The first film Robin went to see completely alone was the now-classic, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Aged ten he set off alone, much like the intrepid alien, into a brand-new world of cinema from which he never returned.
It’s true that Spielberg’s gift for film making allows us to blend together, perhaps the slightly more mundane aspects of a suburban childhood with stories based on the lives of normal people and intertwine them with fantasy escapism. And his mastery is in depicting the humanity and courage of the characters using all the tools he has available.
For Robin his charm goes beyond this, “He’s a great visual storyteller, in every film there is always that one iconic shot, that just encapsulates the story and feels completely organic. In E.T. the slow deliberate lighting, score and multiple loops brings characters, action and themes full circle. The camera angles are set at the height of a child which adds to this intimate atmosphere that he creates”
“The soundtrack in combination with the storytelling creates such a compelling film. The score on E.T. for example, has this dreamy, mystic quality where the emphasis of instruments like the harp and piano gives this fairly odd-looking creature a childlike and loveable quality for the viewer. It’s this attention to detail in all his work, across all these different components that creates a storytelling masterpiece”
Robin adds, “There’s not a huge amount of conversation in the E.T. film so the music has to work that much harder to set the tone or relive tension, and I think this is why children love it so much. There’s not a lot of complicated dialogue to understand, it’s all there on the screen playing out in front of you in a child’s bedroom not unlike your own.”
Spielberg’s crafting precision has inspired Robin with his own work. As a Production Manager, much of his role evolves around the ability to carefully construct packs to specific product specifications and solve packaging problems in innovative ways. For this he has to think outside the box (literally) and use his knowledge of materials and packaging components to pull all the parts together, creating something that not only functions but looks beautiful too.
But it’s not only in his day job that Robin has taken on Spielberg’s film production principles. He has used masterpieces like Jaws and E.T. as inspiration in writing his own novel over the last year. Basing his story on the impacts of lifechanging events, Robin’s book has taken ordinary people with lives blighted by uncontrollable events and transformed it into a commentary which explores topics of reconciliation and unrequited love, not unlike some of the Spielberg classics.
In talking about the creative process Robin comments,
He is intent in creating an experience which requires attention to detail whilst engaging the audience in a huge variety of subject matters which they can relate to. His actors, scenes, settings, and camera angles are all well-chosen and creates a story which is insightful even when they’re fun. The evolution of our understanding of these films as we cross from child to adulthood will ensure their long-lasting impact. And Robin has certainly taken this message, from that first fateful cinema trip in 1982, throughout his creative career.