It's day two on the 'film set' and things aren't exactly going to plan. Gracie has gone off with the other girls for a morning of arts and crafts because she says yesterday was too overwhelming for her. I think what she means is that Michelle was too overwhelming. This means we can't get started until the afternoon when I will have to try and persuade her to help us for just a little bit longer. Michelle has, inevitably, flounced off and I've been left to come up with ideas for today's clip. We have to show the camp off in its best light but it's a little difficult when everyone is either off making their own short films or arguing with each other. My only idea so far is that I could pretend to teach some French to a group of younger girls so that the camp is not only fun but educational too. The only problem with that is that I don't think I would get much further than "Bonjour" before they all got bored and moved on to something else.
"Amelie? Are you in here?" Gracie pops her head round the door to our dormitory.
"Yeah, over here. I thought you were doing arts and crafts?" I look quizzically at her but she isn't giving anything away. I'm usually good at reading people's facial expressions, but Gracie has the knack of hiding her feelings under layers of shyness and anxiety.
"I was," she ventures a little further into the room, "but then I felt bad for leaving you with Michelle, so I decided to come back and help with the film."
"Oh thank you Gracie! I really appreciate this. I know it must have taken a lot of courage to come back to Michelle's team."
"Yeah, well." She shifts from foot to foot, clearly apprehensive of what she has let herself in for.
"So, have you got any ideas for the next instalment of Michelle's Masterpiece?" I say with a grin. I'm trying to make her feel less nervous about the whole filming thing. Hopefully if she is allowed to choose what we do then she will be more prepared to take part.
"Actually I have." I'm taken quite by surprise with this confident remark and encourage her to go on. "Well," She begins, "I thought instead of having long clips which all have to be perfectly captured and directed by you-know-who, we could just walk around the campsite and take little videos of anything interesting or fun that is going on. They can be edited together later and with a bit of music over the top, it could make quite a good advertisement for 'prospective parents' as Michelle calls them." It's a great idea and I'm so pleased Gracie is finally coming out of her shell.
"Yes, what a fabulous idea!" I enthuse, "We could get some filming done now whilst Michelle is off in a huff so there will be less for her to interfere with." Gracie seems relieved that she won't have to see Michelle for a little while and truth be told, I'm quite glad too.
All morning Gracie and I walk around the camp, taking short videos here and there of people
chatting, playing and having fun. It's so much more relaxing when Michelle isn't around. We can just talk to each other normally, without having to shout or dismiss each other's ideas. If only Michelle could just learn to be a bit more tolerant of other people, she could be a great friend.
Just as I spot another place where we could get a good shot I hear the familiar cry of somebody I was
hoping we wouldn't see until this afternoon. "What are you doing with my camera?" Michelle flicks her hair over her shoulders as she walks towards us. She would make a good teacher I think. She has the right sort of accusatory attitude that seems to be necessary around children.
"We were just getting some clips for the film whilst you were away doing ... " I pause to allow Michelle to explain herself, but she ignores me and turns to face Gracie instead.
"I thought you were doing some other kind of morning activity. Colouring-in wasn't it?"
"Um, arts and crafts." Gracie has retreated back into her shell and all because of stupid Michelle. "Actually," I interject, "Gracie has been really helpful this morning and came up with a great idea for the film."
"What sort of idea?" Michelle practically barks at me. No wonder Gracie is afraid of her.
"We've been taking short clips of people enjoying themselves and we thought they could be edited together this afternoon with a bit of music put over them. It will be easier for us to film and nicer for the prospective parents to watch too." I try to smile at Michelle but she puts her hands on her hips and starts yelling at Gracie and I.
"This is my film and we will do what I say! I don't want short clips like in a movie trailer, we are going to have to start all over again tomorrow with films of people doing real activities. You two clearly can't be trusted." I am furious that Michelle has just dismissed a whole morning's work and I'm not going to stand for it.
"We have worked on this all morning for you and I will not let it be pushed aside once more because 'Michelle had other ideas'. For your information there are clips of people doing 'real activities', it just won't get boring because our clips aren't ten minutes long like yours. Our work is going into the film and if you don't like it, you're going to have to put in a separate entry of your own. But good luck with that because we're not helping." And with that, I take hold of Gracie's arm and pull her away towards the dormitories where I can get some time to think away from Michelle.
"Wow. You were amazing. Thanks for standing up for me." Gracie sounds truly grateful, if not a little shaken by the argument, but I am in too much of a rage to think clearly enough to say anything back. I can't believe Michelle would be so hurtful after all we've done for her. She keeps saying she wants to make her dad proud, but I don't think she realises that this is not what he would have wanted. It doesn't matter how good the film is. If you've got no friends because you were too horrible to them all then you haven't really succeeded. Even though I'm angry with her, I also feel a bit sad that she is so blind to the fact that she is chasing everyone away. Unless she apologises properly and tries to change her ways, I don't think we can be friends any more.