(welcome to any readers from mumsnet – I hope you enjoy this post and feel inclined to delve in to this extraordinary true story of parenthood…)
If I had more time and was more technically skilled, this would be an easy take to write – collating all the VT footage and press cuttings from the last month or so, to put things in to perspective and to conclude a two year family story.
I formally finished the story of eclipsed on the red carpet in LA (take 119) where I thanked the key protagonists responsible for it -namely, Tom and his mum, Nikki. Now that the film, The Impossible is about to open in the UK, no doubt a more public story will follow if the press this weekend is anything to go by and the posters that are plastered all over London and on every other bus.
How do I feel about it all?
This the question I am most commonly asked, and surreal is the best answer I can give – unsatisfactory though it is. But there it is. For as long as this story has been running, over five years if we include Billy Elliot – I have not yet got used to how things are. And still, none of it feels real.
One of my twins came home from school last week. How was your day Sam? Yeah, ok, pretty normal. No wait, it wasn’t all normal. I got on a bus today with Tom on it. That was pretty weird.
When Tom got the part of Lucas in this film, I didn’t give much thought to how the film would be received and more importantly how Tom might be judged. At the time, it was just an extraordinary opportunity for him and for his whole family and regular readers of this blog will know why.
And given the attention that the film is now getting – adverts at half time when we are all watching the football - I feel lucky that the film has been two years in post-production. This has allowed Tom to have two years of being back at school and the chance of being a normalish kid again but also because he is now 16, he is much more able to cope with how things are now.
The theme underpinning this blog – the difference between father and son certainly continues in the Holland household. At Christmas dinner yesterday, we were 9 people around a table – and with no starter, crackers were pulled immediately. I lost to my youngest son, Patrick on my right and then turned to my left and promptly lost again to my other twin, Harry. I sat there with two losing hands which was funny in itself and then even funnier when I saw that Tom had won both of his pulls, left and right. Typical. ’Don’t worry, Dad, I’ll let you have the jokes,’ he said, ‘you might need them.’ It is lucky that I can laugh at myself and also at other comedians. Comedian’s are notorious for not celebrating the success of their peers. One of Tom’s stocking fillers is the latest Michael McIntyre DVD which I am sure is bloody hilarious and we will sit down to watch together and no doubt, we’ll both roar – although the cutaway to the crowd shots (12000 people) will amaze Tom but will be tough for me.
With my broken leg (July, 3 months) and my earlier calf injury (March, other leg, 5 weeks) – 2012 has been my annus horribilis - although it
ends with much promise as I have completed three very long term projects for which I have high hopes – as ever. My first ever DVD stand-up show, my first novel for 10 years and my first ever non-fiction book.
It is no secret that good timing is the weapon that no successful comedian can do without.
My timing for these projects has been brilliantly comic and pathetic – that none of these items were available for the Christmas market. I am launching instead in mid-January – when traditionally, nobody has any money and people are fed up with buying things.
It is vital therefore that I have a crack marketing machine that can kick in to action – garnering TV appearances, radio and press interviews. Er, no. I just have a web-site – this one and that is it. I don’t have people. It’s just me and I have been so busy trying to finish these wretched things, that I have not given a moments thought to publicizing them.
And all of this while The Impossible is everywhere with pictures of Tom and kind comments about its young lead – who really has no need of such publicity. Not really. The notices are very welcome of course but whether the film is a Box Office smash or not is of no real concern to him. He doesn’t get paid any more, plus he doesn’t need any money anyway because he lives with me and I pay for everything.
The piece that ran in the Evening Standard is particularly noteworthy for a number of reasons. Firstly, because I was asked to write 350 words about my story, Eclipsed, to go alongside the interview with Tom – only for it be dropped due to a lack of space. Typical. The piece that did run though was well written and kind to us both. Firstly, it referred to Tom surpassing his ‘famous’ dad which is flattering and a helpful boost to my self-esteem plus it refers to me as a comedian and a ‘screenwriter’ which strictly speaking is only half correct. Finally, in the piece, Tom thanks his parents for giving up so much of their time to chaperone him - but with trips to Thailand, Spain, NY, LA and most recently in big seats – don’t mention it Tom, it was our pleasure, really.
In this piece, one photograph featured Tom in our hallway and a few mates called to ask where was all the mess that normally chokes up the threshold to Chez-Holland? Most notably, shoes, school bags and a build up of mail that I am putting off from opening.
Front Row on Radio 4 is the flag ship arts show on radio. As such it can pick and choose what it reviews, previews and who it features. I know this because over my career with my various projects, I have tried to squeeze myself on to Front Row many times but without success. I’ve been close a couple of times, but this counts for little. As almost featured on Front Row… So one night last week, it is fitting that I should be editing my novel, The Fruit Bowl (yet again) and I get a tweet from someone I don’t even know telling me that The Impossible and Tom are being featured on Front Row – and I didn’t even know about it.
And I have been receiving similar Tweets or texts all weekend. ‘Dom, have you seen The Sunday Times? Tom’s in it… The Observer, Empire Magazine, The Guardian, The Scotsman, The LA Times… and loads of slots from local television in America…
Whatever I do with any of my projects, I will certainly be playing catch up to on the publicity front. And although I will attempt for a similar array of limelight – there are things now that Tom does that I know not to try myself…
Like a glutton for punishment, for some reason, we bought our boys a table tennis table for Christmas.
This is definitely a bad move. The last time we played was Thailand and I won – just. But not for long and no doubt, my twins will soon be beating me as well.
Next year, Tom will pass his driving test and if I allow him, he could afford a nicer car than me. And so on this theme – one thing is certain for the year ahead, I am not going to play him at golf. He has never beaten me at golf and so if I never play him again…
You see my point and how desperate I have become.
I began this post lamenting my lack of IT skills – I hope this post has been entertaining for those who get to the end of it – and I wonder if it is worth signing off with the information that it has taken me exactly four hours to complete.
I bloody well hope so.