I had a collossal lot of fun during the last two days - so much fun that I enjoyed a sleep-in this morning, because laughing a lot in between work means very, very exhausting days. And all that because - can you believe it? - I am going to be on TV.
On Monday morning, four people came: The reporter, the camerawoman, the sound-and-light technician and the assistant. They came and brought a mini-bus full of equipment and a general plan on what to shoot and how to proceed; these were mostly things the reporter and I had talked about and pre-planned on the phone during the weeks before.
I think about everybody knows that shooting for a film production will always take much, much longer than the finished film as it runs on the screen. And everybody who has ever tried to do something like a mini film or documentary will have an even better insight into this. But the amateur video and a full-fledged TV report are two very different creatures.
It starts with having the eye for selecting, carefully, a spot as background for the bit to be filmed. We've been living here for a few months, but I would not have thought of choosing the spots that the film team chose - and chose very, very well! Then everything needs to be arranged and adjusted: the camera on its tripod, the lighting, the chair is placed just so. Then the fine-tuning begins, where all the lights are adjusted again and again to tweak lighting and colour - until everybody is satisfied. And then the little bit for the film is shot, and depending on how it went, shot again (and maybe again, until it went well enough). And then selecting and arranging and fine-tuning for the next bit begins.
I had the feeling that it all went quite smoothly and very well altogether, and it took us one and a half days to film a good hour and a half's worth of material. The finished bit in the film will be about ten minutes, if everything goes as planned. One and a half days of work for ten minutes of film... I find that quite impressive. Gives you another insight into why a film is so expensive, too - after all, you need four people just for a little documentary shoot.
I was happy that the things I had to do were not far out of the usual demonstrations and explanations I do at any medieval event or at a conference. I got to explain the spinning experiment, which meant a lot to me; show some textile work and talk about the Textile Forum, and all those topics I have already shown and done so often that it felt almost just like telling another colleague or showing another visitor.
And loading the car with equipment for a market to show that side aspect of the job? It was so easy for me to fall into "packing mode", carrying all the things and meanwhile planning about what to get next and where to stow it in the car that it was possible to really mostly ignore the camera. So between joking with the team and doing things that I have done so often in public, I soon felt quite at ease.
But the best part of the experience for me was working together with the crew. The team was very, very nice and seemed to be as fond of weird jokes and bad puns as I am, so we laughed a lot, and I was quite sad to see them pack up and go once we had finished. And I did enjoy a lot to see the team at work, since obviously they did like each other, love their job, were happy to get the pictures right and best they could be, and they worked very well together with lots of friendly banter - I'd call it craftspersonship at its best.*
And this is always wonderful to see, and even better if you can feel like a part of such a team for a short while, which was my pleasure and privilege during the last two days.
* I know that strictly and technically speaking, neither artists nor camerafolk are craftspersons - but for me, craftspersonship is closely collected to a special kind of joy and pride in your own work, and joy and pride in doing it well. And to me personally, this attitude is more important for the definition of craftsperson than whether the finished piece is a very good show, a bit of film or an actual tangible object.