“Action,” says Alicia, and I am off, out of the traps, babbling. I am definitely trying too hard. The expressions on the row of faces in front of me range from uncomprehending but pleasantly amused (the crew), to decidedly anxious (Alicia).
“You look like you are thinking too hard. “
“Keep the energy up.”
“Can you be more enthusiastic but not so smiley.”
“Can you be a bit more spontaneous.”
I think it is fair to say that my first piece of camera was painful for all concerned.
The Team for Morocco to Timbuktu: An Arabian Adventure
The actual team for making the whole programme involved lots of different people from the Boss, Harry Bell, to “Lucky” Bill Gill, the amazing editor to Andrew Blackwell who developed the ideas and put flesh on the bones of the story to all the people working away behind the scenes.
But for the adventure itself, it was a core bunch of Alicia Arce as Director, Séamas McCracken as Director of Photography (camera and sound) Laura Buchan as Assistant Producer, me, Charlie Shepherd as Chief Fixer in Morocco with www.epicmorocco.co.uk and Ismaiel Dicko as Chief Fixer in Mali.
The filming of Morocco to Timbuktu: An Arabian Adventure
We filmed during November and December and what an adventure it was! When I replay it in my mind, I have so many favourite moments: being hauled out of a vat of pigeon shit as it starts to fill up my waders in the tanneries in Marrakech; scratching the soft head of my camel, Hamoun; having a tea party with the women and girls in the caravanserai I stayed in; touching the Sankore mosque for the first time; going in a UN convoy out towards the Niger and leaving the desert for a sea of green-flooded eucalyptus groves; riding a three-donkey cart….. watch the films and you will get the idea!
But, it was sharing the experience that made it really special. Sharing the stories of all the people we met along the way; sharing the actual journey with the team and last but, most importantly, sharing it with everyone who watches it on TV or reads my book.
I hope you enjoy it and feel the love that was put into it by all of us.
If you liked this story, I have actually written a book about the adventure itself and what it was like behind the camera as well as in front. There are the scenes we cut and lots of extra information check out Morocco to Timbuktu: An Arabian Adventure