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Memorializing Memories: An Interview with Pete Benson, author of Tales of a Film Prop Man

Pete Benson 1

Pete Benson was born in London in 1950. After obtaining a BA in Business Finance he pursued a career in Business. It was not for him, so in 1978 he became a film prop man. He worked on some of the biggest British-made films over the course of 25 years, during which time he started a successful prop hire company in 1984, before retiring in 2007.

He now lives in Kent, England, with his wife Clare and her daughter Kimberley, closer to his grown-up children Ellenna, Ria, and Harry.

You can buy Tales of a Film Prop Man here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title pretty much formed itself. The book depicts funny tales from the films I worked on as a film prop man, so that was probably the easiest bit about publishing the book.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

I think the book cover designed by Ronaldo Alves at Atmosphere is brilliant. More than I could have wished for and it really is a head-turner for promotion.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I have always liked to write but until I retired I never had the time. I thought about all the stories that came out of filmmaking that would just be lost or forgotten if not written down. I was away from my children a lot when they were growing up and I thought if I wrote this book it would not only keep those stories for posterity but also show my kids what my life was when I couldn’t be there.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

Where to start? I have done so many different jobs before going into the film industry which gave me a little knowledge in a lot of things, an ideal attribute for a prop man. For example, I drove taxis, ground crankshafts for cars, worked in offices, did painting and decorating, worked in a yoghurt factory, and worked in a safe-making factory. The list is quite long, but all were great experiences.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

Seeing all the hard work that goes into writing, finally on show and knowing all those memories are out of my head before they disappear.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

“The Raiders March” by John Williams

“Universal Studio Fanfare” by Jerry Goldsmith

“Saturday Night at the Movies” by The Drifters

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

A sense of enjoyment, a bit more knowledge of how films are made, and hopefully having had a few laughs.

My perfect reader is someone who doesn’t take life too seriously, can see the funny side of things and likes everything about filmmaking.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I am currently trying to write Tales of a Film Prop Man: Take Two. Halfway through the first draft.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

I could not have wished for a better publisher than Atmosphere for my first book. I knew nothing, but everyone throughout the various stages was so friendly, so knowledgeable, so helpful and so supportive. Without them I probably would never have got there.

For any new or experienced writer, Atmosphere is probably the best place to start.

You can buy Tales of a Film Prop Man here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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