Monday, November 24, 2008

Fame! I want to live forever etc etc

Getaway Presenter Catriona Rowntree

Getaway at the Grampians 20th-22nd Nov

After my days conservation work on Fri 14th Prue had a big surprise for me. She was inviting me to take part in the filming of their Grampian holiday for Getaway. Apparently its one of the most watched programs on Australian TV! Me a TV star - how could I refuse (free room and board as well!)

So on Tue 20th Myself, Prue and another volunteer Sheena headed back up to the Grampians to do more mammal trapping - this time while being filmed. After picking up the rest of the CVA crew at Balarat (Jane, Phil and Sarah) we arrived back at the hostel.

We met up with Ranger Mike and headed out to set up 2 sets of traps. The film crew would not be meeting us until the following day as they were staying in some luxury accommodation rather than the hostel.

Early Wed morning (we were allowed to lie in until 6am this time) we got up, had our breakfast and headed out to meet the film crew. Then it was on to the first lot of traps.

Before we checked the traps the crew did some filming of Catriona getting her gear on and doing serialising her boots. Then off we went to check the traps. Unfortunately all the first set of traps were empty so we had no luck at all.

Sylvia giving trap talk

Before checking the next set of traps the film crew had to do some car shots. For one of the shots they placed a camera on the front of Mikes 4x4 and then filmed him and Catriona chatting while driving along. Having been in the car when Mike is driving I realised just what a risky thing this was for the camera! Another shot they wanted was of the Park Rangers and the Conservation Volunteers Vehicles driving down a dirt track. They had to do the shot twice as there was too much dust in the first one. So it was take two and Action! I resisted the urge to wave at the camera on the way past.

Preparing the camera

Cleaning the cars window

The second set of traps was a lot better. Mike had picked it because on previous occasions they had caught lots of swamp rats and a snake. Sure enough we got loads of 'Swampies'.

The getaway crew filmed the processing of a swampy, an antichinus and a skink. I was not at the filming of the antichinus or skink but I heard that upon seeing the 'Critters' (that's what the park rangers call all the animals) both Sheena and Catriona shrieked and nearly jumped out of their skins. Its all on film too.

My first acting involved walking through the thicket to get to one of the traps. So myself and Phil had to go into the bush for about 50 feet and then walk back past the camera. I nearly fell in my attempt to make it look nonchalant. Then when they set up the equipment Catriona went and impromptly asked me a question while they were filming. I wasn't even prepared for it! I can't remember exactly what she asked but I know that in my answer I said it was great to see the 'Wee Critters'. After that all I could think was 'I Can't believe I just said Wee critters! - You eejit Raymond!. She also asked me about my Carbon offset as I was on around the world trip. I'm sure I balls the whole thing up and it will end up on the cutting room floor.


Peek a boo!

After the trapping it was on to Lunch at Mackenzie Falls where they did more filming of us looking at one of the falls and had Catriona do more talking. Then it was back to the Hostel.

filming at the falls

They producer wanted to get footage of the accommodation at the hostel and then film us relaxing after a hard days trapping in front of an open fire with wine and cheese. It was all very sophisticated. Prue got to have her hands being filmed pouring out the wine. Then it was more questions from Catriona directed at Sheena, Phil and Myself. My question was about the people you get to work with on these trips. Again I am sure I cocked it up but I muddled through anyway. After the filming was complete the film crew rushed off and left us to make our dinner.

The next day we had to check the traps one more time. The first set that had produced nothing the previous day was still as barren except that on my line of traps we caught a Heath mouse. This was one of the species we were hoping to catch (the other being a Bandicoot). So the film crew came over and filmed Mike processing it before Catriona got to let the critter go. I didn't get to see much of this filming as I was busy taking the traps back to the cars.

The second set of traps only produced another selection of swampies - no bandicoots or snakes. I couldn't find one of the traps on my line and by the time I got back to the cars the film crew had packed up and gone having gotten all the footage they needed. So I never got to be in the group photo with Catriona. I was going to take a photo of her too - getting DM's autograph!

After they had gone we had to go back to the Park Rangers office and clean all the traps before heading back to the hostel for lunch, to pack and to head home.

I think everybody had a great time. The film crew were all friendly and Catriona turned out to be a really nice woman - eager to chat and seemed to be genuinely interested in what we had to say. We all talked about our moments of fame. Prue's hand shot. (She was saying she should become a hand model). Sheena's screaming and my 'Wee Critter'

Hopefully Conservation Volunteers will get some good publicity when they get round to showing it next year. As for me. I will be back home in Ireland by that time so I should be well away from Australia before I have to squirm at my accent!

Here is the getaway website. Look up the Montague Island Video which is another Conservation Volunteer Holiday which Getaway did a piece on.

Getaway web site

Things I have Learnt:

Apparently the pub next door to the hostel is frequented by another famous Aussi Chopper Read!

Let's hope I don't have to move him into my 'People I have met' category!




They beat Shalke 04 by 2 goals to nill. Goals from Benjani and Stephen Ireland.

Ciaran said...

Mairead worked with Catriona