start collecting an object that’s only purpose is to group keys, I have no idea, but it happened and only theoretical physics could change that. Over the subsequent years my lifestyle and personality shifted in accordance with my accruing years but the desire to collect, organise and display remained.
In 2001 I bought my first DVD and I now own well over 200. I’m still buying more, they’re alphabetised and well-cared for but are soon to be abandoned, thanks to the march of technology. Collecting things is a curious animal trait, not exclusive to humans but certainly more extravagant, deliberate and organised. Sure, an elephant seal’s harem is impressive but I would happily wager that it isn’t alphabetised and certainly not suitable for display on an IKEA bookcase.
My DVD collection is a source of pride, I enjoy looking at them, remembering why I bought, or was given each DVD. The collection acts as a gateway to my memories, helping to unarchive elements of my past. I think that’s why people do it, each object of a collection is the key that unlocks a moment in their life that their brain had otherwise filed away. With my DVDs they are also awesome movies and TV series that I can watch again and again. I also own The House Bunny. That’s just a good movie.
At Turtle Canyon Media we have a collection too. Starbucks City Mugs currently sit, amassed in our coffee area, 40 strong and growing. The collection began as a gift from my mother, when she brought back New Zealand and Singapore from her holiday to New Zealand and, err, Singapore. She wasn’t to know but she was the spark for myself, Al, Nick and Victoria (the directors of Turtle Canyon Media) to start buying up city mugs wherever we visited on film shoots, meetings and holidays. Now, the mugs are lovely and big and nice to look at but I think the urge to collect them arose because clients and visitors to our office are now excited at the prospect of choosing the mug they want to drink from, as if it will affect the quality of their drink. I know that I ponder before plucking my morning mug and that each one sparks a different memory. I know that when I choose the Barcelona mug I’m reminded that a client and friend of ours took time from his family holiday to buy us that. When I drink from my favourite mug, Vancouver, I am reminded of my early morning stroll around downtown, excited about exploring a new city.
I also really like the bridge on that mug, it reminds me of a psychological experiment, that has always interested me, by Dutton and Aron. That memory, in turn, opens up where I was sitting when I first read about the ‘Misattribution of Arousal Suspension Bridge Experiment’ (my title) in 2007 and further on through the folds in my brain.
Collections can be started for many different reasons but they are all effective at provoking memories and connecting us to our past. They tell a story and if you show others they may just surprise you by joining in and contributing further. At Turtle Canyon Media we see film-making as starting a collection. The start of a film may be an idea that hits you just before sleeping or a whim in a faraway coffee shop, the contributing parts may be disparate and seemingly unconnected but it is our job, as film-makers, to bring all of that together. Crew, props, locations, sets, equipment, cast, scripts, make up, transport, talent, computer code, food, film, keyrings, mugs, DVDs; they almost all go towards making a greater whole. A film that sparks memories and thoughts, that provokes and educates, that entertains in ways unexpected, is a collection. A collection that, despite what George Lucas claims, can be finished and then presented for admiration and to stir emotions, and then most definitely alphabetised.
I love making films. I love collecting all the strands of plots or ideas, the dialogue, the acting and camera angles, the detail in editing and sound design that contributes to a coherent whole. I really love the differing reactions to films: from a basic like and dislike to more evocative emotions that even the tiniest detail can provoke. I think that’s why I collect, unless that’s a misattribution of arousal.
I asked my fellow Turtle Canyon Media directors what their favourite of our collection was:
Nick Long: “This is my favourite purely and simply because it’s the city where I married my wife.”
Victoria Ramon: “This is my favorite because it reminds me of the short but wonderful time I had in February 2012 when I was flown there for meetings, but spent an equal amount of time on sight seeing and making new friends.”
Al Clayton: This is my favourite because I bought it just after I got engaged and it was quite difficult to find so I got to explore more of a great city and its great food and music.
Turtle Canyon Media are full-service production company with more than 10 years’ experience in video and film production, working with clients from a wide range of sectors and producing video content for a variety of media including broadcast commercials, music videos, short films, web promotions, communication films, documentaries, viral videos, events and training videos.