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Chitty Chitty Wow Wow

4 Dec

Hi Mediadreamzers

My gosh it has been an age since I last posted, well since the Bond charity night in September. I confess that I need to amend a comment I made in the last post; I mentioned that there was going to be a Bond gala night in January. Well it has been discovered that the event was a con something unfortunately some of my friends were the victims of. It turns out that the person who was ‘organising’ the event had named dropped some well known Bond actors who were to be attending. Well the agents to the stars notified certain parties that they/ the actors had no idea of this event let a lone had been asked to attend. Top and Tail is as you can guess the event has been cancelled and to my knowledge people had managed to get a refunded on the non-existent event.

Now I will get round to sharing my latest event, and it involved going to my favourite place, Pinewood. Granted this was about 2 weeks ago, just been waiting on photos to be sent to me before sharing the day. This was as the title of the post suggests an event to do with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The event marked 50 years since the film hit the silver screen and it was a fun filled day from start to finish. I admit I thought I was going to have problems travelling down as the route I take to Pinewood was closed but managed to make headway on the M1.

Made it in good time and met up with familiar faces and friends before walking through the great doors to Heatherden Hall which has featured in many films that being Carry On and James Bond. Once inside, it was a tour of the garden and grounds with Dave Worral who imparted fun facts on the different parts and areas of the garden. I even saw a memorial stone dedicated to Desmond Llewelyn (as many know played Q). Whilst on the tour I got chatting to the son of the composer to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Robert Sherman.

Before going back into Heatherden Hall for the Q&A with the crew and special guests we all got a change to have our pictures taken next to one of the original cars used in the film (unfortunately we couldn’t drive it around the film lot). Whilst the photos were being snapped I got the change to chat to a few people and some of the special guests. One thing that was a hue surprise when the Q&A session started was the children actors from the film Adrian Hall and Heather Ripley. One interesting fact that I discovered was that Heather never really auditioned for the role of Jemima that the original child was ill and Heather’s mum put her daughter forward as she knew the lines, and from there things progressed.

 

      

After the Q&A lunch was served and I got chatting to one of the guys at my table who works for Universal channel and I also learned that another person was friends with a Danish composer, who knows, wait for it… Mads Mikkelsen. Hearing that I was in heaven. There was also a quiz about the film and other trivial facts and although it was an age since I saw the film I guessed some of the answers.

             

The highlight to end the day was going into the John Barry theatre and watching the film on the silver screen with well distinguished actors and crew members. Although it was great seeing it in the theatre it was bloody freezing. I couldn’t get over how quickly the day ended and it was a blast from start to finish and I felt that the security guys didn’t want any of us to leave as the barrier to let us in and out was on lock down. As much as I would loved to have spent the night at Pinewood studios that didn’t happen; security eventually let us out.

Made it back buzzing from such a fantastic day and I look forward to my next job or venture out into the world of Media.

Whether that is before or after Christmas who knows.

Nunquam Deditioneum

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Back to the Film Industry

20 Sep

Hey Mediadreamzers

The follow-up to yesterdays media/ film related fun that I had; yesterday the activity today the film work. It was an early rise for me, in order to make a 2 1/2 hour journey down to Dover for my next film product. I got to work with a Director who I worked with last year on a film called ‘Borstal’ (post dated round about October time). Driving to Dover was long and lengthy and I got to do something I have never done before; drive over the Dartford crossing and I confess seeing the height of the bridge does make you think oh my God this is enormous; one thing I made sure not to forget to do once I got back was to pay the toll. Word of advice pay the toll either in advance or as soon as you get to a computer otherwise you have the fine to contend with.

I digress, I made it to Dover in good time and got a marvelous view of the castle, breath-taking, and did I see the white cliffs of Dover; I did as I drove home 8 hours later. The location a boxing venue, the film a hard-core action adrenaline pumping Brit spit and grit film, the title Red Army Hooligan. I will not share the plot yet, but the focus is on fighting. One thing that was handy about the location was that it was across the street from 2 supermarkets so no-one went hungry or thirsty on the day. Once inside it was hugs and hi’s from those I have worked with before and I got started on my Production tasks, well that was after I bought in the baked treats I promised the crew I would bring and they were VERY happy after that and got everyone through working on a Sunday. I got high praise for thinking ahead and being on hand to the usual things and I was surprised when the Director referred to me as the Production Coordinator, usually I go along with assistant but coordinator is even better.

We got most of the scenes shot at different angles, and the extras were brilliant with what they needed to do. Managed to mark all the scenes and ensure that we stayed on track with time and thanks to Gaz the D.O.P got a lot of great photos, which will appear soon. There was a moment where I was asked by JP one of the actors and Producer on the film asked if I minded being in the film as a hooded faceless character. So I made my faceless debut just before we wrapped for the day, which was both a surprise and a fun thing to be a part of. Hopefully I will see myself on screen when the film premieres next year in London. We then wrapped at a good time and I was happy to see that the containers that I had bought the baked treats down in were nearly empty. And what was left I made sure that the crew took what was left home to get them through the long journeys home. Driving out of Dover was fine and one little tip to anyone, makes sure you pay the Dartford toll as soon as you can. It is a shame that I can’t help out on additional days but it was fun and great working with crew I have worked with before, and I look forward to the next series of films that are in the pipeline in the next 2-3 months.

 

Nunquam Deditioneum

You Only Drive Twice

16 Sep

Hey Mediadreamzers

This latest post is about the day I had with a James Bond group I am part of going all around Staines/ Buckinghamshire. This weekend of activities was organized months in advance and split over two days. I joined the group for the events of today, would join them on Sunday but I am in Dover working on a film. Up early to meet everyone in Wraysbury for a briefing and to meet everyone. I decided to go in somewhat disguise in when I say that I mean that I wore a wig for fun, was nice to be a red-haired again.

Once I met with everyone there were a few props and symbolic items the balloons from the living daylights, the milk bottles, top secret envelopes and anything to do with Spectre. After everyone had had there breakfasts at McDonald’s it was on to the first location; RK Leisure park, which featured in A View to a Kill. The second location was to Bedfont Park which was an industrial corporation site that featured in Tomorrow Never Dies, and of course we got a few shots of the buildings before driving to Ashford FC which was fun watching a amateur match and everyone had tea, coffee and breakfast baps. The best location that followed this was, wait for it….. Pinewood Studios. This is my 10th visit and it is always good going back to my favourite place. We took advantage of the nice weather to get what pictures we could get, before it rained and in areas that security didn’t have a problem with; thought at one point security said to us to get behind the lamp post and that we were only allowed to take pictures of the Pinewood sign. I even got into the spirit of Bond by humorously doing a Bond Girl pose on a Bond car, and an assassinated pose.

         

We then took a break from location scouting and taking pictures to have lunch and the pub we went to had some brilliant art on the wall of Ian Fleming book covers and pictures of Sean Connery, the Carry On Crew and other well known people.

We also took time to do a Picture Quiz before heading out to an auspicious Golf Club; Stoke Poges. All I can say is that it took my breathe away seeing it, and thinking about Goldfinger being shot there. One thing that we did was re-enacted a scene where someone’s hat is used pretending it’s odd-jobs hat when he throws it at a statue, whereas in this case it is thrown at me and I fall to the ground. Was a fun scene to be in.

We were originally going to be to various parts of the course but because there was a wedding on but we still got to explore. And we went into a part of the golf club where the walls are dedicated to posters from Goldfinger and Tomorrow Never Dies as well as DOP shots and call-sheets and casual shots of the actors relaxing. I am taken aback that you need a Pin to access the visitors restrooms; something I have never done before- was like trying to break into Fort Knox bank, and the restrooms are so fancy that there a 6 types of Golf magazines.

 

We then moved onto the final location which was St Giles Church which is the opening scene in For Your Eyes Only where Roger Moore is laying flowers at a grave before jumping into a helicopter. This is where this scene was re-enacted before the heavens opened up a second time before we said our goodbyes and head out of Buckinghamshire to hotels, homes and temporary accommodation.

It was a challenge getting back home as monsoon rain came down non-stop and traffic was bad that I was crawling for about 30mins. It was a great day and I have photos to share; will be added later, one of which I am on the hood of a car that was covered in James Bond logos. Tomorrow will be a long day going back and forth to Dover, so wish me luck on my filming there.

Nunquam Deditioneum

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

 

 

 

An evening with James… and a famous feline

25 Jun

Hey Mediadreamerz

It certainly has been a long time since I last posted. I admit I have spent the last few weeks getting ready and trained for the production department I am moving into; live broadcasting television. Role being a Production Gallery Assistant.

But I have managed to find time to escape my media domain and go to an event I have been looking forward to for weeks. I travelled to London to hear a chat from James Bowen and see A Street Cat Named Bob. Whilst on the train I got chatting to a couple going to a Robbie Williams concert and other topics; I always think the best conversations are with strangers, you lern a lot. I had a feeling that it was going to be a popular event and it was; people were queueing at 5.45pm and the event wasn’t starting till 7 pm. It was a Hammersmith town hall and I only wish that the venue had air condition as it was really hot inside.

          

 

Soon the room was a buzz when James and Bob arrived and everyone stood up and applauded. Before the Q&A session started there was performances from a group called Burbank who were really good, and they even performed afterwards. It amazed me that people had travelled from Switzerland, Germany, Poland Greece and other parts of Europe had come across to the UK to see Bob and listen to James.

          

 

For those who do not know about James and Bob, focuses on James who was a homeless individual who was on a methadone program. After struggling for so long James was able to get a place to stay and one day Bob was sitting in the corridor of where James was staying. After 3 days, Bob was still there and James decided to take Bob to a charity vet and after that decided to look after Bob, who gave him a focus point to get clean and get back on his feet. James was also busking at this time and with Bob going out with James, it attracted attention from the masses. Soon James was approached by a publishing company who wanted to turn his story into a book, or rather a series of books. And then into a film as I guess some of you have seen.

              

 

James and Bob sat down and the person hosting asked James about the film, his books/ story, questions about Bob’s likes/ dislikes and facts about him and getting involved with the charity Baron Court. During this time also Bob was wearing his scarf, falling asleep and being fussed and fed treats at various times. One thing that gets me is how he stays on James’ shoulders when he jumps on him?

Barons Court Project is a homeless charity that focuses on helping those find somewhere to live, provides them with meals, social events, a place to get a haircut, hot shower, IT facilities to print off their CVs and learn new skills, postal mail address and much more. The charity’s main organizer also mentioned how others can get involved and how James and other celebrities have also given up their time to assist others.

There were questions from those that had submitted ones to the event organizers, and some of us got to ask questions afterwards, followed by getting loads of photos of Bob and James. The only annoying part at the end was queueing to get books and merchandise signed, oh don’t get me wrong the queueing wasn’t the annoying part, it was people buying books and items at the top of the hall and cutting in line! The rule is this- No butts, No cuts, No coconuts! And again best conversations are with strangers, something many of us did when waiting and waiting.

4o minutes later and I got a book signed, but not to me; I got it signed to my mum and I am gonna break a cardinal sin here and say the book is going to be one of my mum’s Christmas presents. I wanted to high-5 Bob as that is signature greeting, but because he was getting grumpy and tired he went to rest, so I gave James a high-5 instead. Was a relief to get outside as it was na oven in the hall, and as I walked back to Hamersmith underground I got an enormous shock; Bill Bailey was walking towards me with his son, whistling. Wow what a cool moment, first James and Bob, now Bill Bailey. I’ve heard stories of people meeting and seeing well known people on buses and on the underground but for me that was totally awesome.

I have recently been asked about helping out on some films in Spetember, which I am hoping fingers crossed I can even if it is for a few days I still love my freelance work, so that will soon be upon me.

Nunquam Deditioneum

Borstal Breakout premiere

28 Apr

Hey Mediadreamzers

Boy am I tired, but it is so worth it after getting back at 1 am from the premiere of a film I was lucky to work on last year; ‘Borstal’. What a journey it was getting there, but I made it, one well two things I noticed on my way to Romford station was that there’s a tunnel and underground construction academy; never knew one existed. Second got to see Romford greyhound track always seen it but never been near the track. Got to the cinema and was great catching up with everyone and seeing Gaz and Steven and promising that the next film I get the chance to work with Steven on there will be cake. When I worked on the ‘Borstal’ film I made a mixture of cakes for cast and crew so next time I will see what I can make to surprise everyone. After welcome drinks and press coverage of the film for Channel 5, we headed into the cinema screening where a series of trailers were shown before the film.

           

pre-premiere drinks

 

The film itself is about the memoir of Kris Gray being sent to Borstal for X number of months and how he manages to survive whilst having to contend with some of the prisoners and prison officer by the name Forshaw who take a dislike to Kris. I enjoyed seeing the finished piece on the big screen and thought that adding a narrative/ soliloquy effect of the main character Kris ass that personal touch too. Once the film finished, an auction was held to raise money for a worthy cause; there was one of the Borstal outfits, signed pictures, and posters, and other film-related merchandise.

            

 

I would have loved to have stayed longer for the after party but need to get my trains back to Buckinghamshire. It was a great night and I had so much fun and something out of the ordinary happened; on my way to Romford station, I saw a fox and as clear as daylight (ironic as it was night time) the fox walked past me as if it was a pedestrian on his way so where.
Journey back was o.k. and made it back in the early hours of this morning, it will catch up with me, but I’m not gonna let that stop me from going to my next media event today, well later this afternoon at the BAFTA House. One surprise for me but not people that live in cities is seeing a fox when I was heading to Romford station.

Nunquam Deditionem

London Calling 007 Agents

12 Dec

Hey Mediadreamzers

Beginning of the month has been a little quiet and although this isn’t a media job, but more of a media activity, and it was an awesome one. And what better way to count down the 12 days till Christmas than heading into London for a James Bond weekend. This was a 2-day activity, I only went for one day and boy did I love it. Mission accepted and up early to get the train into London and made it to one of the film locations earlier than I thought I would. Once in the Capital, I met up with other Bond fans outside Barbican tube station, and from that point on there were iconic coincidences throughout the day, something that I jinxed; outside the station a lady passed us carrying a Cello (The Living Daylights), when walking towards the Barbican there were painted Qs in the cycle lines, construction of a tall building (Casino Royale; minus the climbing the building or free-running) there were others but these are just a few I wanted to share.

 

The day started off by heading to the Barbican where one of the scenes from Quantum of Solace was shot. At one stage we were wondering around the Barbican trying to find the part where the scene was shot, but we did. One of the fun things about the day was the group got separated, 3 times and I find that that is the best part of touring London, its part of the fun. From the Barbican we moved onto the Smithfield Carpark to where Skyfall was shot; the scene where Bond has been de-briefed and is in the car with Tanner going to the new Mi6.

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The rest of the day was going around and across London on the underground to different points; next location was to Liverpool Street to Broadgate Tower; again Skyfall- The scene where Bond falls the assassin and is hanging from the bottom of the elevator. From Broadgate Tower it was travelling to the College of Arms; where George Lazenby got his ‘Coat of Arms’ in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The building was really interesting and had a mixture of different coats of arms on the walls, and met up with other Bond enthusiasts before heading to Pret for lunch, and a chance to chat.

 

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From Pret we headed to Trinty Square from Skyfall where M arrives to meet Mallory and I think also when Bond chased after Silver to M’s hearing. It was fun re-enacting the walking into the building scene one by one.

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From Trinty Sq. we moved onto Ornamental Canal (and this was the second time we got separated from the others). When we did get to Ornamental Canal, which was from The World is Not Enough; Bond chasing the assassin towards the Millenium Dome, which continued onto Shadwell to Crossharbour.

 

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Once there  it was getting shots of the canal the moment came to take group pictures and selfies, as the light was just right. Back to the station, the group slowly started to diminish as people needed to travel back home, so the phrase ‘Agent Down’ was said each time a member of the group left (Although at first, I said ‘Another agent has died, which got a few laughs). We travelled to Mi6 HQ, which has been used in numerous Bond films; GoldenEye, The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Skyfall and Spectre. Whilst there we got group pics of us outside ‘our place of work’, and we talked about how Mi6 used to recruit people and how it has all changed.

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During the day people in the group asked what it is I do for work, or said that they noticed on my Facebook page that I work for SIS; the initials as of the secret service. Before moving onto Buckingham Palace, unfortunately not to get knighted by the Queen, more agents left the group; ‘agents down’ to head home the group then became 7. There was a slight detour to see Ian Fleming’s blue Plaque and one of the houses that he owned. Once at Buckingham Palace, we captured the last leg of the tour with a group photo before going to Greenwich tube station and all agents heading home. All Agents down.

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What a fabtastic day meeting so many people and catching up with those I have met before, I so hope there is another 007 event next year, maybe a casino royale night at the Hippodrome, or going to one of the many countries used in Bond films and making it into a holiday of some form. Although getting the train home was a bit of a nightmare, it was still a great day. I think as a group we walked about 17,000 steps from the whole day itself. Meeting everyone who had been allocated a 00 status was fun, and of course, there were 2 people known as Q, and I stuck with Moneypenny within the group.

My next post for the weekend being 17th/18th December would have been posting about Peter Vaugh but with him, unfortunately passing away, the Museum of Comedy had to cancel the event. Though the next time I will be back in London is for another Christmas party; had one last Friday in London and saw Al Murray when we at one of the pubs. Could have gone to another party that same night but didn’t know about it, until the last minute.

Lets seen what is next on the cards, and hope I get to meet everyone again soon

Nunquam Deditioneum

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