Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mex pics

Mexico was fantastic. We'd start late morning because we knew we'd finish around 8pm every evening, and there was always a buzz about the place because it was all to be built up to the grand event happening on the Friday night. We rehearsed Wednesday, filmed interviews on Thursday and when the second of two presenters arrived Friday we filmed links with both of them then, then set up for the commentators' positions for the event. Above is a pic of our rehearsal position. What was really cool was being the only bilingual crew member I was transtlating for one interview with Danny Torres, an Andalucian 20yr old. He was a nice guy, and appreciated the fact I translated for him, we got on well. Later on we realised how shit hot he was and that he may actually win the tournament. We filmed his bike for a feature on explaining how they do their tricks, and even filmed his Dad since he was some sort of blacksmith who welded on additional parts to the bike that not all riders had, and this enabled him to pull off better tricks than others.

Well, he did win. Check out the website for FMX fighters. You won't see anything I filmed there because my stuff will be on ITV4 later on this year.
On the Saturday we had a free day to be tourists, so we saw the Mayan temples, really cool.

Then unfortunately I wanted to climb over the red gates of the bullring and got arrested. But because the police are only four foot tall I managed to escape.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Andale andale

Catalina doesn't want me to go to central america. She won't give me back my visa.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I got a call today from TWI (no I don't know who they are either, but it stands for Trans World Sport and apparently it's a multinational production company) asking me if I've ever shot football. They wanted me to film some matches in the north of Spain for five days, starting Saturday, but I can't do it because I'm going to Mexico! I had to say no to five days work! Anyway he said he'd call me another time and I can start shooting a match in UK first since I hadn't shot footy before.
So wow. Things may be looking up.

From Primrose Hill to Mexico City

We went out to the Hill on Saturday, and on our way to the park the two girls fell asleep so we raced to a pub and grabbed a bench outside. And I finally learned to use Ro's mobile phone camera. It was nice to just sit down with a moment of peace and dream a little, or not talk at all. Breath! It's not easy looking after the girls, but I think we do ok - we work around their timings and things tend to be a lot easier to manage then. Juanita has her nap just after lunch usually, so if we need to travel by car, or just have a coffee, we do it then. Their bath time is 6pm so Juanita knows it's dinner shortly after, then bedtime. This rythm when stuck to means her body clock is predictable and no one has to throw their dummy out of the first floor window, or fall off the arm of the sofa deliberately to cause a fuss.
Aside from angry accidents, there are the other random ones we have to control. Like sucking mum's mobile phone charger's contact so it oxidises and mum can't charge her phone anymore. Or nearly throwing dad's mobile phone in the bath. Opening the fridge and helping herself to milk, tomatoes or ham and cheese slices. After dinner. Or climbing on top of Catalina's cot to get inside - whilst her sister sleeps in it. Drawing 'pipis' (birdies) on the wall in colour pencils is my current bone of contention.
I reach a point where I think 'oh sod it I haven't got the energy. Take all the ham slices you like'. That's when Rosario realises I've lost the battle so she steps in. Actually, it's normally the other way round. My favourite fashion at the moment, on a cuter note, is when anything comes to an end (TV program, song, plate of food) she turns to look at us and with her arms outstretched, hands wide open, says "all gone!"

I've been booked for a week's filming in Mexico next week, which is exciting. I think we're going to Mexico City to film some sort of motorcross Championship. If I can get this much work consistantly then I think finally we're going to be alright. I say finally, it's only been two months and they say it takes a year at least!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

New Beginnings

I don't think I've actually bothered yet to comment on the rather large changes that are happening to me this year. I suppose it's the one big change I always knew was inevitable, but I secretly wanted to postpone it until I thought I had the courage to jump. I was made redundant at the end of Dec 2006, and feared the worst for the new year, but again lady luck has decided to show grace. Another name for lady luck in this case is Sandra, my cousin!

I think it was five years ago I was on the dole looking for any work film-related, often working for free. I used up all my savings, and discovered what an overdraft was. After searching through a film company directory and getting to the letter K with no realistic leads, Sandra recommended I meet her colleague's boyfriend. Through that contact I got 6 weeks work for Tiger Aspect, a large production factory that make all sorts of stuff from tabloid reality TV to motion pictures such as Billy Elliot.

Then my prospects dried up again, but the cameraman remembered me to a small outfit called Positive Film & TV that he used to work for years ago, and they needed an assistant. And there I remained, growing and developing my skills until I too became a cameraman, just like the guy I aspired to be when I assisted. I never realised how lucky I was at how superior Positive was in it's production, and am grateful I have been so well trained.

But Positive depended too much on their one client; Discovery, and even the international business that is known world wide is looking bleak. So Positive let go of all their staff. I was left with a mortgage and four mouths to feed, and the scary prospect of 'bankrupcy' on a small scale. But lady luck came again. Sandra told her boyfriend of my plight, and he told his friend who happens to be going out with an established series producer working for the BBC. They saw my showreel and contracted me for 25 days filming, which in the freelance world is every man's dream when he starts out. It's a comfortable head start to a very competitive race. I was nervous about the job with such a world renouned company, but the six days I've worked so far have proved enjoyable, also because it's a fun job to get. It's now that I realise that I'm actually quite good at my job - I know I've got plenty of room for improvement, but I am also confident my work is better than average. And it's done my ego a lot of good.

I think generally I never think enough of myself even though I've got a lot to be proud of, but I'm so glad I took the risks I did when I returned from abroad. I had a wonderful lifestyle and enough money to save for the future, but no career or intruiging ladder to climb to make me proud. That's what I decided I wanted when I was in Italy, in the prime of a very pleasurable lifestyle.

I was teaching English, and very happy with my work. It was well paid in the centre of Milan but only six hours a day. I ate amazing food. I was welcomed into a warm and friendly close group of friends that I felt like I grew up with. One day I told my Italian girlfriend's mother (who I thought would be my mother-in-law) that I wanted to return to UK with her daughter and make a name for myself. We were all in the living room after eating a fantastic lunch, mushroom risotto I think, drinking a strong coffee. I was sitting on a large sofa, her father, a very big man with a moustache that seemed to cover his mouth because he rarely spoke. But when he did it was scary. He was pretending to watch the news when she asked me sceptically "what do you want to do?" and I said "I don't know what exactly but I know I want to be in the film industry." I knew they saw me as a nice English guy getting an easy life in Italy, and felt understandable doubt, towards a pipe-dreamer who was wanting to risk his livelyhood and taking their only daughter with him. But I knew when I told Grazie Vaghi what my amitions were, that I had never said anything with more conviction.

To this day I remember that conversation as a turning point in my life. I remember I wasn't really telling her my plans. I was telling myself, and had firmly decided something for the first time in my life. It felt like I had come to the answer I had been looking for since leaving university. I had turned a corner and knew where I wanted to head for. The oddest thing is I wasn't to take her daughter with me. She feared the giant commitment of moving to another country more than commiting to co-habiting with me. Ironically I hear through the grape vine she is finally moving to Dublin. But the reason I'm writing this now is that after that decision was made I have now finally arrived at its conclusion; to be a freelance cameraman. And it's taken me a lot of hard work. So I'm now at a new beginning.

I'm not a religious man, but I do believe we're being looked after. Not without its tests, fate reaches out its arm just as we teeter on the edge, and I feel like my family are protected. And for that, to whomever it is, I am truly grateful.