Why making TV is exactly like having a baby.
It’s dawned on me recently that my 15 year career in TV production has set me up perfectly for having babies. Here’s why…
Turns out that producing, directing and editing a series is an exact mirror of the three trimesters of pregnancy.
In the first trimester, you feel nauseous at the overwhelming amount of work and the near impossible feat of finding contributors or stories for your programme. You often have nothing to show for it. It’s sort of exciting but generally just daunting, with the odd moment of intense panic or rushing to the loo for a cry.
The second trimester sees you get into your stride, feeling better just to start filming – you’ve got going and it’s finally happening! You take anything that’s thrown at you – 16 hour days, tears, tantrums, contributor drop-outs, production crew dramas, logistical issues… but your baby is showing, there’s no going back and the due/tx date is looming. Let’s do this!
The third trimester sees your previous optimism crumble as you juggle unexpected twists and turns in filming and the edit kicks off at the same time. The project is now massive, it’s kicking you in the ribs and you’re having sleepless nights. It’s all you can think about and to be honest, you’re totally over it and just want it OUT…
Then it’s the birth itself. Well. Training for labour is in the form of that last minute sprint to get the programme to air – sometimes even a genuine race against the clock to transmission. Up all night in the edit, the contractions are now two minutes apart, there’s a LOT of swearing, you’ve not taken enough pain relief, apparently there’s now no time and you just have to deal with what you’ve got and PUSH!
The baby is born. Wow! Tears all round and you forget all about every hardship that came before. Like Dory with her memory issues. You view the whole thing with rose-tinted glasses and a sense of pride… and before long you start thinking about the next baby/project. Like a complete nutter. (Ring ring, ring ring. “Oh hi talent manager, yes I’m available again now – what’s that? A 16 week project filming in Azerbaijan with difficult contributors, no budget, away from my family? Uh-huh, ok. Short edit, right up against TX? Hmm. Sure, sounds amazing. I’m in!”)
Fools, all of us.
But then, we never agree to things we regret as parents either… do we?!