People find it very strange that I work on a show which is filled with celebs but that I don't actually have a clue who any of them are.
Today my colleagues gave me so much flack because I did not know who the celebrity they were talking about was. I even googled her and the face is triggering no memories.
Apparently since I've lived here for 2 and a half years I should recognise all of the d-list celebs that are talked about in the stupid newspapers over here. Can I help the fact that I do not like reading things like The Sun or The Daily Mirror? Would it make me do my job any better if I did recognise them?
On the same vein last night I saw the following celebrities coming into the building for "An Audience with Celine Dion" - you guys tell me if you recognise the names of anyof them
1) Louis Walsh
2) Shane Ward
3) Gaz (from 2 Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps)
4) Stephen Gately
5) Nicky and Kian from Westlife
6) Graham Norton
7) Carol Thatcher
Do YOU know them?
Today I did see Heather Mills-McCartney - that woman is completely insane.
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
People find it very strange that I work on a show which is filled with celebs but that I don't actually have a clue who any of them are.
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
I can not believe what I managed to do this afternoon. I'm just so cool.
My colleague and I snuck into Celine Dion's rehearsal in the studio's for this evenings show. We watched her sing, standing on the stage without any makeup, before we got kicked out.
Security: Do you have a crew pass?
Miss M: Excuse me?
Security: Do you have a crew pass?
Colleague: I'm sorry I can't quite hear you
Security: *getting impatient* Do the two of you have crew passes?
Miss M: Crew passes?
Security: You need crew passes to be standing here
Colleague: Oh, no we don't
Security: The two of you will have to leave
Miss M: Damn.
Hey, we managed to stall him for a further 30 seconds to a minute pretending we couldn't understand him.
We did manage to see the Diva herself though and she sounds beautiful!
Monday, 29 October 2007
So I came into the office this morning after a busy weekend and as soon as I sat down my phone rang
Miss M: Hello Miss Miss speaking
Mr. Plett: Hi Miss M, I'm just calling because we have a slight problem
Miss M: *warily* Slight problem?
Mr. Plett: Our visa's haven't arrived yet this morning so we can't leave on the plane this afternoon
Miss M: *shit* Ok, when our Travel Co-Ordinator spoke to you on Friday she said you said everything was fine?
Mr. Plett: It was, we thought our visa's were coming through this morning.
Miss M: So we need to change your flights? We'll look into it. Have you contacted the embassy?
Mr. Plett: We're working on it. Everything will be fine we just need to change the flights.
The entire office starts cursing all South Africans
Does this man not realise how expensive and difficult it is to change International flights 5 hours before people are supposed to depart? Would calling us earlier have been better? Would us knowing on Friday that the visa's weren't there yet have been a good thing?
Seriously, how can someone be THIS chilled out?
Thursday, 25 October 2007
I thought I'd give you an update on the wonderfully laid back gentleman living in Plettenberg Bay. His colleagues fly out on Monday morning and we have 2 days to sort out their excess baggage so today I was urgently trying to contact him. I phoned him about 5 times and he didn't answer his phone. Messages went something along the lines of this
1) 10am - Hi it's Miss M, can you call back on *** I just need to talk to you about your luggage
2) 12pm - It's Miss M again, please can you call me back as soon as possible I really need to discuss the excess baggage requirements
3) 2pm - Hi it's Miss M. PLEASE PLEASE call me back ASAP as we are running out of time with the travel agent to sort this out. My number is ***
4) 4pm - Miss M again. This really is important, please call me back otherwise we might not be able to get the luggage over to Australia. Thank you
Eventually he answers the phone at 730pm his time
Miss M: Oh thank goodness, I've been trying to get a hold of you all day
Specialist: Oh hi Miss M, how are you?
Miss M: I'm fine, did you not get my messages?
Specialist: Oh I did, I just didn't realise you wanted to me call you back right away
AARRRGGG!!! Well I eventually did manage to sort it out and thankfully he is going to be able to take the equipment with them on the plane.
I love people who just don't realise how serious TV is
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
Today I thought that I would focus on the mistakes and fuck ups that I have incurred in this wonderful industry. These range from
1) Oversleeping and missing collecting the crew
2) Almost having contributors miss their flight as I got the times incorrect
3) Purchasing some expensive flights to Berlin and then realising that I bought them for the wrong day. The airline didn't have a refund system.
But ultimately I think that the worst fuck up that I managed to do is the following.
I was working for a very well known Celebrity Chef on his latest show and we were dealing with some sensitive footage that the lawyers were checking over to make sure they could air it. I was responsible for couriering the footage to the lawyer and she asked me to send it to her home address with permission to post through the door.
I did this.
The next day she called me up asking where the DVD was as she never received it. The courier company said that they'd delivered it. Turns out I sent it to the wrong house. Panic stations. Imagine if the press got hold of an unaired show of his without the correct editing? Oh my god. I seriously thought I was going to be fired and ostracised from the industry. I even went round to the address it was delivered at but could never get hold of the people there. For weeks I lived in fear of reading about it in the newspaper but thankfully I never did.
We never did tell him or the Exec.
Tuesday, 23 October 2007
I know that this is not something that I have experienced but I thought that it was far too funny and surreal not to pass on to you all.
Last night, whilst still at work at 745pm, our team and I were exchanging amusing stories from other shows when one of my Production colleagues told me about her experience with a rather helpless Producer.
Let me set the scene
It's 1am in London, lying in a bed fast asleep dreaming the wonderful dream of her team being away on location in LA is our Co-ordinator. Suddenly her mobile phone loudly rings interrupting her peaceful sleep.
Co-Ordinator: (Groggily) Hello?
Producer: The lift's not working
Co-Ordintaor: Excuse me?
Producer: I'm at the hotel and the lift isn't working
Co-Ordinator: (Extremely confused) The hotel in LA?
Producer: (Exasperated) Yes!
I shit you not. This conversation really occurred. I don't really know what the Producer wanted her to do but it is amusing none the less.
Monday, 22 October 2007
Exciting news - we moved desks this morning and I have an even better view and ... wait for it ... A RADIO on my desk!!!
This means of course that I'm listening to music whilst doing my call sheet and happily singing along. Now I do not have the best voice on earth so I think I'm torturing my colleagues.
It's alright though, they're English and deserve it ;)
We won, we won, we won, we won, we won!
And it was not a try. If I hear one more of my colleagues discuss "The Try that Never Was" I shall seriously slap one of them.
The English are such sore losers. They're trying to instigate that we only won because their try was disallowed. Such a load of rubbish. His foot was on the line before he touched the ball down! Stupid English.
Well they can not take away the glory and the fact that we are World Champions by our sheer hard work.
Speaking of hard work my day is shaping up to be another one like Friday. We're filming none stop this week and there is a lot to set up for these shoots. I am stuck in call sheet hell.
For those of you who do not know what a call sheet is, it is a lovely word document with every single piece of information that the lovely Creative crew could ever need; from references for their taxis to the nearest A&E to where they are filming. These documents take forever to put together as the information is constantly changing and we are constantly tweaking them. They are bane of the Producton teams life but there really is no better feeling than putting the shoot together, handing the call sheet over and watching it run so smoothly that you just have to pat yourself on the back.
Unfortunately this morning didn't run too smoothly. Our travel agent gave us the wrong references for the train tickets ergo crew didn't get on the correct train which means that we are over an hour behind schedule which messes with everything as now Cameraman have to be paid overtime and the talent is all pissed off as they've organised their day around this too.
And people wonder why I'm so anal about time and sticking to the schedule!
Thursday, 18 October 2007
I realised earlier today that I might actually give my job and my industry a bad name with all of my complaining. This is not the case at all. I do love my job, in fact every single day I realise how lucky I am to actually be working in this industry and be making a name and path through it.
How many other people get to work in an industry which is so flexible and entertaining? Every single day is different and I get to do such a range of things. One day I might be doing boring paperwork in the office but the next day I could be out at some strange location making sure everything runs smoothly on the shoot. I've gotten to travel around England and I've met some amazing people with whom I've developed good friendships. Here are some of the perks of my job
1) We start at 10am. Being in the office at 9/930am is considered early
2) There is no set dress code, the wackier the outfit the more acceptable it is
3) We're all loud, funny and generally laugh our way through work - there is no silence in this office
4) Celeb spotting is a sport
5) Liquid lunches and extended lunch breaks happen all too often
6) We travel an awful lot to shoots and all the expenses get covered
7) Saying where you work for opens up many doors and the offer of free goodies
8) People get jealous when you tell them what you do for a living and they think that you're way cooler than you actually are
9) I'm constantly changing companies and there is no fear of people thinking that my CV is "bitsy" - in fact the more companies you work for the more people respect you
10) When I type frenetically at my blog people actually think I'm working
Seriously people, I love my job
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
I absolutely love talking to someone who has no comprehension on the high stress levels and urgency of the television world. It really reminds me of the fact television is not on the same level of heart surgery and that no one will die if we do not get that perfect shot in the next hour.
This afternoon I had a joy of speaking to a specialist from South Africa who's expertise we are using in our show. He hails from Plettenberg Bay and is typical in that wonderful laid back chilled manner that they all have. No matter how many messages I leave with him, how many emails I send him he just does not respond in the immediate way that most people do because, to him, it is not that important because there are still a couple of weeks left till he needs to leave.
Miss M: Can you please confirm the weight of your excess baggage so we can get the forms through to the airline?
Specialist: Well it will be in the range of 80kg's
Miss M: Ok, so if we clear that amount it should be fine
Specialist: Well it might go up to 120kg's but that won't be a problem to clear just before
Miss M: Is it going to be 80kg's or 120kg's?
Specialist: Oh I don't know, either or
Miss M: Ok, how about I just say it will be 120kg's to avoid all problems?
Specialist: Sure, if you want to. I'm sure it won't be a problem
Miss M: Ok, can you tell me the dimensions?
Specialist: I'm not sure yet, we'll pack them up next week and I'll let you know just before we fly
Miss M: But I need to know now!
Specialist: But why, we aren't flying yet ...
Miss M: We want to sort everything out
Still not sure on the dimensions, don't know if he'll ever tell me. But I do enjoy our chats because it does remind me that my job is not the be all and end all ...
Monday, 15 October 2007
It's 1840pm and I'm still sitting at my desk with a list of tasks so long I can't see the end in sight. I'm tired, grouchy and above all desperately hungry because I don't even remember eating lunch.
The question is: Do I go home now and start tomorrow with a list already 20 items long or do I stay later and complete them?
I wish I knew the answer.
Monday mornings are never the best place for me and this morning was especially bad. After getting myself way too worked up from last nights rugby match (GO SOUTH AFRICA GO!) I couldn't sleep properly and this morning I felt like I was only functioning on reserve cylinders.
So after eventually dragging myself to work I walked into the office and noticed the most bizarre item. We have a blowup kangaroo wearing a spiked dog collar chain at the far end of the office. Now if that wasn't weird enough the kangaroo also has a "baby kangaroo" sticking out of it's stomach but the manufacturing company didn't place it correctly so unfortunately it looks as if the kangaroo has a baby shaped penis which bobs up and down. It is thoroughly disturbing and it keeps looking at me with the coy smile it has plastered across it's face.
Apparently someone sent it over to us as a present. Do they not like us?
Friday, 12 October 2007
Today is a truly stressful day. It isn't that I have one massive major thing to do it is just that people keep coming up to me and asking me to do a small favour for them. Now usually that is all fine, but when you have 10 small favours on top of the other things that you need to do it becomes terribly stressful and a major panic on my behalf.
Today's favours have ranged from
1) Putting a purchase order through
2) Setting up an emergency log in for a new starter
3) Getting parcels couriered out for tomorrow as there is a postal strike at the moment
4) Logging tapes that are going to Australia on Monday
5) Buying contact lens solution to send to Australia (they don't have the same brand)
6) Phoning South Africa to find out about excess baggage
7) Collecting tapes from VTR library
8) Photocopying a file for our BIG BIG BIG boss
These are all small basic things but on top of the work I already have to do I think I'm going to lose my mind. At the moment I sometimes don't even have the time to go to the toilet, or I forget as there is just so much other stuff going on and then suddenly it's like OMIGOD I NEED TO PEE!!
Speaking of which ...
Thursday, 11 October 2007
Emailed received this afternoon
Hi Miss M
Can you order some A4 notebooks with hard spines for the Prod Manager in Australia please. I'm going on Monday and can take them with me. She doesn't like the ones they have there - spiral spines and all.
Excuse me? Do they not sell stationary in Australia? Why can she not get them there? HOW STUPID!!!
Wednesday, 10 October 2007
After a comment from Sugar about a shit job role she had in TV I decided to have a think and list all of the crappy and stupid things I did as a runner a few years ago. Sometimes there were perks though.
1) Come to work at 630am to fill the metre on a car parked outside of our office so we didn't get a ticket. I still had to work until the normal time at the end of the day
2) Assist rugby tackling a wife (Wife Swap) as she tried to run down a hotel corridor. She didn't want to do it any longer and was trying to "escape" but we couldn't let her leave as we were in the middle of nowhere and needed to organise and go through the correct people. Not as bad as it sounds.
3) Drive around the English Countryside at sunrise attempting to find road kill
4) Buy lunches for half of London
5) Clean up after lazy, messy Creatives who are too self important to do it themselves
6) Put lunch together for Jamie Oliver. That was nerve wracking as I'd only starting working for him
7) Act as a Chauffeur for talent on numerous shows
8) Get to party in the Green Room at The British Comedy Awards after working my arse off all evening
9) Wheel a life size cut out of a Zebu down a main road between our offices
10) Sit for a week in a back room of a store waiting to catch Shoplifters on camera. We didn't and it was boring. Especially as the Director had BO
11) Sleep on a couch for 3 hours a night for 12 days and drive talent around during the day. I almost killed us all but nearly got fired for complaining.
TV is so glamorous isn't it?
Tuesday, 9 October 2007
My life can be very surreal sometimes.
This evening, as I leave work, I get to walk down a red carpet with fans crushed against barriers outside of our office. A show is being filmed here tonight in the studios and the front to our office has been turned into a regal entrance for celebrities and "special people". Unfortunately as staff we need to leave that way so for a moment in time I get to feel famous and bask in the cries of adoring fans and flashing cameras.
I wish I'd worn my good clothes today. I might go put on some makeup - you never know who you might see.
If my life was a fairytale - or even a romantic film - this morning on the bus I would have been crammed up against a gorgeous male who would look into my eyes, smile softly and beg me to go out for dinner with him to a fancy restaurant.
Instead this morning I was rammed up against a sixty year old, slightly smelly Indian man who insisted on watching me with a slight leer to his expression which has left me thoroughly creeped out. In fact he has made me feel so dirty that I just want to go home, shower again and then start the day from scratch.
The worst part is, I think I felt him touch my ass as I left the bus.
Monday, 8 October 2007
Runner - A personal slave for the entire office. One can get these poor souls to do anything from making tea to checking if electricity is indeed flowing through that wire. Runners love anyone who makes them feel included. Make friends with a Runner and you're set with tea, coffee and snacks for the rest of the show!
Junior Researcher - A sneaky title given to a Runner so that they feel they are slightly more superior. These "runners" assist the main Researcher in programme developing but will also be expected to make tea and run errands. However they tend to get a little "big for their boots" with the title and look their nose down at basic jobs. I dislike the tossers as a rule.
Researcher - Assist the AP in finding contributors. (reality shows) Researchers are hard working bastards who do not get enough credit as it invariably goes to the AP.
AP - There is an argument here as to whether this stands for Assistant Producer or Associate Producer. Depending on how up their own arse the AP is will depend on what they call themselves. I just saying AP to avoid insulting a delicate ego. These lovely people do everything from finding contributors, locations, liaising with contributors to writing scripts. They are the down to earth voice of the Director and are usually easier to communicate with. You want to know shooting schedules or what is actually happening - speak to the AP
Production Secretary - The support for the Co-Ordinator. However on most shows they either don't have Secretaries or have the Secretaries doing the Co-ordinators job but only getting paid their own rate. TV is all about screwing over the little person.
Production Co-Ordinator - We get to organise everything from shoot days, finding crew, pre production, post production, archive material, copyright issues to handling the money of the show. You've got to love organising and constantly know what is going on. We're the mothers and they're the children.
Production Manager - The Big Mothers. These hardworking people control the budget, agree to give team members money, maintain health and safety, make sure that compliance is met and basically control the production expenditure. This job involves staring at the budget and excel documents until your head hurts. I'm not 100% that I actually want to get to that position!
Director - You get 2 types of Directors; the "Oh I'm making a deep and powerful film" Director and the "Let's get this show on the road and make the best programme ever" Director. The unitiated might not see the difference but trust me you don't ever want to come across the 1st type. They take their job way to seriously and actually think that we are offering society something more than a stupid television show that people will forget 2 minutes after watching. Seriously, get a grip.
Producer - Usually this roll is combined with the Director in Television. It means that you have the added responsibility of working with the Production Manager in controlling the budget but also want to spend obscene amounts of money making the "film" look beautiful. I think these people have a sort of Jekyll and Hyde type of personality.
Executive Producer - They waft in perhaps once a week, make sure that everything is running smoothly and according to plan and then waft out. Come the final product they bitch and moan about the cost and then comment about how beautiful the "film" is and how the public is going to be in awe of the artist creation. They then take all of the credit.
All people who do any of these roles are - as a rule - over bearing, loud, too cool for school, up their own arse, up other people's arse and generally your typical creative type.
Minus the Secretaries, Co-Ordinators and Managers. I only have time for them.
In my job I really do get to do some strange things and very often I don't even get told the reason as to why I'm doing the specific task. Since we're not involved in developing the actual show we tend to be kept in the dark for as long as possible up until the point of actually having to make it happen. Here is an example of a task I recently had to do.
Miss M desperately trying to do 7 things at once before the end of the day
Line Manager: Miss M, would you like to do a really fun task for me?
Looks up very warily
Miss M: Suuuuuuure ....
Usually when someone says "fun" I immediately get worried as it tends to be completely arbitrary and takes a lot of effort.
Line Manager: Can you please look into finding any footage from past programs on television of anyone being shot out of a cannon
Miss M: Shot out of a cannon?
Line Manager: Yes, as in an human cannonball.
Miss M: Oookaaay ...
Line Manager: But can you please make sure that they are untrained people, preferably members of the public who do not do this as a profession.
You don't ask for much do you?
Friday, 5 October 2007
After finishing work at another ungodly hour last night a thought crossed my mind - which would I rather be doing, Working to Live or Living to Work?
In this industry we work such long hours - a normal day is probably in the region of 12 hours when in Production - and the job demands that you put it first above any else that might be happening in your life. This means that your partners, friends, laundry, house cleaning, socialising or just about anything gets put on hold or just never done. It's exhausting. When I'm at work all I'm thinking about is work and when I'm home I'm worrying that I haven't done something and that the shit will hit the fan the following morning.
Am I built for this? I'm only 24 but is this intense work load and lack of socialising hindering my opportunities to meet someone? I look over the office and only 2 of our team are married and less than 40% are in a relationship. None have children and some of the directors barely ever see their partner. Is this something that I want?
I've always been ambitious and I really want to go far in my career but I also want to settle down and have a family - I want the 2 or 3 children, big house, baking goodies in the big farm kitchen and dancing around the garden in wellies and a nightdress. (strange dream I have)
Do you think it's possible for me to have both in this industry? Or am I travelling really slow in this incredibly stressful fastlane?
Wednesday, 3 October 2007
Colleague: Hey Miss M, you know that laptop we sent Marty off with? Well they can't connect to any printers in the Australia office without our IT administration password so can you get it from IT and send it to Marty, this is very urgent.
oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck
Miss M: Sure, I'll call IT now
oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck
Miss M calls IT
Miss M: Hey, you remember that laptop you set up for Marty, well he needs to add a printer to it and we need the administrator password. Can I please get it from you so he can print?
IT: I'm sorry Miss M but we can't give out the password.
Miss M: Ok, so what do we do? He needs to add a printer
IT: Well without the password he can't.
Miss M: And you won't give me the password?
Miss M: But he needs to add a printer
IT: He can't without the password.
Miss M: Well I need the password then
IT: We can't give it to you
FOR FUCKS SAKE!
This conversation went on for almost 2 hours with different people.
The outcome? We can't set up Marty with a printer.
Monday, 1 October 2007
From across the office I hear a telephone conversation
Producer: I need to find a country that has endangered species
Producer: Okay, but I want a more exotic one. Somewhere in Africa perhaps?
Producer: No but those animals could also be found in the UK
Producer: Okay that's getting better but we need it to be a really exotic creature in a country that will make people go "wow that's extreme"
Producer: Well have a think and make me up a list of all of the endangered species around Africa/South America/The Far East and I'll make a decision.
I've got an idea love, how about you find a creature you think works in a country that is perfect and then kill off the majority of them. That might be the easier route.
A tube ride on Saturday led to a really strange chance meeting with a girl who was at university with me. One of those situations where I wasn't really friends with her but knew her through other people - couldn't even remember her name when I saw her. She, however, was really strange.
Miss M on a over crowded tube rammed up against a bunch of strangers
Miss M: Hey, how you? Strange to see you here
Strange Girl: Yes, I'm not supposed to run into people I know on the tube!
Miss M: I'm sorry about that
Trust me honey if I could have avoided saying hi I would have
Strange girl pokes the guy standing next to her
Strange Girl: Introduce yourself!
Man: Hi, I'm P
Miss M: Nice to meet you, I'm Miss M
Strange Girl: That's my HUSBAND!
Miss M: Ooookaaayyy, good to know ... Well this is my stop. Bye.
How completely random. Was she pointing out to me that she had managed to get married and how cool she was because of it? Was she trying to make me feel jealous, because he really wasn't anything special. What on earth. Is he some sort of appendage that she feels she has to show to everyone? It isn't like he's jewellery or anything honey!