It’s been pretty crazy at t’chateau this weekend. Two major events – The Menace reached the grand old age of 4!! And I shot a pilot. No – I didn’t kill Hagar *I know tempting; but despite his mahoosiveness I would probably miss if I even tried, as I have never, ever, discharged a weapon. In truth we made the pilot episode of a 30 minute show for AMMMTV. The focus was ‘How easy is it really, really, really to be self sufficient?’
I have watched Hugh Furry Witless C*nty Fuckingstoke and his little River Cottage delights and I agree, I do, I do, I do -I really want curried egg mayonnaise with puy lentils to be a manly sandwich. I do because I love pulses and vegetables – I love great food. *oink, oink* Yep – 40 years investment in hard eating and drinking has made me this Rubenesque. Call it what you will.
The TV shows make it look so easy and effortless – you just do a bit of this, pop in a bit of that, whisk here, dig, dig and Bob’s your uncle we are runnning a self sufficient Kibbutz in The Shire and we all lived happily ever after. The END!
But the truth is I am not even sure it is possible to do it?
A couple of years ago we were living in military quarters in Poole, Dorset. Our only power sources and water supply were mains gas, mains electricity and mains water. There was a huge dump of snow across Britain that didn’t quite reach us. But it brought Britain to a standstill and none of the lorries could get through to Dorset to re-supply the supermarkets. There was panic buying and everyone cleaned the shops out of fresh produce. You couldn’t even buy a carrot. I realised that I was wholly dependent on the civil infrastructure for my survival. It made me realise that I needed to be somewhere where I could have a head start at protecting my children in the event of us surviving an apocalyptic incident. I realised that on some level I NEEDED to be more self sufficient. But how? I have no farming experience and I am as pampered as the next person. The folk on the TV make it look so easy!
So the idea behind the pilot was to discuss this notion and have a go at it at making a TV show about it but honestly, in a one take telly way, with no budget, limited resources and a very fixed time period.
My mate runs a production company and he sponsored me with the kit so we could up the shot grades and have a multiple camera shoot, I then was able to hire Jim Klass who I worked with at Help for Heroes to shoot, direct and edit and he brought in a second camera operator, Callum Toms.
We roughed out 6 segments:
Intro – Why?
At The Veggie Patch – from weeds to ??????
In the Hot Spot – guest spot with local Shireite – Music producer and musician Anthony Clarke
Kitchen Antics – the place where I bake a cake – Lemon Drizzle Cake
Dining Room debate – Is it even possible to become self sufficient? I think not!
Political commentator: Mary Ann Seighart
Small holder: Stuart Taylor
Musician: Anthony Clarke
Jamming Out – music in t’kitchen – Anthony Clarke sings us out
We started at 8am and finished at 5pm and basically shot the lot in one day – it’s a bit garbled but we did it. There was no room for error and what we shot was what we got. Then Jim did a rapid edit in 24 hours and we have spliced it all together. A local band the A-Heads are now going to compose the music for and then when we drop that on it and it will be ready to show.
The truth is that making TV shows is a tough job and I am really impressed with what we achieved in such a short space of time. It’s rough around the edges, sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s dull and sometimes it makes your toes curl but you know what we had a go and if it was perfect then people wouldn’t work in TV as a job and everyone would be doing it!!!
I then had to hurtle back up to North West London to drop off, all the very gratefully received, borrowed kit and then hurtle back to The Shire to host The Menace’s 4th birthday and deliver her the best day ever, surrounded by small, bouncing, chatting little people and lots of Barbie dolls. No problem! She had a great day – and ate nothing but cake! Marie Antoinette would have been proud.