Sunday, 5 August 2012

So... Who Are You..?

It was an innocent enough question from the lanky G4S Olympic security spod who blocked my way to where i wanted to be here at the Olympic Games. Just doing his job… But the intricacies of a freelancers TV life are not, i assume, part of the training for the G4S Olympic door security course 101. You see, us freelance cameramen can lead a confusing life as to who we are actually working for, when so many TV companies are in the hiring and firing loop. International man of mystery… That's me.

"Your papers please..."  *using comedy German accent.

I approached with my Olympic accreditation at the ready, which quite clearly stated that i was working for Razor TV.  Door spod, impressively alert, then spotted my Press card with the BBC logo dangling from my waistband… He did his job, spotting an anomaly in my identification papers.

However, I must admit that the piss taking, wind up merchant within me reared it's ugly head. I smelled blood and decided to see just how far i could go before the door spod's head burst, or i was dragged away by LOCOG henchmen to Lord Coe's London dungeons and a kicking from Mayor BoJo. 

Door Spod: "It says there that you are with the BBC…"

Me: "Yes, it's my press card, which is issued via the BBC. I'm not working for them today though… I'm working for Razor TV"

Door spod: "Razor TV huh… Not the BBC..?"

Me: "That's right, Razor TV… via the Associated Press"

I could see a dark cloud of confusion descend on door spods face. His too close together eyes narrowed. I could almost hear the clanking of the wheels inside his head as he tried to make sense of what i had just told him. And then he asked me another question…

Door spod: " So… Let me get this straight. Who are you filming for today..?"

Me: "The Chinese…"

As soon as the words spilled from my lips i realised what i had done and now door spod was in a state of complete and utter confusion. He looked at me. He looked again at my accreditation. He looked again at my press pass.

Door spod: " So… Err… Who exactly are you..? And who do you work for..?

Me: "Oh, right… I'm Paul Martin, Media Attention Ltd."

Door spod: " 'Scuse me..?"

I stood there as straight faced as i could. Door spod was a pleasant enough chap and i couldn't inflict any more witty repartee upon his already overloaded security brain.

Me: " OK… Look… Sorry... I'm Paul Martin of Media Attention Ltd, which is my company. I have been hired by Razor TV to film for the Associated Press who, in turn, have been hired by Chinese TV to supply me to film stuff for them. My press pass is issued on behalf of the UK Press Card Authority, via the BBC to accredit me as a bona-fide news gatherer in the UK… Does that make sense..?

Door spod: "Ah right… OK… So who are you working for again..?"

Me: "Razor TV, AP, Chinese…"

This was the tipping point. Door spod was either going to call his supervisor, or make a lone decision. I stood there, expressionless, having realised that G4S door spod had actually done a good job and questioned me, at length as to who i was after spotting the accreditation / Press pass anomaly… and he hadn't let me through yet. He checked my passes once more.

Door spod: "OK… On you go then. Have a good day…"

Phew… Result.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.