Tuesday, 17 April 2012

In front of the Camera

Isn't it great to have the opportunity to try something completely new?

That happened to me recently when I was asked to film a short clip to introduce The Housemaid's Daughter to book sellers in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. These good folk will hopefully be enthusiastic about the upcoming publication of the book in their respective countries, and will promote it to their local readers. I will also be doing radio interviews for them closer to the August publication date.

But, for the moment, it was a film clip that was required. Ah, the agonies...
Would I blink at the wrong time? Display some previously unknown mannerism? Forget my lines? I had prepared carefully - rehearsing what I was to say. But I discovered that nothing quite prepares you for the moment when you happily complete one sentence, are ready to glide into the next - and your mind simply goes blank. You have absolutely no idea what to say next, despite all the practice. Character-building, I think it's called. In these situations, it's often a temptation to embroider, to cover the lapse until the required text pops back into your head. This, I have discovered, is a slippery slope: it simply leads to greater disaster. Better to swallow your pride, throw up your hands, and start again.

One of the most important practicalities of the filming was to ensure that there was no outside noise while I was speaking. Given that we were in central London - although about 14 stories up - there was always the chance of interruption, and so it proved. We had to stop and restart a couple of times as sirens waxed and waned below. But we got there in the end, and also managed to film a short clip which will be uploaded to my website in the next few weeks. But maybe not? Do I need reminding that I no longer look as young as I feel?

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