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Thursday, September 17, 2009

The other side of the Farmwife life

I am sitting in a Days Inn hotel room in Montreal, waiting for the rest of our crew to arrive so that we can go and get dinner. You might think that traveling with a documentary film crew sounds glamorous but trust me, it is not.
When we are on a shoot and there is no food in sight, I am the go-to person who is sure to have at least one granola bar and possibly an apple in her bag.
When we need something desperately to complete a shoot, such as an extra hard drive for the video camera, I am the go-and-get person.
When we have to pay for meals, hotels, car rentals, flights and other incidentals and the boss isn't with us to swipe his Platinum Visa, mine will do.
I am on the Internet after everyone else has gone to sleep. I am scouting locations, researching backgrounds of interviewees and emailing contacts for appointments and permits.
I am the first one up in the morning, making sure that the weather is fine, our interview subjects are ready, our location is set up and our equipment is in the van.
I'm sure the director is up too, doing her preparations, and the camera men are charging their batteries. The sound guy is fluffing up his microphone and our researcher is already en route to the archives.
But trust me – no matter what they say – I am the busiest of them all.
And if something goes wrong – like, say, the crew gets a total of 3 flat tires on their van while travelling the Route de la Baie James, I am the one to blame. Because I didn't insist on anything better than 4-ply tires from the rental company.
But I love my job. It's different every day. And it keeps evolving. I found my current place of work, gordongroup marketing + communications, through one of my university professors at Ryerson. Peter was in British Columbia teaching a Toronto university course to me in Taipei City, Taiwan. How is that for a small world? When I finally returned to Canada, he suggested I approach gordongroup about writing and editing opportunities. I worked on a few proposals, did some marketing writing for them, and then after about two years of occasional freelancing from home a fulltime position opened up as researcher on a documentary film project.
I had a decision to make. Do I give up my small town job where I am able to eat lunch with my husband every day and run home to bottle feed a lamb if necessary? Yes. Yes, I do. Because it isn't very often that you are given the opportunity to work in an office where everyone is respected as a professional with a unique set of gifts and talents. It's positively empowering.
Within two months of working in research on the documentary film, I was assisting in project management, planning an upcoming film tour. Now, as I finish up my sixth month in the company, I am managing the entire documentary film project. A bit scary, I'll admit. And it's a far cry from my dream of becoming an award-winning novelist, working in my home office and taking all my coffee breaks on the back porch with a view of the pasture. But this job was a door that opened and the Farmer and I decided I should pass through it.
It's wonderful to be able to pursue an exciting career, while coming home to life on the farm. It's busy, for sure. Weekends can be more exhausting than weekdays, when you're mending pants and the fences that ripped them, weeding gardens, cleaning house and mucking out stalls.
“It's almost two fulltime jobs you have,” my friend pointed out the other day, at our staff party on the farm. Some of my colleagues at gordongroup marketing and communications, many of them what we fondly refer to as “city folk”, made their way south on the 416 to the Fisher farm last weekend. We had a pig roast, a live band and a campfire. It was a beautiful day, and the animals were in fine form, coming up for handouts of corn from the visitors.
Yes, life is busy. But you never know what is around the corner: feast or famine, health or heartache? So, to put an old farm saying to good use, we make hay while the sun shines.

1 comment:

Shirley said...

May I use your Canadian Snow Trumps Sunshine in Oz in the November issue of my group's nature on line journal for November. I edit, compile and e-mail contributed articles and photos to our members. I need your permission to use your article and photos. You will receive credit on the by line. Thanks