Michael first came into our lives in August 1983 as a telecine colour grader at ECV in Crowsnest.
He seemed rather quiet at first, but that was just to lull the management and staff into a false sense of security, as time would later tell. He had a passion for surfing, sailing, expensive cars, enjoyed a cold beer and loved Led Zeppelin which we would hear bellowing from the telecine rooms when he was working on his own.
And Michael loved a good joke. One of the features of work in those days was to hear Michaelās loud and raucous laugh exploding from telecine one, as he enjoyed some of our funnier clientās tales.
Michael also loved to use that incredible, witty sense of humour to rib people or send them up.Pity any paying client when Michael had his own joke or story to tell, as the client and the grading job would have to stop until Michael got it out.
Michael was brilliant at his job. He commanded respect from many agencies and production companies. In those days Film Graphics, A Couple a' Cowboys and Michael Caulfield were just a few clients who enjoyed using Michael and his talent on many an occasion.
It was about this time that Michael acquired the nicknames "Gelly" and "Gelly Bean" to name a few.
When Gelly was in the mood, he was an absolute stirrer. You could hear him throughout the whole building and nobody could stop him. If someone tried to interrupt, he would bow his head and give you that cheeky boyish grin. Then heād start up again for all to hear, as if nothing had happened.
We were all very lucky to have worked in the film and TV industry in those heady days of the 80ās. Of course lunch was an occasional necessity, and part of the client service procedure.
Roy Andrews recounts a particular day when they went to the "Seafarer" restaurant for a client lunch in December 1983. Michael proceeded to order 2 lots of entrees. Roy said to him " whatās going on here mate?ä Michael apparently said with great mischief "Roy, itās a company lunch and I donāt have to pay so I'm going for it!"
Michael then had a brief absence from ECV, but then restarted in September 1986 where he was to remain for a further 9 years. In that time he met Louise Stibl, also working at ECV. It must have been love at first sight as they were soon married, and later produced three children -Lauclan, Rose and Alice, whom he absolutely adored.
After a long and successful stint at ECV, by then known as a multitude of different names (but thatās another story), Michael continued his career at various other top Sydney post production houses like Harry Michaelās, Omnilab, and Cutting Edge. He even did some work internationally in New Zealand for a while.
In December last year we heard the terrible news that Michael was missing. The optimist in us all hoped for a good outcome, but that simply was not to be.
And sadly, this has brought us all together here today, to lay to rest our friend and colleague Michael, a true gentleman and a true gentle ö man.
Michael, may you now rest in peace.