The Art of Keeping Things Together by Dee Chilton

‘Arry Black Maskers (*), more likely known to you as Gaffer Tape or Duck/Duct Tape, is probably the most critical, versatile and adaptable piece of kit in the military.

It was a running ‘joke’ that the long serving SeaKing helicopter was mostly held together with the black stuff, (as much of our kit was), but still we trusted our lives to our ‘Landrover of the skies’. (**)

We knew that the specialists responsible for our flight safety were experts in crafting temporary fixes for various faults, so as to make things work so we could complete our task. We knew they would make those fixes permanent during maintenance, once they identified the broken or missing parts and were able to fix or replace them.

I’ve learned the same is true with filmmaking, not just how useful and important such tape is on film sets, but how critical to have that same ethos of trusting your experts and pulling together as a team to make things work, so as to benefit the whole crew and to ensure we the get the job done.

The deadline for submitting our Impact50 films is about to pass. Up to now, the management team have had to adopt that same ‘Adapt, Improvise and Overcome’ ethos, making adjustments and little fixes to help keep us flying whilst we were out on our operations, and to get us back to the mother-ship safely.

So now we enter a maintenance period, a time when broken or missing parts are identified or fixed, replacements are considered and, perhaps, ordered and fitted. We trust our vehicle to those responsible to make things work to benefit of all of us, and to ensure we are all ready for lift off when the time comes. What a hell of a ride this has been, and continues to be. I can’t wait to see where we fly to next, when they are done.

*there’s a nickname for almost everything in the military
** long story about why I was flying the helicopter I won’t bore you with… yet!

Dee Chilton

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