Out in the field

Etna, Stromboli and smelly tshirts: part 2

Filming is just about wrapped up here – we had a good morning shoot on the flanks of Stromboli yesterday, now the weather has cleared. The hydrofoil back to Messina stopped off at all the main Aeolian islands, then we hopped in a taxi to Catania airport for a 21.30 hrs flight to Naples.

We got as far as the tarmac, ready for take off when the call came to disembark and the airport closed – Etna is erupting again! We were filming only Monday with the people who made the call to ground flights. Now for some more major league faffing…

Etna erupting

Etna erupting - view from Catania airport

We we stung a big charge for extra baggage by AlItalia yesterday and late last night had to collect it all, load into taxis, search for a hotel (all full close to the airport),  drive back to city, unload kit (again), and then repeat it all this morning. On five hours sleep.

Now here we are again, back at the airport surrounded by frustrated Italians putting their lack of queueing skills to good use, and no indication of when we will be leaving for Naples. Could be later than midday, which puts a massive hole in our already tight schedule. I should be in Pozzouli by now, getting ready to shoot a dive sequence around the sunken Porto Julius. More likely to be sinking a beer in the airport bar.

For the avoidance of any doubt, this industry is generally not glamorous. Despite shooting for Nat Geo, the project on the ground is under resourced, we have overspent and

flights grounded due to ash cloud

Foiled by Etna!

are severely time constrained. The team are under real pressure now and all in a foreign language. If our sound man didn’t speak good Italian we would be well and truly shafted. Here, the key qualities needed to get the job done boil down to character traits not technical skill. Attitude, desire to get the job done and stoicism all count as much as the ability to focus a lens or record a sound bite. I wonder how much of that is taught on Media Studies degrees?

One thought on “Etna, Stromboli and smelly tshirts: part 2

  1. Working in another field-based business, I can certainly appreciate what Nick is saying about “Attitude, desire to get the job done and stoicism all count as much as” [things taught in formal courses].
    Hope that he posts more details about diving at Pozzouli – as a trainee diver, that sounds thoroughly interesting to me. And being “at work” on a desert island in the Indian Ocean, one of the many frustrations on this location is that sites like Twitter are blocked, so I’ve no idea if he’s actually posted any links there.

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