It never ceases to amaze just how much filming needs to be done in order to obtain but a few short minutes of programme.
Assuming that “my story” makes it into the final cut as a major part of the documentary – and there’s no absolute guarantee that it will anyway – then I guess that the focus will be on my life for 20 to 25 minutes tops (given that the documentary has other trans women to look at as well).
That’s also assuming that those of us being filmed now all make it in: there are, as I understand, at least two other trans women in the frame and it would be irritating if, say, they decided to drop one of us entirely…cause that would be a lot of time taken for no return.
OK. That aside, the focus so far is first on myself as the prime mover in this drama and second on those members of near family who are prepared to be included. So: no sister, no brother. The first for reasons of camera-shyness, the second because he lives in New Zealand (and this is not the sort of show to run to that sort of budget).
Daughter, definitely. And that is pleasing, since we seem, so far, to have used some of the filming as a means to work through some issues. Example: they wanted footage of us engaged in “normal” conversation…and for the first time in a long while, Tash sat down and didn’t flounce at the first sign of her being contradicted. Hmmm. Perhaps it’s a trick I should try and broaden out. Perhaps if I tell her that the whole house is being secretly filmed ALL of the time, she might be politer!
A couple of Tash’s friends are also possible inclusions…mostly on account of being present after I’d cooked supper. Nina was her usual bubbly self and James…was, if I remember correctly, demonstrating extreme fussiness over what he was going to eat. So. No change there!
Andrea is maybe in/maybe out. Yes: she is absolutely camera shy. But she comes over quite well on camera and, since she insists on being present through a lot of the filming, there has been a gradual shift, from her calling in insults from out of frame, to her being on camera to justify them.
The downside? Well, it was HER idea to film on the beach at Brighton. Moi! On THAT beach? In THOSE boots? Not a success. We did manage one entire take which we were asked to re-run because, according to the director, my eyes never left my feet. Pfft! I am NOT ruining my best boots just to get some artsy shots with a pier in the background!
I also have a suspicion that she is on camera when the surgeon asked if we had any questions – and she asked if she could take the left-over bits home in a jar. Now: they’ll have to cut that on grounds of good taste? Won’t they?
Megan – the step-daughter – is NOT appearing. Her response to the arrival of a camera is not unlike a vampire as the first rays of sunlight appear over the horizon. Its look for the nearest coffin and disappear into the Stygian depths (aka her room, which, when last viewed, appeared to be about a foot deep in unwashed clothes).
The boy star
And the star of the show? The boy, of course. I doubt we are going to get any sort of commentary off him. Though maybe he will add his opinion in a few places. After all, when he and I do the Saturday shops now, he is more than eager to hunt down jewellery and clothes for me. OK. His tastes and mine don’t quite co-incide, but it’s the thought that counts.
So. We have background footage of him on his trampoline. Background stuff of him on the riverbank – and a promise that they’ll be back to shoot some more of him on his swing.
He was particularly excited about that. As he explained: the film people were round making a programme about him, and they were coming back to film him some more later. Bless!
(Interesting aside. We’d debated touting his angelic looks around one or two casting agencies. His cousin, who is but two years older, is currently building up a college fund by doing occasional shoots for clothing catalogues (?). We’d always assumed the boy would hate being filmed – but actually he takes to it like a duck. But would we want him to be a star, even in a minor way? After all, look what happened to McCauley Whatsit. And then, there’s the example of Michael Portillo to act as a dire warning to any would-be kids in ads. Was it Ribena he acted for as a beautiful blonde child? And look what happened to him: a reviled cabinet Minister, and now reduced to, er, making some quite nice and insightful documentaries about traditional life in the UK and elsewhere).
I digress. That’s the cast so far. No doubt we will add to it – and I suspect those involved in the op itself will get a fair show, too. More soon.