Let’s set the scene.
I live in the boonies, the absolute rural environment. Out here, chickens run free everywhere, neighbors have four legs, and roads are mostly unpaved. We’re talking rural with a capital “R.” For a writer, nothing could be more relaxing or peaceful. However, it does tend to take you away from the mainstream.
I get requests to do media work, either in front or behind the camera. It’s one of the niceties of being a writer and I enjoy these encounters. However, I’m not fond of short trips, especially if they involve dealing with the TSA and their kin. These one or two-dayers are a complete drag, so I just don’t do them anymore.
Enter the TV producer and his or her crew. They want my help on a series, a production or some interviews. I balk about going outside my primal space. You can see the problem, right? But it’s not a problem for the producers. They are motivated and adept at making this all work out. They’re willing to brave the boonies to get the story. Bless them.
In the past few years, I’ve hosted producers from the UK, Australia, Canada, that kind of thing. Each has brought their crew to my front door, into my house, braving the wilds of this isolated outpost. Each has done it with grace, good humor, and outstanding organization. They are my most favored guests because they are respectful and fun.
Each crew has given me a little piece of the outside world, a taste of their homeland, their culture and their world view. In other words, they’ve educated me. They have shared their big world with my small one. It’s a great way to travel if you’re lazy, like me. There’s nothing like having a new country knocking on your front door.
Sometimes the crew didn’t speak English as their first language. However, their English was excellent. They made me realize how insulated I am, how provincial. I can only speak English. They’ve mastered more. This is something I wish I had accomplished when I was young. Now, they’re faced with a rather boring, boonie-ridden geezer who can’t speak their first language. Is that a problem? Nope. They’ve been there before. They know the drill.
The crews are always polite. They come for a day or two, do their work, and leave everything as they found it. A member of one of the crews actually wanted to wash dishes after my wife provided a light snack. Think about that. She was from Canada and spoke French as her first languge. Obviously, she was raised right, eh? How often do your visitors offer up that kind of courtesy? I’m not talking about good friends or relatives. I’m talking about strangers at your door.
Sometimes the crew and I go out for lunch or a light meal. There’s not much around these parts so the dining choices aren’t great. In fact, they are downright simple and boring. None of the crews complain. Since they were all from different countries, they were caught up in their new environment, wondering about the oddities of rural living. They were in the moment. They were having fun. So was I.
These production crews are light on their feet and deep with a sense of wonderment and humor. They obviously enjoy their work, love meeting people, and lie in wait for the next laugh. I see these qualities with American crews also. But the crews from other countries take it to a new level. These are happy people and they bring their unabashed liveliness with them.
They also bring joy to my life. They make a lazy writer’s existence interesting and fun. Through them I get to experience a different side of life, a freshness that can only come from an encounter with a different culture. Sure, the work is routine for the crews and for me, too. What makes it special is, as always, the people behind the work. They are a special cast of characters who put a little tingle in your life and open your world a bit more.
Being a writer is a wonderful life experience. It opens so many doors. Chief among them is the chance to work with creative people from other countries. They have always been a pleasure for me, a change in the scenery that I always appreciate and enjoy.
I consider them friends, even if we never meet again.