The Runner


Michael is a ‘runner’, a production assistant, a tea bitch. But he’s also an aspiring filmmaker. In a good example of guerrilla filmmaking, he recounts the perks of his job as an assistant to the stars. Media students get your pens ready.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Runner on the set of a whimsical BBC period drama about midwives starring a whole host of nameless faces, trying to keep our heads above the water as we struggle to pay the bills on our shoestring budget and feed ourselves around the restraints of working 16 hour tea-making shifts, cowering in the corner as our lives lose more and more meaning with each stirred sugar cube.

I mean ‘we’ metaphorically of course, because I wouldn’t stoop to such a level. Thankfully, however, there are some that will. Director, editor, actor, inspiration. Michael O’Kelly is the key to every part of The Runner, a short he made on his down time whilst working as Production Assistant on Call The Midwife (a semi-funny, mostly unfunny, not-funny drama set in 1950s East London starring the woman who falls over as… You guessed it… The midwife who falls over).

Clearly enthralled by the production, Michael has been crafty in his construction of The Runner, using the off-set of the series to be the set for his short. In a candid interview style shoot, Michael recounts with deep affection, fondness and wide eyed enthusiasm, the heady days spent serving Miranda Hart coffee, lying prostrate in puddles so that the actress doesn’t get her shoes wet, and being on the receiving end of production pranks.

The wilting despair of our fresh-faced runner perfectly weighs in on the short’s tone and humour. With Michael nodding along to his own assertions as he discerns that “[he]will get there, there’s just no rush… You’ve got to be in the game. Even losers are players…” whilst he sits alone, despondently sinking further into a pint of flattening lager in an empty bar, you revel in delightful schadenfreude. Or at least I do.

Funny, well-paced and imaginative, The Runner is inventive guerrilla filmmaking, produced whilst walking the jaws of the mainstream. Smart in its use of location, celebrities and subject matter, it will give all you runners out there the hope that one day you – yes YOU! – might make it up that greasy ladder and maybe even get slapped by Jessica Raine for looking at her face.


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