I got a call from a friend of mine who’s a film and television producer. It was great to hear from her, as we haven’t met in a while, and we chatted away, and then Breda got down to business.
She’s producing a series entitled Consuming Passions — and I could already see where this was going. Honestly, I did, and before the word ‘horse’ even bounces its way off of satellites and mobile phone towers, I knew what was next and I began to make a decision about it.
Do I want to talk about horses for a documentary series? Do I want to be on television? How narcissistic am I, anyway?
I’m happy to report, in the aftermath, that I haven’t got a narcissistic bone in my body. Well, okay, maybe I do, but it’s not big, it’s not a femur or an ulna, it’s small, it’s like some class of metatarsal, as tiny as the distal phalanx of the second toe.
But there is an agenda, of course, and perhaps this post does require a subhead:
SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION Hey, I got books to sell. I’m already supremely well fixed in the Irish media community, I’ve got friends on a variety of publications — I’ve even organised a feature article about me and my novel for Irish Tatler, a respected woman’s glossy, that, er, I’m writing myself… okay, maybe the bone needs to be upgraded to a clavicle.
I’ll be ‘out there’ full throttle come September — did I mention that one of my nearest and dearest friends is a kick-ass PR? — and that the paper will send snappers to the party that I’m throwing for myself and that I’ll get more coverage as well? — but every little helps, and okay, so I’ll be on TV and I’ll ride Reb and maybe flog a tome or two.
It didn’t seem quite real to me, though. I talked to the researcher, I arranged to get a lift from the director who wants to come and see the yard, and I’m in some kind of audition mode, maybe? Maybe tens of thousands of people are in line for this spot, and I’m still kind of thinking it’s not a done deal.
Even when I began to furiously hoover my flat, it still didn’t seem like a… thing. A thing that was going to happen. I shoved stuff away and cleaned all my dishes, and I got my hair cut [okay, the bone is now a humerus] and didn’t tell anybody because, you know, who knew?
We shot last Thursday.
I’ve been behind one or two cameras myself, run a few productions, directed theatre, made some short films, so I know how this stuff works, and the first thing I’ll say is that Conor the director and the crew, Phillip on camera and Mick on sound, were a lean, mean machine. No messing. My major concern was getting to the yard on time, it was my private lesson day, after all, and it all went smooth as silk. Even the thing with the bus — Dublin Bus laid on a vehicle just for us, which was terribly efficient of them — even that went down super fast and precise, and off we went, after lunch, out to the yard.
Blogging about my experience is one thing. Talking about it was entirely another. I talked so much I began to be concerned that I’d even remember how to do it, after a while. Getting on a bus as if I was heading out the centre was an exercise in extreme self-consciousness, standing, waiting, looking, putting my hand up so it would stop which I wouldn’t do in ‘real life’ because the buses always stop on the coast road because it’s the only bus that goes down this part of coast road, stepping up, ack! I felt like it was the fakest embarkation ever.
It must have fine, since we didn’t require a second take.
And tacking Rebel… not any faking to be done there, but there was a bit when I thought he was blowing out his belly but in fact the girth was twisted on the offside, and I fixed it, it was fine, and oh, brother.
And then there were the actual lessons themselves… but let’s take a commercial break.