John Jacob’s first job after leaving school was as a trainee draftsman. However an advertisment in the newspaper caught John’s attention. It had been placed by Crawford Productions, who were looking for a young man to help out around the place. That was 1960 and the 16 year old went into Crawfords, was interviewed by Ian Crawford, and John got the job.
His first job at Crawfords saw John looking after the Crawford’s Talent School each night. However, the hours for the Talent School were from 6.00pm until 10.00pm. John’s day actually started at 2.00pm and as the school didn’t start until 6.00, John was given a variety of small tasks including office duties and running errands for the four hours until the school opened. When it did, his duties included setting up the lighting, the camera and the microphones. He was also responsible for the nightly setting up of the Radio School that Crawfords also ran at that time.
His first television work was on a one-off adaption of the play "Seagulls Over Sorrento", which Crawfords were producing for HSV7. In those pre videotape days, the production was going to air live. John’s main job during the preceding days of rehearsal was to mark down the actors’ moves and on which line of dialogue the move was made. This was obviously a very early form of what is known today as "blocking the scene’. When the production finally went to air John’s next duty on the production was to make up the bunks that were on the other side of the set so that it was ready for the next act.
John’s next major job at Crawfords was on a television pilot of the very successful Crawford radio police drama entitled "D24". The crew consisted of a Director, a Cameraman and someone to hold the light - John. John then became the sound recordist on the "Export Action" series of mini documentaries Crawford’s made. He was involved in finding and recording music, adding sound effects and mixing the soundtrack for the various small documentaries that Crawfords were making.
A little time later Crawfords were making their first continuing television series, the popular "Consider Your Verdict". John’s duties included driving the camera crane around the studio, act as a floor manager by cueing the ‘Court Reporter’ and also finding the appropriate music cues that sometimes highlighted dramatic moments in the script. After "Consider Your Verdict" Crawfords made the very popular series "Homicide", which became the flagship of the Company. The Sound Department became John’s main area of work where he would be in charge of the music, the sound effects, any post sync dialogue that needed recording and then finally mixing the soundtrack for the film inserts that were placed into each episode of the series. When the Sound Department eventually expanded John was placed in the role of Head of Sound. He was also looking after the sound for the new Crawford tv series, the spy drama, "Hunter" as well as occasional documentaries
Working at Crawfords also meant that John was to meet the woman he was to marry. John married "Homicide" Production Assistant Pamela Lovick in 1966. Pam was also one time Secretary to Dorothy Crawford and also to Ian Crawford. John and Pam are still enjoying life together in Melbourne’s east.
It was during the production of "Hunter" that John was promoted to Assistant Producer of the show. It was then on to "Division 4" as Studio Director after Ian Crawford left the chair. At the same time as "Division 4" John also managed the same role on "Matlock Police" before moving on to become Production Manager on the new all film detective series "Ryan".
John left Crawfords in 1973 and became a freelance Studio Director. A lot of his early freelance work was taken up by Crawfords. He was also involved as a freelancer in the production of many tv commercials and documentaries. An independent Producer/Director liked John’s work so much that he offered John a fulltime position with the company. John stayed on for seven years before deciding to set up a company in December 1981 and he went on to make television programs and corporate documentaries. John made a very successful television series called "Cakes Around the World", a thirteen part travel series featuring a cooking segment in the style of the local custom at the end of each episode.
These days John seems happy to not have to deal with the hectic schedules and problems that go with television production and claims he is retired. We’ll see.
1st August 2013