It was February 2020, and it was Prince Harry’s final engagement. With Lewis Hamilton, HRH was set to open a motor museum before a new life awaited in America. For me it was the shoot that would be the final tick in the box for my development to get its long-awaited greenlight, writes Media Parents Producer Jodie Chillery.
Two years I’d been working on access to secure a new series that would see me directing shoots at the Isle of Man TT, the Silverstone GrandPrix and Manchester’s Parklife Festival. The positive parley with Prince Harry’s people to allow me to cover this event was definitely going to guarantee 2020 as a career highlight…
…And then it was March 2020.
The green light turned to amber.
The amber light has since dimmed so much it’ll require more than a battery change to resurrect the pitch.
Today, I’m teacher to a 9 year old boy who, for the most part, is more intelligent than I, loves a debate and is very strong willed in working on doing his own thing in his own time. I don’t have the relevant qualifications, patience, resilience, willpower, skill, experience or desire to be a teacher.
Despite my obvious love for all things filming and TV, I’ve grown to hate You Tube and its inane content with such ferocity that most days I come close to doing a Kirstie Allsopp and threaten to smash any screen that dares to air its jaunty little red and white logo.
If you thought two years for access was a long time, that was a doddle compared to the two and a half hours to complete one 12 X tables worksheet. I cried. He cried. The video wouldn’t play. The printer told us to f*ck off. He demanded 84 counters so he could work out how many times 12 goes into 84. I dutifully cut up and coloured 84 tiny, floaty, bits of paper only for this unintentional confetti to end up under the bed, behind the cupboard and in my underwear. Ultimately I screamed “SEVEN, it’s seven!”
This was not the career highlight I had been hoping for.
For respite, we make a regular trip to the pharmacy and paper shop for a shielding neighbour. Over the months, we’ve watched a Barn Owl nest, hunt and hope to spot its owlets fledge. We’ve watched the trilogies of Back to the Future, The Karate Kid and Short Circuit. And when school was briefly open I coached a teacher in basic camera skills and edited his footage for a Remembrance film and their Christmas performance.
Isolation, sickness, death, the darkness of winter, the 12 times table, fronted adverbials and what the Vikings at Lindisfarne ate will all, I‘m sure, make me a better producer, and a more grateful workmate.
It’ll soon be March again. March the 8th precisely (International Women’s Day!), I’m led to believe is when I’ll be available for work. Give me posturing princes, apprehensive police officers and sensitive scripts any day, I’m more than ready to take them on!
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