The Nagsaki Hangover:Turning 30 onboard!
Cruise Ship Diaries Chapter 45
I had my 30th birthday onboard the Sun and unlike the Coral I had been there for more than a few weeks at this point and also unlike the Coral I didn't get called to see the HGM and get a verbal warning the next day either. If I'm honest I can't remember much of the day of my birthday but I think it might have been a formal night which as we've established is a big night for the photo department. Which would usually mean filming a Champagne Waterfall, A Captains Speech or some kind of atrium party, because we were mid world cruise there was nothing special we were filming that night.
This meant I had the night off and Dazza had booked the steakhouse for us all so I had the rarity of going to dinner on a formal night, which of course didn't go down well with the rest of the team. Indeed it might have been bad form to go up to a backdrop and get our pictures taken but also this was an accepted part of a night out on the ship when you had the chance to dress up for someones birthday, except I'm sure I had photogs on the team bitching about it afterwards.
After a great meal (standard on this ship!) it was down to the bar and more drinking
It's also smart when you hit 30 to make sure that you have the day following your birthday off so that you don't have to go ashore on an excursion and fight through a hangover while dealing with PAX complaints as well. The next day was a stop in Nagasaki, Japan the place were America had dropped a nuke in WW2, I'm sure it would be fascinating in a terrible way but I really didn't want to trudge around the Atomic Bomb museum with a hangover.
You know where this is headed by now right?, planned out a day off with friends, agreed the schedule with my senior so that I don't have to work that day, gone out the night before and really tied one on? At god-knows-what-the-fuck-o'clock my pager keeps beeping..BEEP BEEP BEEP, and as annoying as that looks it's worse as a sound in your booze addled brain!
I finally call the number on my pager 'Oh bro, you're going to hate me but...', yeah once again plans had changed last minute and I had something to film while hungover to the max, last time it was a health and safety video onboard that at least resulted in free steakhouse for the rest of my contract. There would be no benefits to todays shoot...indeed their would be no shoot!
Throughout the cruise a passenger activity was to make paper lanterns and the like that were to be taken to the Peace park and all launched into the air as part of a ceremony, sounds a great idea and would definitely help give the DVD that special 'one off' event that we always craved. The only problem was I was finding out about it about two hours before it happened!!! 'Oh and yeah you have to make your own way there as its not like an official tour, I think it starts in like 2 hours'.
There are so many things wrong with this its not even funny, firstly none of the kit is ready so its at least ten minutes just to get from my cabin to the video room on the other end of the ship, then I have no idea how to get to the Peace Park so I go down to the shore-ex desk but they can't help right now as they are getting passengers off on tours.
Also as this was supposed to be my first day off in Japan, I also didn't have any Yen yet so no money to even get a cab / or take a bus. The only tw places you can change money onboard are at the crew office (but only at certain times of the day) and at the pursers desk when its quiet though you are not really supposed to go there, of course on this day it was absolutely packed. I forget what kind soul it was but someone at pursers desk helped me out in front of the guests so I finally had local currency, only issue now was that I didn't speak a word of Japanese and unlike in some parts of the world I had no idea what the context of the writing is!
I grabbed a map and managed to gleam where I had to get to and jumped on a bus..or followed the other tourists. Imagine the kind of stress and blind panic when you have to be somewhere for a shoot at a certain time, but you are also experiencing the 'is this my stop?' on a bus except at the broadcasts and writing is in another langauge!
After what seemed like hours I finally saw what I assumed was the peace park coming up and the bus actually stopped there! However there was no signs of an organised group from the ship or the Cruise Director, I saw some other crew around and apparently I'd missed the whole thing by about an hour. Now I was expecting to cop a bollocking when I got back to the ship as well but first lunch, as I'd bumped into some friends from the ship and as I was supposed to have had the day off anyway it was time to sample some Japanese cuisine.
Surpisingly I didn't cop too much shit when I got back as the event was only mentioned to the video department last minute on the day and it was a bit of an unreasonable request for for the reasons I mentioned above. If they'd wanted it filmed then some notice would have been good and I could have travelled with the people who had made works for the park, instead of trying to make my own way there using public transport in a country where very little it written or spoken in English for the first time!
Also ultimately what matters is that it is up to the Photo Manager / Senior Videographer to decide what is filmed and goes on the DVD, so sometimes when we had requests from the Entertainment department it was a delicate balancing act and many times early on in my career events were filmed and only put on TV as there was no value in them on the DVD.
The best (and truest) excuse we had for monitoring what we filmed was also simply down to the amount of space on a DVD, at the time a standard def disk could hold 4.4GB of info and we had to factor timings in to how much we filmed. On this world cruise there was already going to be a 6 DVD set so we did not want to fill up the disc with ship events as the ports should almost always be the focus of the discs, though there are some exceptions!
Looking back this event could have been a great shoot that mixed passenger interaction with the history of Japan, but you need to plan for shoots like these and definitely have more than a few hours notice that there is an event to film, let alone what the event is and how you are going to film it.
On the next cruise diaries - The Legend of Classy Boner!