There’s an old cliché about not working with children or animals. I think it’s to do with “special” people who lack immediacy being put into sharp relief by something completely present right by them. It’s hard to marry artifice to reality. We see that war lost when they pump out these staged “reality” shows involving these empty shells who were “made in” Chelsea or Jersey or Essex as they cynically attempt to act out idealised analogues of their own shit lives, and end up looking and sounding like evil ventriloquist’s dummies operated by narcissist stroke patients.

We had a Great Dane on set – Fraser. He’s a big enthusiastic jowly horse of a dog. His attention span made the six year old look like a samurai. His habit was to run at the camera whenever action was called. His trainer had it covered though. Constant application of towel before those pendulous drools snapped off splat onto an actor’s leg. Liberal use of treats, delivered by hand right into his chompy mouthy munchy wobbly cakehole. “Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Good boy. Waiting. No no, waiting ” We got the shots we needed. Jo, the actor by me, had her finger in his collar to help. But he could’ve keelhauled her, despite her being taller than me in heels.

This was a one day community. The job is done forever now. I will never see many of that momentary “family” again. One quick day of my life as a green person. To be honest I’m still green now and I’ve spent ages with pads and lotion so I might be green tomorrow whilst I invigilate exams. I’ve never been very good at getting makeup off. And now I’m diverting my post shoot car into central London for a treasure hunt.

It was a happy day on set today, and for the two kids it was the first set they’d ever been on. Nice for them to start with such a chilled one. The six year old was doing “High five, on the side, up above, down below … too slow” His dad must be more or less exactly my age, or the eighties really are back. There was a brief hiccup where the client worried that the hairpiece I had on made me look like a certain German dictator. But that was solved easily enough. And nobody got stressy. Winning.

Of course I can’t blog any specifics until the footage is released. Not even the brand. And I can’t put up any photos. Which sucks as we got some great ones. So here’s Fraser, just after he was wrapped.


He was the first his first of us wrapped. Now I’m in my cab home but I’ve diverted it to Green Park so I can run around looking for treasure with Brian and Mel. Which might not be the best idea considering I can barely keep my eyes open. I ended up having about two hours sleep last night. Pickle was being affectionate by jumping on me every time I started dreaming and trying to burrow into my gut with her claws. Never work with animals? I’m happy to work with them. It’s living with them that causes the problems.

We did well on the treasure hunt! We won a load of TFL gubbins. (Transport for London. Crap like mugs, Travel pillows and key rings.)

I persuaded this guy to take a photo with me as my twin. He was totally up for making it work. Thanks to him I won a London underground tea towel…


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

One thought on “Shoot”

  1. I’m sure I know that dog. There was a girl who had a daughter the same age as Nicholas, and she used to walk the daughter and a dog exactly like that one to the school bus stop in Fulham every morning. A bit younger than me, tall, with dark hair and a barbour jacket.


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