I am trying to make a date for filming Menelaos and his sheep in the mountains in winter. Now, whereas it is always the human element said to cause trouble, Menelaos seems like the most reliable part of this equation. Even his sheep I can count on: they will graze, run away from the camera and occasionally stare into it – which in itself is pretty reliable.
It’s the “mountains in winter” that are the real divas of this.
My choice lies between bright open skies studded with racing clouds pierced by a blazing sun that will throw the cliffs into harsh reliefs of light and shadow – accompanied by a soundtrack of howling, squeaking and unpleasant plopping sounds, in other words: wind noise, that occurs when air – lots of it – hits the microphone membrane the wrong way.
There is hardly a way around it: muffed mics, baskets, “dead-cats” – no use. I might as well shoot a silent documentary. But I want to hear what the goats and the sheep have to mumble about the crisis.
The alternative is the tamer variety of winter weather in Southern Greece: a bleak, calm day with a white sky of overcast boredom and a continuous threat of rain. No sound problems here, it just makes the “mountains in winter” look suspiciously like any ordinary day of Scottish or German summer.
And do you, dear audience, really want to see that?
It’s true, people on Tilos sometimes have to endure that kind of stuff in their time off tourism – this winter is a particularly fine, or rather: bleak, example. Maybe that is the way to go: show you, dear viewer from the North, that despite common perception, beach days and bikinis are far and few here in February.
At least, it wouldn’t give any eager politicians wrong ideas. Who knows: if things look too sunny down here, some members of the German Bundestag might ask for Greeks to lease out their weather? They would only be allowed to keep the 10-degrees-and-drizzle standard that is an all-year-round trademark of places north of latitude 48 and have to send all the sunshine to Lower Saxony.
So maybe we should go for the drab winter variety for the film, just in case?
Do you, dear audience, really want to see that?