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News article created on 30 January 2014

Lights, camera, action

Warning: the following blog may contain scenes of explicit embarrassment.

The night I first met my partner he likened me to Kate Bosworth. I graciously accepted his outrageous flattery at face value, for exactly what it was. Two days ago I would happily have given away one of my kidneys for a similar comparison.

It all started one fairly inconspicuous day several weeks prior when my manager asked me if I would consider being her ‘contingency plan’ (I’m pretty sure the word she intended to use was ‘understudy’ but I'll not split hairs) for a short piece of film. All I would have to do is learn a few lines to read to camera and speak about my views (job related) in an informal interview type scenario. Yes, I’d absolutely love to was my, fairly predictable, response.  How very exciting I naïvely thought.

The stars and planets perfectly aligned and my ‘call up’ came the afternoon before filming started.

In the most obvious way a catalogue of annoyances happened that morning. Traffic. Rain. Nowhere to park upon arrival. Creased trousers. Muddy shoes. Remembering that the only question I had asked was “what I should wear?” and had been told that it’s best to avoid black. Then finding that I seem to have a penchant for this particular colour, so black it was. Oh, and digging out the only item of make-up I own, a clumpy, dried up stick of mascara only to find that I’m still inept at applying it. Cursing as I transfer the determined black stuff from my eye, to my finger, then back to my eye again.  

It's possible that the reason I was asked to do this is because I’m fairly eloquent, am passionate about what we do, have quite strong and well founded views and can express those views in a clear and succinct manner.  

Why is it then that when someone points a camera at me the only word I can form loud enough to make it audible is “um”.

Seriously, that was it.

Nine GCSEs, four A-Levels and three years at university and the very best I could come up with was “um”.

Thanks brain, thanks a bloody bunch.

But then, just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did because now I can’t STOP talking. 

I’m just rabbiting away, as though my mouth has been abducted. I’m using words I would never dream of using in everyday life and nothing I’m saying even makes sense. I’m talking in the same way as when I get an answerphone instead of a human at the end of a telephone. Waiting for a voice to jump in and stop me. But no one does. So I just keep going. Hardly stopping for air.

We move onto the lines that I learnt. So far, so good. I have actually remembered them. 

Then, to finish, they ask me to do a 'nice big natural smile at the end', straight at the piece of white sticky tape above the camera lens.  

So, what do I actually do? 

A great big cheesy toothy grin. Of course.

Then, after what felt like an eternity of self-conscious uncomfortableness, it was all over.

In hindsight I think there should have been a contingency plan for the contingency plan.

About this blog

Sarina Young

Sarina joined us in 2008 as our customer services co-ordinator. Among other things, she manages our national customer service team, complaints procedure and requests for information made to the Trust. She says that the most important thing to her is to be able to go home and feel as though she’s achieved something, however small that might be. Her job is hugely satisfying, widely varied, full of deadlines, immensely interesting, sometimes challenging and no day is ever the same, although some are surprisingly familiar!  

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