I can’t believe the awesome response we’ve already had to our film ‘Kris - Dying to Live’ and the world hasn’t even seen it yet!
Yesterday was a promo day that started on the sofa at BBC Breakfast in Manchester. It was a little bit touch and go as to whether or not I’d actually make it on to that sofa! And nothing Big C related, we think a combination of radiotherapy aftermath, exhaustion and some nasty bug you stinky Londoners are passing around. Let’s just say pooing my pants on live television was NOT an option and a few hundred immodiums had to be downed! Later that day I vommitted in a taxi in between phone calls to newspapers and PR peeps…. why am I telling you this? I’m not 100% sure but yesterday morning I was stuck between a rock and a hard (or loose?) place to say the least. Do I go on telly and potentially faint/poo myself OR cancel and let Maren go on her own leaving everyone to think I was probably dying (which I was, in a dramatic sense, sweaty palms and everything!) and I couldn’t have that. If nothing else, I wanted this film to show someone LIVING with cancer. Living in every single sense of the word.
Make up is a really bloody magical thing is all that’s left to say on that one!
BBC News homepage yesterday…
Today there is an awesome piece about me and #RETHINKCANCER in the TELEGRAPH, link HERE
So, anyway, why did I decide to make this film?
It was New Years Eve eve in Australia 2011. I was lying in our van, in between snoozes and eating yummy food, being with my favourite people when I thought of everything I wanted to achieve in the coming year. A film about my life was one of them. I wanted to tell my story visually and let people then decide to take whatever they wanted from it after. (I also wanted to write a book, crochet a blanket, own a baby dragon but that ain’t happened yet…)
When I got home I spoke to our wonderful PR girlie Laura Gallagher from Fluorescent PR about whether she knew any TV production types we could pitch this to. And she did. She knew the lovely Matt Robins at October Films who set us up a meeting with Neil Bonner, the man I would end up spending far too much time/inner thought/tears/coffee with. He just said ‘let’s try this’. We filmed short clips, they pitched to channels, BBC3 being the one we wanted, BBC3 being the one that said YES! In August 2012 we started filming and we didn’t fully stop until December 2013! We had planned to get it out on your telly boxes at the beginning of last year so you have no idea the relief we all feel to finally have this out there today.
People think a TV crew followed me around for 1.5 years but that wasn’t the case at all. It was just Neil, director/producer/cameraman (and now friend), and I most of the time, unless he had sound operators and assistants with him (usually gorgeous girlies who were also brilliant). The 2 weeks leading up to the projection were the most stressful weeks of my life. And same goes for Neil. He put everything into this film and I am proud of him for now having this piece under his belt. He deserves some badass awards, but perhaps I am biased….
You’ll know what this shot is once you’ve seen the film ;)
I did an interview with Richard Bacon on 5 Live yesterday afternoon who was doing a review of it. He was seemingly surprised just how much Maren and I really gave the camera/Neil in interviews. We really haven’t held much back. But I wanted it that way, I didn’t want to gloss over anything, I wanted it to be true and honest. And it is definitely that… perhaps a tad more dramatic but then we have to remember this is telly, people!
In fact filming and doing video diaries became a really cathartic thing after a while. Never before have I had to analyse words of doctors, test results, CoppaFeel!’s action plans in so much detail. Before all this I would bounce away from the hospital as soon as I could, even after bad news, perhaps go to the office and distract my mind. But when filming Neil would take me to one side and ask me ‘How do you feel Kris?’, which I don’t often get asked or even ask myself. I took so much more than I ever thought I would from this experience.
And in terms of CoppaFeel! and rethinking cancer. Well, after tonight we have an incredible platform for ACTION. Cancer can and should be taught in schools. There should be protected time in the school day where kids can learn about how they can protect themselves for a disease 1 in 3 of them will get in their lives. It might be to not smoke or to check their boobs. It is when they are learning other habits, good and bad, and before they learn to fear cancer. Please go to rethink cancer.com
and be part of the change.
That leaves me to thank you Neil Bonner, Matt Robins, Ruth McCarthy, gorgeous girlies Liberty and Ellie, Simon for transcribing all my twoddle, Andy Worboys for editing this film so beautifully, BBC3 execs and commissioners and everyone else involved. And of course my gorgeous twin Maren for doing this madness with me, my Mum for being a dream on camera, my friends who were interviewed (mainly drunk) at events but didn’t end up making the cut, the CoppaFeel! team…You believed in me and CoppaFeel! and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Massive gratitude also to the awesome Laura Cannon who shared her story with me whilst we were filming and consequently ended up in the film too. She had just been diagnosed and started chemo, she was pulling out loose strands of hair as we were sat bitching about cancer on her bed.
And then to Fran. It was during the making of the doc that Ellie
died and my gosh, there isn’t anything more motivating than that. I talk about Fran in the film and how much she inspired me. Her attitude and wisdom has undoubtedly rubbed off on me. So, this one’s for you girl! and you Ellie, and you Mrs Lynch!
Gosh, I am getting emotional already and it’s not on TV yet and I am not surrounded by my friends and wine and glitter yet either! Signs of an intense evening to come….
Lastly some Do’s and Don’ts after watching the film:
- Tell me to ‘stay positive’ - and I mean that in the nicest possible way. It’s an incredible pressure to put on anyone who has cancer. I don’t make a conscious effort to be positive right now, it’s just that I am well and things are great, better than great even, so I have no need to be anything but positive. Ask me again when I am bed-ridden.
- Tell me to believe in God - for 5 years I have found a way of coping with the cards I was handed, and in those 5 years I haven’t turned to faith of any kind. This is MY WAY of coping. This may not be yours, and I appreciate your advice and taking time to write to me, but your faith is just that, yours.
- Tell me to eat an indigenous flower from The Moon… I do what I believe nourishes my body enough to deal with cancer. I know how important it is to keep my immune system in tip-top condition so it can stand the best possible chance of fighting all sorts of things, including the boring old common cold. If you want to know what it is I take exactly/don’t eat anymore I will happily tell you so feel free to message me on here….
- Hug me if you see me on the street, unless we know each other of course. I had to think twice about writing that. I don’t want to come across all diva-like and although I LOVE hugs, I would prefer it if you hugged the people you love in your life. Perhaps you haven’t done it in a while, so just do. Plus, I might give you my poo-problem….
However, please DO…
- tell others to watch it, tell us what you think, tweet, Facebook etc using #DyingToLive
- check in with your boobs. Ask yourself when you last had a good look and a feel and start doing it regularly. Remember that you know your body better than anyone else. And remind all your loves ones of this too, including blokes.
- Head to rethinkcancer.com and join our campaign to get cancer education into schools. We are currently working with a school in south london piloting a way to actually “teach cancer”, it’s then, with your help, that we can influence policy makers. The more voices the better. 1 in 3 of us will get cancer, those numbers are rising. Let’s make sure we, and our kids, stand the BEST chance of surviving it by ensuring all cancers are diagnosed EARLY.
- HUG YOUR LOVED ONES.
- Stick the kettle on and remember how freaking awesome being alive is.
Now go and “enjoy” it….