Kill me now

That moment when you just want the earth to open up and swallow you: I’m lucky not to have had too many of those in my life so far (is that a good thing or not?), but one small example springs to mind.

I was working as a camera trainee on a TV drama series in the late ’90s. One of my regular responsibilities was the clapperboard: holding it in front of the lens, saying something like “137, take 1”, clapping it, and then ducking out of the way so as to be out of shot.

The scene in question involved looking over a character’s shoulder as they watched TV, with the rest of the room visible in the background. The camera crew were huddled in the corner behind the actress, so there was nowhere else for me to stand, so once I’d clapped I had to run out of the room completely in order to be out of shot once the action started. The moment arrived and I got into position. All was silent. The camera started rolling. I called the shot number and clapped the board. I turned and started to sprint toward the door. I felt a cable tug at my ankle. I heard a crash. I turned round to see everyone looking at the floor, where the television was laying, face down, screen smashed. Then everyone looked up at me.
“Oops. Sorry”.
Fortunately the calmly professional propmaster had a spare TV ready to go, and the scene was completed with only a few minutes’ delay. But my colleagues never let me forget it…


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