Revealed: the secret life of a camera crew

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The Independent Online
A TV film crew went round the Royal Opera House for a year, filming everything. A TV film crew went round the Victoria and Albert Museum for ages filming everything. TV film crews have been going round royal palaces filming everything for as long as we can remember. Is there nothing left for film crews to follow round ?

Yes, there is, as a matter of fact. The one thing that a film crew has never followed round is another film crew, and for the past 12 months I have been working with a crew that has done precisely that. The result, a 12-part series called In Camera, unerringly captures the feeling of what it's like working with a top quality film crew.

Don't believe me?

Here's a typical extract from this epic undertaking: MORNING. GREY DAWN. A BATTERED VOLVO ARRIVES AT THE EDGE OF A LARGE FIELD. TWO MEN GET OUT AND START SHIVERING. THEY ARE JOHN THE CAMERAMAN AND RON THE SOUND MAN.

John: Get the stuff out the back, would you, Ron?

Ron: Get your own blooming stuff out.

John: OK, OK, just joking. Keep your hair on ... Where's the van?

Ron: What van?

John: Refreshment van. I couldn't half murder a cup of tea.

Ron: There's no refreshment van. This isn't bleeding Pride and Prejudice. We're not on big-time location.

John: What are we doing, then?

Ron: We're doing a short piece to camera for Rural Rides Revisited.

John: Is that the one where Clive James goes round England on a horse ?

Ron: I don't think so. It's the one where the presenter comes to see how much the English countryside has changed in 200 years.

John: Oh, right. And he faces the camera and says ...

Ron: This countryside has really changed a lot in 200 years ...

John: ... and we have to find the bloody pictures to lift his script out of the litter bin ... Who is the presenter, incidentally?

Ron: Don.

John: The one that keeps scratching his mike?

Ron: I'll crown him if he starts scratching his mike again today. He must sodding know his blooming mike is stuck in his jersey, so why does he scratch his chest?

John: Why not put the mike somewhere else?

Ron: I know where I'd like to put it.

John: I hope they turn up before the light gets any worse. See that programme on telly last night?

Ron: No.

John: Nor did I.

A LONG PAUSE. JOHN SETS UP A TRIPOD. HE TAKES IT DOWN AGAIN. RON PUTS ON A PAIR OF HEADPHONES.

John: What are you recording?

THERE IS NO ANSWER.

John: (shouting) What Are You Recording?

RON SEES HIS LIPS MOVING AND TAKES HIS HEADPHONES OFF.

Ron: Sorry. Didn't hear you. Had these headphones on.

John: What are you recording?

Ron: Nothing. John: Why the headphones?

Ron: Ears cold.

John: Fair enough.

Ron: Where the hell are they?

John: Who?

Ron: Don and the others.

John: Who cares. They'll turn up.

AN HOUR PASSES. JOHN AND RON ARE STILL THERE. NOBODY ELSE HAS TURNED UP.

John: ... Anyway, there were nine of us altogether in the cafe, and we all had a cup of tea each, and when the waitress came, we said, "Could we have nine separate bills, please, so we can claim separate expenses?" and you should have seen her face!

Ron: Did I ever tell you about the time this Thai restaurant gave us a receipt for $3,500 by mistake?

John: Yes.

Ron: Do you want to hear it again?

John: No.

Ron: Where are they, for crying out loud ?

A MOBILE PHONE STARTS RINGING.

Ron: Phone. Not mine. Must be yours.

John: (answering phone) Hello ... Yes ... No, we've been here for hours. Where are you? What field? Hold on ... (to Ron) Get the map, would you?

RON GETS THE MAP PROTESTINGLY. JOHN SPREADS IT OUT.

John: Yeah ... yeah ... Oh, that field. Right, see you.

Ron: What's the story?

John: Wrong place. Jump in the car. I'll tell you. (He turns to camera.) You coming?

Hot stuff, eh? And there's another 12 hours where that came from!

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