With friends like these … a tale of two touchy moments.

Friends and colleagues could be a threat where Clients were concerned. I once had a Client who was a knock-about bloke and a very good friend but he worked for a very religious organisation. He rang me one day, before a meeting we had planned, to warn me that he would be accompanied by a young lady who was closely related to his Chairman. Seems she shared her grandfather’s strict faith so we would, he said, be wise to watch our Ps and Qs, especially Fs and certainly Cs.

Not in itself a problem, but we were to be joined at lunch by a musician who was both a colleague and a great friend of mine. So, naturally I passed on the caution to this close friend and he swore he understood.

Imagine my horror  when, over lunch, my muso mate turned to the ingénue and sweetly asked if she knew the difference between a Big Mac and a blow job. Of course, she sweetly answered no, she did not.

With an over-theatrical leer he then followed with his punch line: “So, want to have lunch sometime?”

She looked at him blankly, thank God.

That self same strictly religious Chairman was cause for a similar threat to my nervous state later, when he was to be part of one of his organisation’s commercials. In advance of this event I had thoroughly briefed the entire crew at dinner the night before on the need for best behaviour all around. That should have been enough, since they all promised to be good.

The next morning at dawn we were gathered on a cold and windy headland “somewhere on the south coast of New South Wales”. We were awaiting the arrival of the helicopter which eventually whirred into view. Cantilevered outside the door of the chopper on a special mount was one of the best blokes you could ever work with. Top cameraman, ex-boxing champ and a gentleman, he alighted to be introduced to the Chairman whose name, let’s say because it wasn’t, was Gregory.

It was, as I have said, bitterly cold. It must have been even colder hanging out of that chopper. This was confirmed by my towering ex heavyweight champion who threw an arm around the little Chairman and looked down at him as he declared “Jesus Gregory. Bloody cold up there! A man could do with something warm around his ears … like a pair of thighs”.

The Chairman did understand but didn’t seem to mind. The two remained pals throughout the day’s filming. I eventually recovered.

Having the Client as talent more often than not provided a challenge or two. On another occasion we were to film a motor dealer as he addressed the camera whilst walking behind a car. Simple, one would have thought. Except that Client was a very short man. As a result, as he walked behind the car he disappeared from view. I left it to the Assistant Director to break it to my client that he would be walking along a plank to make his pitch to the camera. It all worked, well enough to win an award for retail/automotive somewhere or other.



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