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pinkmouse is based in Chatham, Kent, and although based in the South East of England, offers services to clients though out the UK and even worldwide.

My name is Al Crooks and I set up this business after I saw an opportunity to provide these services to customers previously unaware of what they could achieve for them.

I started my career in the creative industries with a Degree in Psychology, and after that had a stint at the Royal Albert Hall in the stage management team. I left there to work in “Rock ’n Roll”, and toured with several bands, including Hawkwind and REM.

I then moved into corporate events, and spent time working on conferences and trade shows. This was in the early days of Powerpoint, and many a night was spent merging, reformatting and redesigning individual presentations into a seamless whole before the show next morning. During this period, I worked for such clients as Price Waterhouse Cooper and Microsoft.

I gradually moved into the field of lighting design and production management, especially in the field of exhibitions, working with great designers such as
2LK Design and Stage Light Design to create many award winning events and stands. During this time I lit stands for Sony Broadcast, Avid Media, Pedigree, Kawasaki and many other leading brands and companies, as well as live music shows and private events.


Oh, and I also drove a 20 year old Landrover across the Sahara desert for charity…
During my working life I have learnt to deal with clients fairly and appropriately. I realise that many clients have differing knowledge levels and expectations, and am equally skilled at talking a novice though the entire process, as dealing with experienced clients on a suitably technical level.

I am skilled in accurately interpreting briefs, whilst adding extra creative touches that compliment the concept and take a design to a whole new level. I understand the importance of accurate budgeting and deadlines, whilst managing the change inherent in the various stages of the design process.
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A Long Time Ago…

It was the late 70’s. I was waiting desperately for The Empire Strikes Back to hit the cinema. Inspired by anticipation, I decided to create my first ever SFX shot. It had to be a space battle, with plucky, yet grungy, rebels fighting off a pristine Empire fighter ship.

So the models were scratch built from plasticard and other bits and pieces, each one about 50mm long as I recall. I wanted to get some sense of scale, so the backdrop was created on black paper, drawn in forced perspective to make the Mother Ship in the background look much further away and bigger than the other two. I can’t say the backdrop is the best ever, but I seem to remember being very pleased by the effect of the nebula, less so the planet.

I wanted the stars to glow, so I punched the paper with various needles and cocktail sticks, then taped it to the window. After drawing the curtains around it to control the light spill, I need to light the scene in the now darkened room. So, a desk lamp was rigged to shine at a slightly oblique angle. I had hoped this would cause some nice reflections on the thin strip of twisted plastic I was using to simulate blaster fire, but that was not to be.

Finally, the shot was framed and taken using the last exposure on the old family Kodak 126 Instamatic, (my mum, probably very sensibly, wouldn’t let me waste any more film)

So what did I learn? Cartridge paper is more reflective than you think. Automatic cameras are really not suited to FX work. I couldn’t draw planets. But the bug had bitten…