I can do anything. Yes, I can. Firstly, I’m a woman. Secondly, I’m South African. Thirdly… I’m still thinking about that one. Ah, got it. I’m creative. A creative working South African mother. Strongest mammal on earth. Approach with caution.
Making good TV drama isn’t easy. Making TV drama in South Africa is what the politicians call “a challenge” (i.e. a balls-up). Making TV drama in SA during Covid-19 is Mission Impossible. (And Tom Cruise can’t join us due to travel restrictions.) However, TV is a hungry medium and my bank account is empty. After all, the new SA motto is: F*cked but Focused. Oh, get off the floor, we’re mid-pandemic. Swearing is the least of our problems.
Many people ask me how to get into the film industry. Here’s a short summary of how the process of creating a TV drama works. Especially when working for the National Broadcaster.
1) It all starts with wild enthusiasm. Whoop-whoop! This is going to be a fantastic creative experience. I’m going to change the world.
2) Meetings galore. With unenthused non-creatives. They will look at the budget.
3) There’s no budget due to “a challenge” (i.e. theft).
4) Utter despair/depression. Me. Not the suits.
5) Wait. Wait. Wait. Okay, not going to happen. Oh well, let’s go out, have a fabulous time and drink. Damn, none of the above allowed. Maybe if we go in a taxi?
6) Unexpected phone call. Can you start immediately? What? Now? No! I mean, can I eh… get ready quickly? (Been in my pjs for a week.)
7) We get the all-clear. No contract yet but the legal department is working on it. The Caretaker Executive CFO is on compassionate leave. (i.e. doesn’t feel like working.)
8) Rainbow team compulsory. Okidoki. Work, work, work. Pressure, pressure, pressure. “Challenging” to write a love story where the actors have to keep their social distance. Every location has to be sanitised daily. No budget for PPE.
9) More budget cuts. Huh? I haven’t received any money. What’s to cut? (Except your throat, Mr Fatcat in the Suit.)
10) Token Search for the guilty party ensues. Tantrums. Walk-outs.
11) Persecution of the innocent. Promotion of the incompetent.
12) Nervous breakdown.
13) Get up and carry on.
And that was only the script-writing process. Still want to be in the movies, sweetheart? After months of trauma, two people remained standing: Yip, you guessed it. Two women. Hey, this is Woman’s month, so indulge me.
However, I’d like this to be a useful article for men as well. If you’re married you probably know this, but now you have confirmation: you’re not alone.
A woman knows all about her children. From most-hated subject to latest crush, friends favourite food, secret fears, hopes and dreams. A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.
A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument. Women need the 329 items in the bathroom. Just because you can only identify 18 of these products, doesn’t make her a big spender. It makes you an idiot… Huh-uh. Last word, remember? A man will pay R100 for a R50 item that he needs. A woman will spend R50 on a R100 item that she doesn’t need. Because it was on sale, of course. So, who’s the big spender, huh?
I know women are stunning creatures, but I’m biased. So, I did a random search.
Jacinda Ardern, Simonetta Sommaruga, Angela Merkel. Yes, all heads of State. Not such a big deal, many women have run countries. But: go check how they have steered their countries through the current Covid-19 pandemic. Mi’lady, I rest my case.
One of the main reasons why my business has survived is the fact that women love ‘pretty’. Not so practical. Keep that in mind next time you want to spoil her, which should be at least twice a day. One of my most prolific suppliers sums up how a business can survive: “We’ve done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.” Yes, she’s a woman. South African. Creative. Like me.