Micky Flanagan's Top 10 Travelogue Survival Tips
"Be nice to the runners — they are the future TV makers and will remember what a wanker you were"
There comes a time as an ‘entertainer’ when you are offered the opportunity to do a travelogue. A production company will say something like: “We have this great idea where you go to the jungle for six months: try to seduce a gorilla and wrestle an octopus.”
At which point, you say: “No thanks, I’m off for a bike ride”, and they say: “Yes! That’s exactly what we thinking too, a series about riding bikes.” The next thing you know, you’re on a five-week trip around France with a bunch of herberts you’ve never met before.
If and when that happens, here are my essential survival tips:
- Don’t be a prick. The crew are not your enemy; they’re invariably polite and just doing their job.
- Be prepared to do twice the amount of work you think you need to. What you think is enough, isn’t.
- Trust your producer and director.
- Be open to their advice and suggestions, but be prepared to speak up if you really are uncomfortable with something.
- At the other end of the spectrum, be nice to the runners. They are the future TV makers and will remember what a wanker you were and won’t use you when your career is on the skids. Some items are not going to work – when you find yourself interviewing a disco diva of dubious sexual origins in Provence, be prepared for it never to see the light of day.
- Go somewhere you’re not known – it is liberating working in a place where no one cares who you are.
- Keep reminding yourself: it is not a holiday. It is really hard to keep smiling all day long – so don’t feel you have to.
- Working in a country where you can’t speak the language is really hard – there are only so many ‘Allo ‘Allo jokes you can make.
- Cycling and making TV at the same time is a pain in the arse. Don’t do it unless it’s a short trip around the Cotswolds, or better yet Norfolk (flat).
- Sleep. The production crew may be pissed and having a ball but they’re not on camera – you are.