It all started with our professor casually mentioning that a certain Mr. Danny Pope was going to come see us; while he was here for a few days doing a Visacard shoot. We all got a little excited since we were told that he was a top ad cinematographer from Australia who commanded a neat 5-figure per day (by neat, I mean 75+ and counting); Wow he must be some hotshot, we all thought. He turned out to be just that but in a slightly different way than we had expected.
So on that day when he was to arrive; we got some extra chairs in our class to accommodate our seniors and were all up and attentive cause we were going to get it "from the horse’s mouth" as they put it. I grew a little intimidated of that ‘horse’ after getting a glimpse of his breathtakingly beautiful portfolio which was shown to us, right before he came in. There was this one thing that I had seen before and that was the famous ad with all the Rajasthanis hanging onto the bus, courtesy the "Fevicol" poster on its rear end. So he had shot it, huh? That was impressive…. and then there were these two GORGEOUS music videos, one called "1000 Kisses" with Will Smith and his wife Jaded Pinkett Smith and the other with Kelly Rowland (one from the Destiny’s Child trio). I loved the look of those videos and especially the lighting that made the ladies look like goddesses.
He was a little late; and then he just literally flew in like a breath of fresh air. I must admit that it took me some time to take his presence in completely; first because he was dressed as if he was on his way to Goa or the Carribeans, with his short khakis and bubbly blue beach T-shirt, which was so cool and secondly because he was so lively that the air literally charged up right at the moment he entered and stayed that way for the next 3 hours while he waltzed through his ‘unplanned’ lecture for us. He did such an entertaining job of it that I didn’t know what more could have been done if it was planned….he was whistling at times, singing little tunes of merriment, joking and being informative and detailed about his shoots; all at the same time so spontaneously that we were mesmerized not to mention completely taken in by his charms.
He had the enthusiasm that a little child has about his first drawing or his little science project that had the bulb glowing at the crucial moment when the teacher came to inspect and frankly it was infectious. He was enjoying the whole thing himself too; with all the fond memories as well as the not-so-fond and his spirit and energy defied his age. I mean, many of the young guys I meet are so busy acting like they are so mature, grown-up and "Mr. Know-alls" and that they end up being boring and ridiculous. But this was one guy, who was obviously so experienced and brilliant at his job yet had this unassuming attitude and absolutely down-to-earth persona that put others to ease and an authority over his domain, that is compelling without being suffocating.
That was nice; it meant you could talk to this guy and learn without feeling like an absolute fool. So at the end of 3 hours talk (which included an elaborate discussion on testosterone-high ad of "Petronas" shot in the scenic Cambodia and another rather stylish mobile phone ad, with sets like in a futuristic fiction flick, complete with models wearing the Jennifer Garner "Alias" look), it felt like while we were just making a beginning, it was already time to go. I didn’t get to interact with him on a one-to-one basis but next time he is here will make it a point to do that…hope that Pope is back real soon….(looks like I will never get over the cheesy rhyming schemes of mine J)