Scott Ward was simply one of the warmest, nicest folks you were ever likely to meet amongst Scottish filmmakers. I never heard him raise his voice once and the loudest sound to come from him was always laughter. A kind of deep, jolly boom. A tall chap with the most wonderfully curly hair, his bicycle was never far away and he always remembered you, regardless of how brief your previous meeting had been, eyes widening above the crowd in a pub whenever he saw you. He had time for people.
I only worked with him once. An over-eager second year film student, I got a job as Grip on a university graduation film Scott was shooting. I'd worked on a fair amount of shorts by that time but this shoot seemed daunting to me. There were some rather serious people around and I was anxious to get things right. I would be controlling the movement of the camera on several long and slow tracking shots. What if I messed up? The film was being shot on film - way before digital technology swept in - and that's an expensive business, especially for already cash strapped students. A few technical rehearsals - it took a while to get the movement at the right speed and then maintain that speed. And all through it, Scott was calm, patient and encouraging, aware of the less experienced student and whatever anxiety I might have had. Keeping a calm atmosphere on set was important to him and he knew results did not come from tension, even if some of the actors were a little too sharp. He had time for everyone on the shoot, from director and producer to runner.
And then, when packing up the location and chuffed at getting things right, I dropped one of the iron weights used to steady light stands on my foot. A combination of horror and embarrassment from me (it bloody hurt) and amusement and exasperation from some of the other crew. But Scott, admitting the funny side, was first there to help me limp away from the location to knock back a drink after wrapping, making sure I was alright for the rest of the night, accompanied by some gentle jokes.
That's what he was. Calm, gentle, happy and always interested in others. On reflection, even though I didn't know him tremendously well, I'm shocked at how little I knew about him as he was more interested in other people. He was present at some ridiculously fun nights I attended, where all sorts of drunken fun was had at the expense of the dignity of several (often me and deserved, mind you) and I can still hear his laughter amongst the chaos.
I hadn't seen him for a while and the last time we met, which had been after another long while, he was just as welcoming and interested as always. I regret not being able to properly catch up that night as we were both caught up with others in the pub and both reckoned we'd catch up next time. The last meeting is often not the one you expect it to be.
A great cinematographer and a tremendously well loved man, taken long before his time. Rest in peace, sir.