Alan Parker and David Putnam were two working class kids from London council estates.

Alan Parker became a copywriter at CDP.

David Putnam became an account man at CDP.

They wanted to make movies, and it was obvious that their talents were a natural fit.

Parker could have the ideas and execute them brilliantly.

Putnam could get the money and he could sell the ideas.

So they got together and made their first film.

They were interviewed for the BBC’s weekly film programme.

Sitting side-by-side.

A day or so later Alan Parker got a phone call.

A voice said “Mr Parker, this is the BBC. I’m calling about your interview.”

Al Parker said “Oh yes.”

The voice said “You come across very well, we’re very pleased with your part. The problem is Mr Putnam, he doesn’t come across nearly so well. Quite disappointing in fact.”

Al Parker said “Oh that’s a shame.”

The voice said “We were wondering if you’d mind redoing the interview, just on your own, without Mr Putnam.”

Al Parker said “Yeah, no problem.”

The voice said “You wouldn’t have any problem with us cutting Mr Putnam out of the interview then?”

Al Parker said “It’s up to you. If that’s what you want to do.”

The voice then changed into David Putnam’s voice, as he said “You bastard. You would wouldn’t you? You’d cut me out of the interview if they asked you?”

There was an awkward silence.

Then Al Parker quickly recovered, saying “No, no, don’t be silly. I knew it was you all along.”

And they started to laugh.

But they both knew he would have done it.

The great thing for me is that both Al Parker and David Putnam tell that story.

They both think it’s funny.

They come from the days when you did whatever it took to get ahead.

And everyone knew it.

And no one took it seriously.

It was just a bit of fun.

Nowadays that would be told as a story about backstabbing and politics and breaking up a relationship.

In those days it was just a bit of fun.

Of course Al Parker would have done it.

He knew that, Putnam knew that.

And they both knew, if the situation was reversed, David Putnam would have done it.

Which is exactly why they wanted to work together.

They both knew they would each do whatever it took to be successful.

But that didn’t mean treating everything like life and death.

It meant having a laugh.

Not being miserable and heavy and sanctimonious about it.

Enjoy it.

Have fun with it.

There’s energy in fun and enjoyment.

There’s no energy in being miserable.

So how did having a laugh work for Putnam and Parker?

Well, they went on to make the films Bugsy Malone and the Midnight Express together.

Then Parker went on to make 16 more films, including: Fame, Mississippi Burning, Pink Floyd – The Wall, The Commitments, Evita, and Angela’s Ashes.

Putnam went on to make The Duellists, Chariots of Fire, Local Hero, Memphis Belle, The Killing Fields, and The Mission.

They both won lots of BAFTA awards.

Parker was nominated for several Oscars.

Putnam actually won an Oscar for Chariots of Fire.

They are now Sir Alan Parker and Lord Putnam.


Which shows you how much energy is released when you don’t take things too seriously.