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Milton Keynes & Me 50 Years in an evening

7 Sep

Hey Mediadreamzers

God it has been practically years since I lasted posted. I have been waiting and waiting for my next media related event to happen, and now it has.

Some of you many have seen on BBC 4 a few weeks back the film titled Milton Keynes and Me by Director Richard Macer. I admit I was kicking myself for missing it when it was on TV, but had a second chance to see it when a screening of it was arranged, followed by a Q &A session with the Director himself.

For those of you haven’t seen Milton Keynes and Me the story is told and see through the eyes of Richard Macer who grew up in MK and left when he was 18 to go to University. With it being 50 years in 2017 that MK was created, Richard returned to his hometown to look back into to how MK was created and established as a New-town place, the Fred Roche Foundation which was responsible for the planning and constructing and houses, shopping centre and sculptures depicting the creativity and uniqueness of MK. And yes that includes reference to the cow sculptures created by Canadian Liz Leyh. It was cool that Richard was able to track Liz down and ask her what she thought 50 years on from when they were placed in MK.

The beginning of the film looked at the memories of MK through the eyes of his mum and dad and how MK was the UK’s equivalent to the American Dream when it came to the housing crisis that hit London in the 1950’s and 60’s. One other aspect of MK that was shown and talked about was when people think of MK besides the cows that they comment on the number of roundabouts and there is one thing I discovered whilst watching the film and that is that there is a roundabout appreciation society, something I never knew existed until that night. Following on from that there the society has given certain named roundabouts and one of the roundabouts in Fox Milne is known and named as a bonking roundabout because it was a roundabout where people used to make love and have rendezvous. One thing that is being added to Fox Milne roundabout soon is a sculpture, commemorating 50 years.

I also discovered that years ago a commercial was created advertising MK as a New-town haven and what was memorable about the commercial was that there was a boy carrying a red balloon and how everyone at the end had balloons and let them go. I admit when I saw the red balloon at first my mind immediately ran to thinking of Stephen King IT. It also got my thinking whether to not it would be possible or a good idea to make an updated commercial on what MK has for people to see. There was a generation aspect to the film where Richard headed to his old school where he talked to the current students at Stantonbury Campus. I did not know that there was something called ‘Day 10’ where students spent to entire day focusing on one subject. Would be interesting if schools today could bring that back, might make a difference.

Granted there was some negative moments in the film, that was probably down to when it was shot (Jan/ Feb) when it isn’t exactly scorching like Ibiza. But you need somewhat of a place in a film to make it work.

At the end there was the Q&A with Richard with the help of his friend and many people got to share their views, saying whether they liked it, hate it, what they thought would have been nice to have included. One thing that was somewhat annoying was that a member of the council was there and I felt that he was using it as a self promotional platform on what he could do to make things better or changes to bring about if we/ people get in touch with their local Councillors. At the eventual end I got the chance to meet and speak to Richard and share my thoughts on the film itself.

It is nice to be back on the grid of sharing, and the good news is that there will be a follow up as tonight I am off to a red carpet premiere at the Vue, Leicester Square. So I am getting all dressed up and hopefully get the chance to meet the actors and catch up with some of my media friends.

My work as a Gallery Production Assistant is going very well, and my next series of freelance opportunities are happening in the next few weeks that I am looking forward to.

Nunquam Deditioneum.

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Taking Pride by storm in Media

13 Jul

Hey Mediadreamzers

 

When Summer arrives, make the most of being out and about, and I did just that. Headed to London yesterday to attend the Royal Television Society event that addressed the issue of LBGT portrayed in TV soap storylines. Made it to London without any delays; it’s S’s-Law and I’m sure you will agree with me that when you are traveling to events, something usually happens; delays, cancellations, stormy weather the list goes on. Either way, made it to the Hospital Club and was early, so waited until the event was open to attendees. Found a seat in the gallery room and others started arriving and there was a group of 3 who sat next to me and we got chatting and I learned that they worked for ITV & BBC. So for me, that was a good surprise and we all chatted on what areas of media we work in, how we found out about the event and what our passions are.

 

Soon the speakers on the events panel arrived and took their seats on stage. The speakers were, wait for it, Oliver Kent- Head of Continuity in Drama series, BBC Studios, Pete Lawson Writer on EastEnders, Bryan Kirkwood- Executive Producer Hollyoaks, Iain MacLeod- Series Producer Emmerdale, and some of the actors from the soaps; Daniel Brocklebank- Corrie, Annie Wallace & Krupa Pattani -Hollyoaks. The panel was chaired by June Sarpong MBE- who is known for being a presenter on ‘Loose Women’, and also a panelist on Sky’s The Pledge program.

The topics discussed and questions asked, combined with a series of clips depicting LGBT storylines made the event as a whole really interesting and also a huge eye opener, with the actors, characters, and impact, they have on society as a whole. One story that was shared was Daniel mentioning an encounter he had with a lady in a supermarket saying very hurtful things, to which he gave a response that totally shut this woman up.  Other issues that were discussed were the Ofcom complaints, watershed time showings, relationships, cultural communities and the about individuals in the series and in real life coming out to their parents and loved ones and the psychological effect and the fear they have, especially with family traditions, religion, and social acceptance. Other areas that haven’t or have been touched on briefly were discussed and how there is still time in the future to create and develop those ideas for television audiences to see.

     

 

              

 

The floor was then open up to questions from the audience, followed by thank yous to the guest speakers, June and the CEO of the Royal Television Society Theresa Wise. Then, of course, the networking started and people started walking up to the guest speakers saying how much they enjoyed the discussion and topics/ opinions they felt about the series, storylines and their perceptions on certain issues. I admit for me it was really cool getting to speak to Annie, Krupa and Bryan and I asked him a question about one of the characters in Hollyoaks and his response was ‘I’m glad you didn’t ask that question on the mic’ as that character is still being developed. Also speaking the Emmerdale and EastEnders Producers was great too, meeting the people behind these soaps is one of those moments in life where you think ‘I never thought this would happen to me, meeting you’. I say that because although I work in this industry I sometimes think that there is a line or a barrier I am one side and those well known and established are on the other side and there is a ‘Do Not Cross this line’ sign in the middle. But every once in awhile it is nice to step over even if it is for a minute, an evening or a day to talk to individuals and say who you are.

Soon the numbers started to diminish as people left and I decided to head back out of London, had a fun evening and I learned a clever lesson when traveling to Euston station if you are going somewhere don’t get a tube train going the opposite direction. my trick getting on the wrong compass bound tube and ending up in Kensington. No matter, a simple walking over to the other side fixed everything.

 

I have also heard back from a director I worked with last year who mentioned a production that is being filmed in September, so I am hoping I am free to help out even if it is for a few days. He has also put in a requested for baked treats, moral booster for the cast and crew, well it helps when filming in the sticks and it’s cold and people have been working long days. September will soon be here.

 

Nunquam Deditioneum

 

 

 

TWFP Party

1 Aug

Hey Mediadreamzers

 

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My latest media activity came round sooner than I expected and it was a great way to spend a Sunday evening. Normally I use Sundays to recover from combat training but decided to go and do something fun. As it was a dress to impress event I kept chopping and changing what I was gonna wear and eventually settle on something. Even though it didn’t start till 5pm, and because I was meeting a friend for coffee and catch up I left that house as I was.

Headed to London at what you’d call an early time, but needed to as I was heading to Elstree & Borehamwood; didn’t help that certain lines on the underground were closed off but found a way round on it. The welcome sign to E & B was showing all the programs filmed at BBC; Strictly Come Dancing, EastEnders, Children In Need and Holby City. When I got there I saw that Elstree & Borehamwood had its own Hollywood walk of fame and a wall that had film reels, director’s chair, clapper board, film count down timer, stars and awards. I also saw star display boards one of which was for Christopher Lee, Sidney James, Gregory Peck just to name a few.

It would have been cool to have had the event at BBC studios but it was across the street but it was nice to be 30 seconds from the studio. The event I went to was a networking event for actors and crew, well mostly for actors as it was a casting party for a production company called The Way Forward Productions. Met one of my friends who’d I’d met at a previous event and had a catch up before meeting other people that I am FB friends with and others who I was meeting for the first time. Whilst there people were filling in registration forms for people to be actors, supporting roles or extras; it was hard for people to add details but managed to get everything sorted. We all headed to the hall where DJ food, drink and other events were arranged, one of which was a magician. He did a load of really cool tricks one of which involved 6 of us and a pack of invisible cards. The deck ended up in my hands and after the color of the card and suit had been chosen by 2 other people I said that the number of the card was a 5 and told me to draw a cross on the back and to blow a kiss in the air. Magician pulled out a pack of cards and shuffled through to the last one and there was a card with an X on it and it was the 5 of Diamonds. There were other tricks that involved cards, guessing images from passages read from books and what people had read on word cards.

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Local singers performed and the DJ took over after Jason Cook; the founder of The Way Forward Productions showed a short video on the charity that the production company supports; Downs Syndrome. After some introductions from Jason and Mark Sears, everyone started to mingle, chat, catch up with those they ‘d met before and hand out business cards. Later people headed up to where the photographer to have head shots to be added to profile pages that were and are going to be added to the production pages website, which also lists the upcoming films that are in pre-production.  Had a laugh during hte night taking pictures with props used in films past and present; balaclavas, guns, night googles, hats and having a laugh in the build up to a raffle draw to raise money for Drowns Syndrome charity.

 

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Although the event ended at 11pm, I left at about 9ish because of trains getting out of London and it was a good thing that I did as the next 2 trains had been cancelled and then next one was scheduled for 22.47pm. One thing I find when travelling on trains is that people ended up having conversations with me; maybe I have one of those faces that invites conversations, not that I am complaining but interests conversations happen. Made it back just before midnight would have been back sooner despite booking my taxi for when I arrived back it was 20mins late and made it back the next day. I hope I am not too shattered today when daylight breaks because I am back in the broadcasting gallery shadowing again and focusing on specific roles; the mix control panel and Assistant Producers roles.

Thought round off the night with an attempt of a selfie

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The only thing I hate about events like this is they start and end so fast.

 

Nunquam Deditioneum

Back to BAFTA

21 Jun

Hey Mediadreamzers

 

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I wish I could have written a post about a Media Summer Party with the Crewing Company but as it was raining and thundering it didn’t happen. So I’ll share with you my night at the BAFTA House for a preview screening on an updated adaptation of the Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad. Initially I thought the first day of Summer being yesterday was gonna be one of rain, rain and more rain but the afternoon sunshine all around thank you god. Managed to get to the Capital o.k and the one thing I like about the London Underground is that Oxford Circus has really cool coloured titles on the walls, sort of reminds me of a Kaleidoscope. As much as I wanted to admire the walls I had to get to Piccadilly Circus and I made it the sun was out and the Paparazzi were outside waiting for celebs and special guests. I was surprised by the how many people turned up for the screening, granted that the theatre wasn’t full to burst but it was full-ish.

 

After introductions from the BBC head of Communications and BAFTA President the screening commenced.  I admit I don’t remember the whole of the synopsis for Secret Agent but the hour segment was brilliant and saw a lot of British talent on screen; Toby Jones, Vicky McClure, Ian Hart, Stephen Graham, David Dawson just to name a few. The bare bones of the story is this Shopkeeper Verloc is instructed to bomb Greenwich Observatory and provoke the British government into cracking down on violent extremists. Caught between the Russians and the British police, Verloc drags his unsuspecting family into a tragic terror plot.

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BAFTA 3

 

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After the screening a Q&A followed which was chaired by Mark Lawson; Journalist, Broadcaster and Author, many remember him from Radio 4, well tonight he put his questions to the guests on stage; Toby Jones and Vicky McClure, Writer Tony Marchant and Director Charles McDougall. The floor was opened up to audience members and then the night came to an end, though the funny thing, well two funny things were this; first was Toby Jones walking right past me and the other was that as I was leaving the BAFTA House I encountered Mark and spoke to him before heading towards the Underground.

The journey out of London wasn’t as long as I thought it was gonna be I wonder if it had anything to do with the fact that Tuesday is and was the longest day on the calendar, either way I made it back and had a blast that night. My next media event is looking to be in July where I will be heading out to Elstree and Borehamwood the land of EastEnders and Harry Potter territory (nothing to do with these guys but something else coming up).

Nunquam Deditioneum

Near the end, ready for the next chapters

30 Nov

Hi Mediadreamerz

It has been a little quiet regarding media work with the fast approach to Christmas, I do have one more media job next week which I am looking forward to and then its a case of waiting for 2015 and starting planned projects, and see what the future holds too.

Although I had fun on Wednesday travelling in the rain for a chat with members of the BBC Drama Village production team and finding out what is happening in the realm of production next year. As soon as I walked through the door to the building to the reception area the security team saw me and I was greeted with ‘Hello Stranger, longtime no see’. Something I never bargained for, nor expected as the last time I saw them was in January/ February, it was nice that they remembered me.

Once in they asked me what I had been up to and I started talking about productions and how I’d applied for a role on one the the BBC Birmingham productions and how I was unsuccessful, and then I got a bit of a surprise; at that exact moment a member of the drama production team walked by heard what I’d said and asked what area of work I am in, with production and after I told him he said he would get my details from the production team ready for next year. Big surprise there and as they say its all word of mouth and not what you know, but who.

I then met Steve and his colleague Kate and after finding a free office chatted about productions, opportunities, current experiences and recent projects I have worked on, where I see myself in the near distant future, why media/ drama and what the status of production is currently at. Steve and Kate explained a bit about their backgrounds and how they/ BBC Birmingham functions with regard to crew and other projects individuals move to work on so they get additional experiences and progress forward. Although production has ended this year, production resumes second week on January and then they will be scouting crew for new productions and will be selecting people to help out, hopefully I will be one of those individuals.

Until then it is one more media job to complete and then final preparations for Christmas (strange I started in October, but at least I only have a few things left to sort then its all done).

So next week busy but exhausting,

Nunquam Deditioneum

Buzzing from Birmingham BBC

21 Oct

Hi Mediadreamzers

I have just got back having had to put up with a 45mins delay on getting back, despite that the amount of travel I do these days I should invest in a Bradshaw book going on the trains back and forth. My latest venture was to Birmingham, to the Mailbox for a course titled ‘Get Your Next Job in TV Drama’, I must say thank you to my friend William Gallagher for passing on the course details and letting me know about it. Once inside the Mailbox I was greeted by a large number in the entrance, some I struck up a conversation with before heading into the delegated area for the course introduction and the numerous courses.

Once at the venue, tea and coffee was on tap and individuals began talking to people, I got chatting to had recently come back from Milan, was a producer of daytime TV, mainly cooking programmes and was looking to get into Drama. Everyone took seats and were greeted by a panel of well distinguished individuals who have worked in the industry for many years. The host of the panel was Marvarine Cole who is now a presenter on QVC but was previously a presenter on BBC, ITV and SKY NEWS, who operated a Q&A to the individuals who either work for independent companies and BBC, and mentioning how Drama is really making its presence known in Birmingham. When the hour’s panel had finished we all separated to attend our chosen workshops, for me the first was ‘Moving on from a Runner’, this was delivered by a guy called Andy, who now works as a 1st AD, previously a 2nd, 3rd and runner. The beginning of the session was Andy presenting his background in media and why he chose to go down the route of media, and all of us saying what career we are working towards. Andy even shared stories of individuals making mistakes and that ending their media careers, something that many of us made notes on the dangers and factors to be aware of.

 

During the lunch break I and those who attend were networking as much as we all could before the next selection of workshops started. I came prepared with a so many business cards that I was handing them out like sweets, and many remarked on the design I ‘d gone for- Paul Smith stripes. Soon it was time to attend the next selection of workshops and I opted for Script Supervisor, where a lady called Lisa who shared her experiences and how she got her break in TV, and how from there on she has worked on a multitude of productions ranging from ‘Death in Paradise’, ‘Midsomer Murders’ (a programme I love watching on repeat), ‘Hustle’ to ‘Minder’ ‘Father Brown’ and many more. We were shown a series of examples and templates of the documents a Script Supervisor uses when preparing for a TV series, and I must say it is A LOT of paperwork. One topic that Lisa made us all aware of was continuity where the script matches what is on presented on the screen from start to finish. To emphasis this we were all shown a series of clips from films where there mistakes; I have never stared at a TV screen so hard in my life in order to see and discover flaws, something I will be doing in the future. Soon that session ended and it was time for another break and more chatting before going onto the third and final class- Networking face to face and online and addressing the fears and myths; one exercise involved the room being split into two and one side saying why networking is bad and why is is good and answering simple questions, studying pictures and just giving our overall opinions on networking as a whole. From the set up of the room this was a masterclass that practically everyone wanted to attend and get as much insight into the best methods, approaches and results gained at the end.

 

The final part of the day was a closing Q&A session titled ‘Making great Drama in the Midlands’, delivered by Jamie Glazebrook who is the Executive Producer on the second series of ‘Peaky Blinders’. The questions were asked by the Marvarine who opened the event it felt appropriate that she should close it, with a combination of clips from the series and a preview of the next episode. It was then time for us to let our hair down and have drinks and continue to network, something I did for a short time as I had to dash to catch my train. I came away with a lot of useful advice, tips and information which I will be acting in the next couple of days. I was glad to have had a chance to speak to the guest panel of media representatives all except Will who had to leave during the lunch break because of a media meeting.

 

My next event all being well will be the 5th November and I am looking forward to the fact I will be catching up with a media friend/ contact I have known for 4 years. That combined with media activities in between.

 

Nunquam Deditioneum

Cosmopolitan Carnival Creativity

24 Aug

Hi Mediadreamz readers

What a day I have had, luckily not stuck on a checkout but something much more interesting. A few weeks back I was contacted by a company, through a recommendation, to help film an event happening in Leicester this weekend. The event is as you see above the Cosmopolitan Carnival and the purpose of the event is and was to Celebrate Leicester’s culturally diverse city through every imaginable art form. Everything from dancing of all forms to graffiti art, to music to singing and I along with a friend of mine, Raj, who I have worked with before on episodes of ‘Dickinson’s Real Deal’ were given the role of filming the setting up of the events, the reactions of people, the performances throughout the day and the closing aftermath of the events on the day.

 

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Prior to the event starting all the people involved we all met at Red Hot World Buffet where everyone had a complimentary lunch before getting ready to work. After getting the cameras Raj and I started filming, though the first half hour the cameras died so whilst they were charging we improvised (I used a spare Flip camera that I bought with me, and Raj used his phone). When all cameras had died it was a case of taking shifts to monitor the charging and guarding the tripods in half hourly intervals, in order to get some incredible footage. The main stage was mainly musical acts and the high st was dedicated to a mixture of dancing everything from tribal to zumba that encouraged other people to get involved too. I also thought the people on stilts was very creative. I made a couple of trips to st. Martin’s sq to listen to the random musical acts too, as well as getting people’s reactions. Personally my favourite bit was the dancing Chinese dragon, it was certainly something the children who came to the event found really interesting).

Areas were designated for the following
– Jubilee Square MAIN STAGE- MUSIC
– High Street DANCE ZONE
– St Martin’s Sq PERFORMANCE AREA-MUSIC

and not forgetting the Silver Arcade ARTS HUB & WORKSHOP DISPLAYS

Soon time grew closer to the fact that the dancing had finished and that everything was to end at Jubilee Sq with a few final acts before it all ended with a film projection on the wall of BBC Radio Leicester, so of the members of staff I met during the days events, and the footage was very interesting and cleverly constructed. And as usual the day went by so fast, this one of the disadvantages I have when involved in media work, that when I am enjoying something so much time just goes by, that is why it is so precious to any and all productions.

I am also having fun working on the feature film I mentioned before, which I resume work on in the next few days.

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