“Always get permission!” – this could be my flippin’ catchphrase at college. Either that or “Right, tea break!” or “Look busy; the boss is coming”.
My students go out there and they film stuff. They often care not for formalities. They come back to face my new mantra. “Did you get permission? , “Have you had a consent form signed?”, “Did you contact the owners to ask if it was OK to film in their garage?”
“It’s my Mum and Dad’s garage”
“Doesn’t matter- they could sue, you can never tell. Parents can be the worst. Ask Maccaulay Culkin; he’ll tell you.”
It’s been a full week of that kind of nonsense as my class turn in their production files for marking. “That pigeon you filmed, did you get a contract drafted with his agent first? Has he given you worldwide rights? Did he twitter any copyrightable melodies?”
Turns out I am hypocrite. For this weekend I myself got busted for guerrilla filmmaking and brushing my stupid cheek against anti terrorism legislation. Probably.
It’s Friday and after a week full of deadlines being met at work (both mine and my students) and preparations for childminding, animal sitting and hunting for passports that turned out to be secreted in volumes of Margaret Atwood novels (I know- what goes on in my head?), we are on the last leg of The Lorelei’s Album launch tour to London. I am on a mission to collect enough footage to put together a third video for the band (First and Second can be seen here, pop-pickers). I have instructed all band traveling companions to get as much video as they can of the band members as they make their way to That London. “Airports, train stations, tubes, buses- the lot. Film them and hand it all over to me at the end.” We are all traveling separately like the Royal Family so I find myself alone on the plane with Meeester M, Lorelei lead singer and usually jovial behatted troubadour. The problem is that we are not sitting together as we booked our flights at different times. He’s three rows behind me chatting to his fifty something glamourous neighbour.
“Psssst, Meeester, I’m supposed to be filming you!” I shout over in a stage whisper. For one second I think he’s going to ignore me and keep chatting to his new best mate to make me look like some kind of paparazzo sticking out of a hedge- it’s maybe in line with the persona he’s putting forward to his glamorous new companion. "Ignore it, it happens all the time, love. Anyway, where was I...?"
Meanwhile my erstwhile new companion, a guy of about twenty-five, who has until now made no attempt to speak to me offers to move and let Meeester sit beside me, redolent of the bit in When Harry Met Sally when Harry tries to annoy Sally on the flight and her neighbour offers Harry his seat. I’m Harry in this scenario by the way. “Didn’t we once....you know?” “No we did NOT!”
Reluctantly Meeester agrees to move and I set about filming him with my iPhone. He’s not in the mood. He’s got a cold, has just done a full day's work and his Garnier caffeine enriched eye roll on lotion hasn’t quite taken. He gives me the sly two fingered gesture at the side of his cheek as I turn my camera on immediately ruining my first shot, so I decide to get general views of the plane itself. I film the ground crew out the window, I film the overhead signs in the cabin and oh, ace, the safety briefing has started with Gary our Chief Steward who looks like a Dara O’Briain- I’ll film that!
Gary’s in full flow .....and then..... suddenly he stops. He disappears from view and turns off the intercom. I’m still filming. “This is gold dust!” I’m thinking. Gary then comes back into view and suddenly is striding towards me. I’m still filming. In fact I’m still filming him when he stops at my seat and says, “What are you doing?”
Oops. “I’m, em, filming you?” (Am I? What a bloody idiot!) I am currently floating above my body and looking on as an eejit who was filming the safety briefing is given a telling off as an entire cabin full of passengers look on, several of them laughing, including my former twenty something neighbour who made no attempt to chat me up earlier confirming that I have indeed “lost it”. He is pissing himself laughing in particular.
Gary is nae happy. It’s taken him thirteen hard years to perfect that safety briefing. Only to have it ruined by an IPhone wielding eejit. “You are not allowed to film on the plane. You are particularly not allowed to film a safety briefing” He says as if it were indeed one of your actual Ten Commandments and he is your actual Moses.
“Switch that off,” he commands as he turns and returns to his briefing starting position.
Gary isn’t finished with me yet though. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” he says with intercom in hand once more, “ I apologise for having to start the Safety Briefing again but SOMEONE was filming me.” The safety briefing recommences with no-one watching it as they are now all looking at me. Many of them are openly sniggering.
As drinks are served, I try to hamfistedly make amends with Gary. I could have done better as my opening gambit is, “I'm so sorry. I’m not some mental terrorist, I was just filming my husband’s music video”. Yes, I actually say the word “terrorist”. Gary still hates me, possibly more now that I’ve claimed I’m not a terrorist which is exactly what a terrorist would say.
“The pilot has instructed me to tell you to delete all that footage. You need permission to film on a flight and YOU WOULD NEVER be given permission to film a safety briefing” (again with the Wrath of God Old Testament tone). I take my gin and tonic from his judgmental hands and examine it for spit as Gary moves off to serve other better behaved passengers.
So this is the start of the flight. I’ve a whole 80 minutes of Gary’s wrath and fellow passenger ridicule to endure. Highlights include Gary grabbing the intercom halfway through the flight as I make my way to the toilets to tell me to return to my seat “as the conveniences are not available when the seltbelt warning sign is activated” and the bloke behind me who didn’t even try to chat me up laughing at that too.
Always get permission.