Friday, February 26, 2010

by John Lunn

It's free, but it's priceless.
You can't own it, but you can use it.
You can't keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you've lost it, you can never have it back.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Fairy Tale within a fairy tale

There was once upon a time a fine King, and he had everything he could wish for, and a great deal more. He had gold and silver, diamonds and rubies, riches of every kind.

This King had a daughter, who was the wisest and most beautiful Princess that ever was seen. When she was a child she understood all her lessons before her masters taught them to her; and when she was grown up, she was the wonder of the world. Near the Palace where this Princess lived, there was a cottage in which there was a poor little tiny woman, who lived all alone by herself. Not an old woman. Quite a young one.

One day the princess stopped at the cottage and said to the woman, let me see what you keep there. The tiny woman opened a very secret place and showed the princess... a shadow. It was the shadow of someone that had gone by many years before.

"and you keep watch over this? Every single day?" said the princess.
"Yes." said the tiny woman, "because no one so good, or kind, had passed by that way ever since."

The princess realised that of all of her gold and silver, and diamonds, and rubies, she had nothing so precious to her as that shadow was to that tiny woman.


I am filming a series at the moment at a military company, and the story has had to conform to its nature; one enormous den of corporate secrets. We are filming in several locations, one of them mainly full of engineers in a large factory, another at a military base with engineers from various backgrounds, both industrial and military. I'm being deliberately vague in case I can be found in breach of my current contract. I haven't signed an official secrets act, but I have been briefed in certain laws. We were waiting to film the transport of a large helicopter a distance of 100 yards within the grand warehouse where it is being upgraded. We had waited 2 hours until we asked a head engineer when it was being moved. He said the crane operator had finished his shift, and it wouldn't be until tomorrow that he would come back. So it was staying where it was. We were only filming that day, and as is the way in TV, we asked if there were any alternatives to achieve what we wanted to see. One lower ranking engineer said six men could move this enormous vehicle, since it was on wheels all you needed was momentum. Then the 'ship captain' who was ex RAF said in a low voice "Two men could move that vehicle in minutes." We looked at him bewildered until someone said "Of course he'd say that, he's ex military. When you are in theatre if something needs to be done then you get it done immediately. You don't wait."

It is fascinating watching how many protocols exist that are there purely to protect the corporate paranoia. We visited a sister company in the states, and their heads of department were so aware of the implications of corporate secrets being recorded on tape that they contracted a lawyer to accompany us throughout our entire visit. Before we entered the assembly line of the factory he would make us wait outside and cover entire office walls in cardboard so we would never see behind them. Then during our tour he would be furtive and twitchy the whole time. A local PR woman occassionally questioned his motives, and even thought they made an effort to discuss our filming behind closed doors we could see the tension. We did our best to get on well with everybody concerned, it's in our interest to. But on the final day when I almost filmed a close up of an item, he stopped me. I was fine with that. I think I heard a lady ask him why cxactly couldn' I film it. Then a moment later I heard him screaming at the PR lady "Have I made myself CLEAR?!" and everybody turned around to stare - then promptly pretended they didn't notice anything. I've never seen anybody loose their cool like that in my professional history. The implications of us broadcasting confidential equipment, worldwide, and the law suits afterwards must certainly have made him nervous. After all, a lawyer's advice is if in doubt; don't do it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010