My line of work is considered unexciting, if not boring sometimes. Well not many would think teaching, researching, occasional editing and translating exciting anyway. But last week I learned that it could be.
On Thursday somebody requested me to anchor a pair of Dusun herbalists in Ranau for a filming, apparently funded by some organisation affiliated with the National Geographic. When I asked what does an anchor do, the person said, simply assisting them in the filming, mostly translating what they say into English. It sounded interesting, especially that it would give me more exposure on over a hundred types of herbs. So I agreed.
On Saturday, hubby, kids and I drove off from KK to Ranau at 5am, something I had never done before, to join the filming crew at 7am. Still a bit drowsy from lack of sleep, I met the crew members and happily let them know I was ready to do the translation, only to be told that I was supposed to host the film. I was taken aback, but because I had come all the way from KK for that assignment, decided to give it a try anyway. After all, the producer told me if I wasn't good enough, he'd not go on with me.
He scrutinized me critically, decided that I needed to wear an overall to create a 'jungle girl' look, checked that I had the right hat on, and got me started. It wasn't easy at all. Having had no preparation, I met the herbalists, had a warm-up session of obtaining as many facts about them and their farms, and tried to memorize all the herbs they told me about. After about an hour, when the herbalists and I started to warm up to each other, the producer announced that it was time to get to work. They put a little speaker on me, and set up the camera. The producer briefed me on what he wanted done, and the herbalists and I started our acts while the kids had fun in the river on the herbal farm. I am most impressed with the herbalists; even though they are elderly, they acted naturally without any script for guidance. Taking cue from them, I found that words came easily to me, and being in front of the camera became exciting. One by one, the facts that they told me earlier came out, interwoven with our impromptu dialogues in Dusun. Giving a commentary on each selected herb on the farm became easy, instead of stressful as I thought it would be.
A few 'cuts' in the beginning of the filming gradually subsided. Halfway through, the producer offered me to host a few more of the series he was working on, which I unfortunately had to refuse because of my tight schedule. Apparently he found me easy to work with, which I was happy to know. And it was also fun to know that I wasn't camera-shy- at least I can do some other things apart from teaching. We completed the filming in about 6 hours (and it was going to be aired for a half hour slot only); dealing with 20 herbs and enjoying some break sessions. In those 6 hours I got to know and like the herbalists and the filming crew. I learned that chemistry is indeed crucial when working in a team. When everybody likes one another, the task becomes light and fun, and easy to complete. That was indeed a weird assignment. I still wonder how did I land on that...
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