3D: The End
If you're not in the mood to read what may be construed as soppy sentimentality, stop now.
If you're not in the mood to read what may be dismissed as gratuitous back-slapping, stop now.
But if you're interested in reading about reality TV – the reality of current affairs TV, that is – here goes.
This is a story about friendship, about the closeness of a group of colleagues who exist in a strange half-world, about life at its most raw.
Working on this programme – whether in the field or in the edit suite – means becoming embroiled in controversy, caught up in calamity, swamped by celebrations.
You find yourself coming under attack from bad guys and from authorities who would much rather you just went away – and are scheming ways to make that happen.
You find yourself entangled in the lives of people who are at the lowest, most stressed-out point of their very existence, and who need you to listen to them.
You find yourself in the middle of crisis, holding the hand of someone as they walk through catastrophe.
You find yourself invited to be there for intimate moments in people's lives, bearing witness to their elation, your heart overflowing with joy.
It consumes you. You take these situations home. You live them. You wake in the night thinking about them. You agonise about them. You cry. You laugh. You sweat.
And yet. And yet…
The reality is, the controversies, the calamities, the celebrations are not yours. You are part of them, sure, but they are not yours. You're in a half-world, caught between them and your own reality.
You are there to tell a story. That's your…well…job is the word I was thinking of. Somehow it doesn't seem anywhere near adequate. It's a cliché to say this, but what the hell: this is more than just a job.
It's hard to explain what I mean. So I won't. I'll leave it to someone far more eloquent, someone far more sensitive and in tune with the world.
When news of our programme's axing became public, we at 3D were sent an email by a former dear colleague of ours, Belinda Walsh – a woman who is hard-case, funny, extremely gifted – a gentle soul who is tough as nails. And insightful.
Here's what Belinda wrote about the end of 3D: "It's hard to imagine that something so important will be gone. So many people who had no voice were given a voice by TV3 current affairs and it was always done with integrity and the teams telling those stories had the opportunity and privilege to be trusted and grow ourselves as people. That was a beautiful thing."
As always, she's right. What we do is a privilege. And with each story that attaches itself to us like a limpet as we film it, script it and edit it, we change. You can't help it.
We're often dealing with people who have nowhere else to turn; we're soaking up their pain, their questions, their torment. Of course it changes you. Of course it shapes your view of the world, of humanity.
You can't help but become close when you're sharing the controversies, the calamities, the celebrations.
We are family.