STORIES I’VE BEEN MEANING TO TELL YOU – a book by Andy Romanoff reviewed by James Mathers

by | Aug 12, 2023 | News | 3 comments

 

I thought I knew Andy Romanoff.  When we first met some twenty years ago, he was a high ranking executive with Panavision and quite active in the early activities of the Digital Cinema Society where he remains a trusted advisor.  He is also a Member of the Motion Picture Academy and an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers.  

I was vaguely aware of his background in the development of telescopic camera cranes and from reviewing his IMBD credits I see he was a Louma Crane Operator on such high profile features as Spielberg’s 1941, Coppola’s One from the Heart, and Friedkin’s To Live and Die In L.A.  Like myself, he has also some early credits as a Cinematographer that he probably wishes went unlisted, like the 1967 classic slasher gorefest, A Taste of Blood.  

I have followed Andy’s recent work as a fine art photographer, and as a motorcycle enthusiast myself, I particularly enjoy his collection of classic bike photography.  I’ve also grown to appreciate his journalistic travelogues covering his trips with another old friend and Panavision alumni, Bob Harvey.  The telling photography and wry commentary are quite revealing of the many seemingly ordinary places he has lovingly chosen to document.  

However, all my prior knowledge of Andy Romanoff little prepared me for his latest book, Stories I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You.  Could these frank confessions of a misspent youth really be the same guy that rose to such prominence in the motion picture industry?  The answer is yes!  I will leave some of the specifics for you to discover when you read the book, which I highly recommend, but just to give you a small taste…

Andy’s journey started in Chicago, where after losing his father at an early age, he fell in with a rowdy crew who stole cars, dealt and consumed numerous elicit drugs, spent time in jail, and eventually joined the counter culture traveling commune known as the Hog Farm, hanging with the likes of Ken Kesey and Wavy Gravy.  Andy’s book is far from just a shocking tell-all, it is the fascinating tapestry of prosaic storytelling that makes it captivating.  If you thought you knew Andy Romanoff, read this book to find out how little you really knew, and if you haven’t had the pleasure to know Andy, read this book for an insightful chronicle of a life fully lived. Lucky for us, the statute of limitations has passed and he is free to tell his tales.

To purchase a hard copy or ebook of Stories I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You, visit:  https://store.bookbaby.com/book/stories-ive-been-meaning-to-tell-you 

To sample Andy’s fine are photography and journalism, visit: https://andyromanoff.zenfolio.com/

3 Comments

  1. Ing. Jose M Noriega

    All initiatives by James Mathers have the quality and generosity of a true leader, looking forward to this one ! 🔝🎬

    Reply
  2. Steven Poster ASC

    I knew a lot about Andy. But there were still things that I had to learn by reading this delightful memoir,

    Reply
  3. Garrett Smith

    I just knew a fair amount about Andy – mostly about ASC, AMPAS and Panavision. We shared a lot of Cinematographer friends. Our circles overlapped in Hollywood. What i didn’t know is that they started to overlap 50 years ago back when i first met Haskell Wexler and Vilmos Zsigmond and Lenny Lipton. Back then Lenny took me to meet one of Andy’s friends in Springfield, Oregon – Ken Kesey. I’m still waiting to hear back from Andy to see if he was there that night that Kesey waxed poetically about macadamia and black walnuts…. Andy’s book is a great mix of heart and story. Thanks for writing it Andy!

    Reply

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