DDQ was a wonderful place to test out new ideas, new technologies and new programs. It was also place where I could learn from my mistakes - and there were many.
There are a few broadcast nightmares that continue to haunt me and I love to recount them when staff that report to me now are traumatised by the odd slip up or two. Like the news bulletin sometime in 1983 that went to air without any audio, except for the news reader. There was no-one to blame. I'd shot the stories, edited the stories and was directing the bulletin. Sure, I could point to the new setup the techs had installed that swapped the replay and record head monitoring, but the experience taught me much about how terribly things can go wrong if small details are left unchecked. Or the night I managed to put 20 minutes of black to air during a midnight to dawn film noir movie marathon after a telecine bulb blew and I didn't notice for some time. Or another movie marathon when I loaded reel three before reel two - giving away the ending before the middle of the movie. (I rang Anselmo at 2.30 in the morning - he didn't seem too worried about it.) Or the dubbing shift when I accidentally recorded over a master and a replacement had to be flown in from the US!.
As I say, a great place to make mistakes and build up experience.
But it's the positive lessons that have proved the most fruitful and that I remember most fondly. The all-night promo shifts with Debbie Turner. Being part of a production team where the only person over 25 was Erby. Producing the "Deb and Eb" show and "Sounds Of The City". Producing and directing my firsts - first news, first parade, first commercial, first programs. Travelling across the Downs with the "Summerthon" funmobile and shooting commercials and news stories from Kingaroy to Miles. Mastering technology like AVR 2, ACR, Chyron, Richmond Hill, TK76. And the great excitement when 1" machines arrived and we could suddenly create still frames from video.
I can recall great technological experiments the station ran. Like TV Pow - an interactive voice activated space invaders game in which the lucky viewer yelled "POW" to fire their missiles. Or 3D TV in 1983 - long before the current rage. And the bands the went through the building as interviewees - including a very young INXS.
As a newbie to the industry, there were wonderful people to learn from - Anselmo Morisini on the art of management, David Powell on the gifts of technology, Mick Erbacher, Allen Sperling and Col McIntyre on the strength of mateship, Sonya Pickering on teamwork, Debbie Turner on the influence of enthusiasm, Warren Hedges on the value of conscientiousness, Kym Adams on creativity and Gemma Wilkie (who I adored) on persuasive communication.
To this day, I'm grateful for the lessons learnt at DDQ - including the power of television to touch its audience in unexpected ways, to engage them and even change them. It's now something I aspire to with every project that comes my way.
DDQ Employee Sept 81 - Nov '84