Hurry up and wait


Today I had the chance to go to a studio in an industrial estate and play a few roles in a corporate training video. There are few experiences which have a greater disparity between perceived excitement and actual excitement than being on a film shoot. Just like law and sausages, everyone wants to enjoy the result, but actually being involved in the manufacture is quite a different thing.

There are far worse things to be doing in this life, of course. Sitting around in a chair in a room with a reasonable level of ventilation isn’t so painful: it’s indoor work with no heavy lifting. Nor is having somebody apply make-up to your face for you. (Then again, it can be upsetting to discover people think your face is shiny enough to require remedial action.) I managed to combine working remotely on a selection of office tasks while occasionally pretending to be an office worker, working in an office.

It was almost a Moebius strip of existences, intertwined together. If I go to work on Monday and discover my entire company was greenscreened in without my knowledge, that the world is nothing but plasterboard and string, that the entire universe is a succession of poorly rendered falsehoods, jumbled together in Final Cut Pro.

Actually, you can get the same effect by drinking too much the night before, but hangovers and existential scepticism are not afforded the same respect. Oh well.

Since most of a filmshoot consists of sitting around waiting for something to happen, it’s a mistake to drink a large jug of strong black coffee, particularly just *after* you’ve had your excitement for the hour, when you should be sitting back and psyching yourself up.

It’s also a good opportunity to hear your voice being played back and realise how obnoxiously smug you sound. (Actually, my voice has two settings: incomprehensible and aggravating. I veer between them, usually with whichever is least appropriate for the situation.)

Still, it’s a sort of fun, with the chance to talk to people in between takes, when my office life mainly consists of working with machines that lack all conversational skills.

Strangely, over time I became accustomed to the shade of green the room was painted in (everything was being greenscreened so it was a uniform shade, ready to be digitally removed). Emerging into the sunshine, I was dumbfounded to find other colours existed in nature. I leapt in a cab and headed back to do more work, secure that there will be a corner of an workplace training that is forever England.


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