Archive Researchers

Featuring: Naomi Hall, Sydney

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How did you become an archive researcher?

I had been working in London in the advertising industry during the 1980s, and somehow progressed on the research area. Then I was given a job offer from a stock footage company in Sydney, which caused me to move into the film and television sector, eventually breaking away to do freelance content research. 

The Beatles: Eight days a week is a project dating back to 2003. How did you end up working on it?

It was a referral to Matt White from Cyrus Irani, Head of Content Sales at ABC Australia. Matt White brought me on at the very early research stages of One Voice One World to scope for materials in Australia and New Zealand.

The movie is mainly composed of unseen material, such as compelling home-movies & found footage : how did you work by yourself and with the other 30 worldwide archive researchers involved?

The brief was to prioritise (colour) home movie footage.

I contacted Australian and New Zealand archive sources as a first port of call, then museums, private collections and social media.

There was a ceiling for the time we all spent researching on each continent. But there was an amazing collaboration between the researchers via an incredible game-changing interactive database through which we could share information and upload findings. It was a unique experience to be working “alongside” other archive researchers around the globe.

What was the most exciting discovery you’ve made while working on the project?

It transpired that the Bolex was not yet a popular toy in Australia/ NZ during the 1960s, but a few snippets did come to the surface. Of course the local newsreel companies had covered the Beatles tour quite thoroughly, and that footage never fails to entertain.

We definitely feel a strong connection with the members of the band in the movie. Did you develop a kind of intimacy with the band while working on this project? Unless you were already a Beatle fan!

Hah ! I actually have a (vague) personal connection with the Beatles. Back in the early 1980s I worked in a private membership club in Mayfair (Rags, which was a sister club to the famous Tramp nightclub).

My very first day at work was for the wedding reception of Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach. All I had to do was carve a smoked salmon or two (and Mr Paul McCartney asked me to make some sandwiches for the kids who I ended up entertaining for ages – they were the only kids there). Anyway, no-one asked me to leave so I hung around for the party, which included a fabulous sing-along around the piano !!

Another connection was that I lived on Abbey Road … so my enthusiasm for the project was set in stone. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

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