Page 63 - NZ Herefords Magazine 2019 Edition
P. 63

The Country Calendar back story


          HEREFORDS, HUNTAWAYS AND HORSES in the high country;
          picture perfect for Country Calendar TV director Celia Jaspers.
            With 12 episodes under her belt, the 2018 episode featuring
          Routeburn Station is one of Celia’s favourites.
            “Oh those mountains,” she says, “they really speak to me.
          The weather was incredible and Stu and Anne [Percy] were such
          delightful people. I really felt they let us into their lives. They
          were reluctant stars who didn’t really want to be on TV. It was
          just such a magical story. Hearing Tipene’s different perspective
          was eye-opening [Sir Tipene O’Regan, Ngãi Tahu Mãori Trust
          Board chairman]. It was just so powerful.
            “I get really excited about great pictures, great sound and
          a great story. That’s the trifecta. I just love it. The location was
          perfect,” she reminisces.
            “What a joy to be sent off to work in a place like that. The
          crew just loved it. We all had a ball down there.”
            Celia’s career started in children’s television. Working
          weekends at What Now when she was at secondary school
          morphed into an internship, followed by a trainee director   ABOVE: Celia Jaspers works for Country Calendar from the property
                                                                she farms with husband Alastair and their two children in Wairarapa.
          position. Six years doing children’s programmes at Avalon in
          Wellington meant she often brushed shoulders with the Country   up. But if we’re out mustering you generally let that go. We have
          Calendar team. She had moved to a farm in Wairarapa with   to be on the ball and get the first take through the gate because
          husband Alastair when Julian O’Brien, the show’s new producer,   that’s it. There are 1000 sheep that aren’t going to turn around
          asked her to do a story just down the road.           and do it again. But I have had to ask the occasional farmer to
            “When that one was done they said, ‘here’s the next one’. I   turn a mob around, ‘would you mind?’. I get a curse, a nod and
          thought it was a one-off. I didn’t realise it was an ongoing thing   I know there’s a grimace in there,” she says, laughing.
          so I was thrilled. The production has a strong family culture and   “But I tell them it’s going to make the best shot ever and I
          is obviously a very cool show.”                       want it to look really awesome for them. They usually go with it.
            There’s a huge team behind the Country Calendar     But being a farmer I do understand the limits and I won’t ask if it
          programmes that come on the screen every Sunday. As well as   really is too much. But in the same breath, I know they will love
          Julian, Dan Henry is associate producer, a director and also the   the footage if we get the best shot we can.”
          “voiceover guy”.                                        The weather usually causes the most headaches for the
            There are 10 directors around the country from different areas   crew – not only with scheduling and getting great shots around
          and different backgrounds, ranging from journalism to documentary   rain, fog or wind, but there’s also no point filming a farmer at
          making to children’s TV. Geographically, nine of the 10 directors   lambing time in the middle of a cyclone, she says.
          are in the North Island, so on any given week, Celia can find herself   “We’re not the news, current affairs or reality TV. The camera
          in Blenheim, Northland, Hawke’s Bay or the Routeburn. She can   isn’t rolling all the time. It’s quite controlled and it’s quite a calm
          be working on two or three stories at one time: working towards   shoot compared with other shows. Country Calendar is at the
          one, filming one, and one in post-production.         pace of the farm and we’re respectful of the work they have to do
            The story ideas appear from all over the place and start life   sometimes as well. We get a sense of what’s going on and we don’t
          with researcher Vivienne Jeffs.                       try to push anyone along. But you do need to get what you need
            “She works out where they are, who they are and what’s   to make a show and you also need to make sure that person has
          happening; who the story is about, have they done anything on   given you the best of themselves. We want our families to have a
          television before, what’s going on. Then one of us is given the story   great time … to walk away going ‘that was the coolest experience
          and we go off and meet the people in the flesh, sitting around their   and now we’ve got this great home video to show the family in the
          kitchen table, having lots of cups of tea and going for a farm tour.”   future’. I’m happy when people are proud of their episode. Families
            After more planning, a three-strong camera crew (camera,   change, farms change and here you have this lovely slice of history.”
          sound and director) arrive on location. The aim is to capture   Sometimes Country Calendar does retrospective episodes
          farm life as it happens, but it doesn’t always go that smoothly. It   where they delve into the archives and look back on an episode
          certainly doesn’t always happen in the first take.    from 20 years ago. “I love it when the son or daughter has been
            “TV is made a certain way and our audience want to watch it   in their gumboots as a kid and then a generation later they’re all
          a certain way. So every now and again, you might ask a farmer   grown up and running the farm with their own children. I think it
          to step back and do something again because we need a close   is such a cool contrast seeing that footage.”
   58   59   60   61   62   63   64   65   66   67   68