Vintage computers in movies

From: Sellam Ismail <>
Date: Wed Dec 20 02:03:58 2000

On Tue, 19 Dec 2000, Mark Gregory wrote:

> The discussion of classic computers in the movies has prompted some
> commercial thoughts. Is there any money to be made in renting classic
> computers to movie makers? People in SoCal, New York, and up here in
> "Hollywood North" might be able to fund their hobby that way. Anyone have
> any experience with this? Is damage to the rented items a big risk? Did you
> have to provide a catalog of your systems to the Prop people? Could you add
> value by providing "historically accurate" setups for different eras (e.g.
> an Apple II with period peripherals for an early 80s film) I'd be
> interested in any feedback from people with experience in this area.

Mark, I have done consulting a few times now for television productions.
One was the Steve Wozniak biography on A&E recently where I lent my hands
and some hardware for their production (my hands were the ones doing the
soldering and punching buttons on an answering machine). The last
consulting I did was for a production company from England doing a
documentary on "hacking".

They find me through my website, and I try to be as helpful as possible,
either providing them with the things they want (hardware, software, etc).
or pointing them towards the people who can.

To answer your questions: there is no possibility of damage as long as you
are present and can dictate how items are handled, but once they leave
your control they are at risk, so be sure you state in writing how you are
to be compensated for damaged items. I don't yet have a catalog but I do
have a good memory of what I have in my collection. The problem is
knowing where it is :) And it does help very much to be knowledgeable
about computer history and to be able to help the producers stay true to
historical fact. If you don't, hardcore geeks will know, and they will
scoff at the production and indirectly at you for being lame and not
ensuring historical accuracy. I keep historical accuracy in mind at every
step of the consulting I am providing to my client. If I don't then I
have failed them, and I am a dork.

One last thing, don't think just because it is TV or the movies that you
can take these guys to the cleaners. If you ask too much, they will
either go off and find it somewhere else for cheaper, or they will find an
alternative that costs less. Be reasonable and willing to negotiate, but
don't give your stuff and knowledge away for free. I don't want anyone to
cut into my business by being way cheaper than me ;)

Sellam Ismail Vintage Computer Festival
International Man of Intrigue and Danger
Received on Wed Dec 20 2000 - 02:03:58 GMT

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