What made you decide to become a medic?
“I didn’t really decide to become a medic, when I left the army in 1990 my father had started a private ambulance service in Cape Town, I didn’t know what I wanted to do at the time and so my dad said I should work for him for a couple of months until I decided. So I started out and I did some medical qualifications and enjoyed it and so I carried on.”
What kind of qualifications do you have?
“I’m called a CCA which is a Critical Care Assistant, it’s a level 7 Advanced Life Support Paramedic. Basically in South Africa we differentiate between three levels of service, Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Life Support. Advanced life support has a range of mostly resuscitation and special drugs that we can use and emergency medicine like Valium and Morphine which are very useful for the emergency setting. So compared to a doctor on the road, I’m pretty close to what they would be able to do. We are emergency specialists.”
How far did you run this week?
“I have not run yet this week, because I have been working for The Farm from Monday to Friday doing 16 hour days. Last week I did a 10Km and a 5,5Km and then I went up the mountain to Newlands Forest and Cecilia Forest twice for at least two and a half hours.
What made you decide to work in your profession in the Film Industry?
“Well when I was in the UK in the late 90’s, I was working for a private ambulance service and one of the dudes that I worked with was doing medical stand by on film sets and he got me a job on one in London. When I came back to South Africa I was introduced by hook or by crook to the Film Industry and I just started marketing medics and it just took off from there.”
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
“I retired from Rugby two years ago, I enjoy Craft Beer, but ya running is really my sport. I had to retire from Rugby because I was 42 years old and my last serious injury was my calf tear. It just takes too long to heal and I had enough of serious injuries. With running you do not get injured so much unless you fall really hard, but generally there is not much of a risk.”
How long have you worked with The Farm Film?
“ Since Pete started there so I would say that is about 10 years.”
What would you say are the three most important aspects to bear in mind on every shoot from a safety perspective?
“The principal of safety is statistics and if any action can cause the likelihood of an accident to be less, then that action should not only not be ignored but should be taken.
So whether it is in the bakkie not on the bakkie, like these guys sitting on the tailgate of a bakkie, if the driver pulls away and slips on the clutch and you fall over and break your head open, what’s the point? You’re being and idiot and the guy driving is being an idiot. If you’re drinking or taking drugs whilst you are working, you are being an idiot. If you are not holding the ladder whilst someone is standing on the top and working, you’re being an idiot because you are increasing the likely hood of an accident happening. All of these simple things that people decide not to do because they think it will get the job done more quickly are the things that cause accidents. So safety first is the common denominator.”
When on the job, what is the most bizarre thing you have been asked for?
“ The sudden need for vitamins as soon as a medic is on a film set. Other medics perceive it to ‘be looking busy’ or whatever and they hand out vitamins just so that they can earn their keep. It’s like a culture of vitamin consumption that has developed in the Film Industry that is so bizarre. People who are walking past me actually turn around and come to me and suddenly say:
Other -“I need a vitamin.”
Bob -“well, what vitamins do you normally take?”
Other -“I don’t know, the little yellow ones.”
Bob -“well what do you need them for?”
Other -“Just to make me feel better.”
Bob -“Okay, well what do you have at home?”
Other -“No, I don’t have anything at home, but the last medic gave me some.”
Where did this come from and how did it happen! Unless you are deficient in one vitamin for a particular reason, there is no requirement for them as far as I am concerned. Unless you have a specific requirement, why are you taking supplements? Eat properly. There are also a lot of Hypochondriacs in the film industry and they come to me simply because I’m there. I have to filter out the bullshitters from the people that are actually ill.”
What is your motto in life?
“The closest I can come to that is, if you are not enjoying yourself you may as well not be here.”