The Culture Club – BBC CWR

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So this is a little out of the blue, but I got an email this week from BBC CWR.

They’re starting a new show on Thursday nights called The Culture Club and they wanted me to be a guest after seeing all the local events I’d been tweeting about recently!?!

My immediate response was to say I couldn’t make it, as it was midweek and I had no one to look after my daughter, but after thinking about it for a while I realised I was just making excuses to get out of doing something I might not be very good at.

At the beginning of the year I made a New Year’s Resolution to gamble more, to put myself out there with my career and push myself.

Well this was certainly something I’d never tried before and was way out of my comfort zone!

I messaged back asking if I could bring my daughter with me and, when they confirmed I could, I replied saying I’d love to be on the show. So there was no turning back!

Being on the other side of the microphone was going to be an unusual experience for me, but I figured the benefit of being on the radio was that if I started getting super embarrassed at least the audience wouldn’t be able to see me turning beetroot red!

I arrived at the studios fifteen minutes early and was introduced to the other guest panelist, Paul O’Donnell, and handed a sheet of topics we would be discussing that evening. Thankfully I was familiar with all but one of them and after a quick google decided I could hopefully wing that one if I really had to.

Paul and I got chatting and found we had a lot in common, including a project we had both worked on the previous year without actually ever running into one another.

Paul had also never been on the show before and after confessing how nervous I was I actually started to feel a lot better. By the time we were introduced to the show’s host, Dave Marshall Barrett, we were chatting away and this rapport really helped when we went on air as when one of us got stuck the other came to the rescue with a quick reply.

I got to talk about my current favorite topic, the recent Shop Front Festival organized by the amazing Theatre Absolute. We discussed the events we were most looking forward to in Coventry over the next few months (Deliaphonic, 5th May at St John The Baptist Church) and I even got to tell my BFG story (this will stay a mystery if you don’t tune in).

By the end of our half an hour I was actually getting surprisingly comfortable.

My daughter also really enjoyed the experience, getting to see behind the scenes on a real radio show and taking loads of photos to show her friends.

If I’m lucky enough to be asked back on The Culture Show one day I’m guessing I’ll be just as nervous but I won’t hesitate to say yes this time.

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If you’d like to listen to the show just click on the link below:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0612jr1

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Killing Death

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Killing Death was a great film to work on, but it wasn’t without it’s problems.

Due to actor’s dropping out, a snow storm that cancelled filming for over a week and countless other problems; preparations didn’t go quite as planned.

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Down a camera operator, our director now having to act in the film (we’d lost yet another actor at the last minute) and with only 5 hours to film a 15 page script, odds were definitely against us.

Obviously situations like this aren’t ideal, but they are also not uncommon within the industry and they teach you to adapt and improvise, when you need to.

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Realising we could never shoot the entire story we worked out what scenes and dialogue were essential and shelved the rest.

I think this is a technique I would look to employ working with any script in the future. You often find there are superfluous scenes that end up ‘on the cutting room floor’. If you can work out which scenes these are before you go to film you can avoid the heartache of having to lose footage that looks beautiful but does nothing to enhance your storyline.

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It was quite difficult being camera operator, cinematographer, gaffer and first AD all at once, but working alone more this year has gotten me used to multi tasking and after the first few scenes were set up, and with our audio technician lending me a hand, things soon fell into place.

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We’d spent the week worrying that more snow would stop us filming but, ironically, it was today’s sunshine that were causing the biggest problems on set. After weeks of snow the sun was out, brighter than ever, making it really difficult to see my screen to ensure everything was in focus and also making a lot of shots overexposed. After messing with my ISO and apeture to try and compensate we found the sun was dipping behind clouds periodically so tried to time each shot when we had a little more shade. At one point we even had one of our actors, out of shot, holding up a jacket to block out the harsh sunlight. This is when you realize the advantage of having a full crew and kit. Normally we’d have had someone blocking the light with a flag or bounce.

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But this isn’t the first time I’ve had problems with bright sunlight and it proves the ND filters that I considered buying after the Spamalot shoot, are definitely the next investment I need to make.

Overall the shoot needed to be filmed with these limitations, or else it wouldn’t have been filmed at all, for a university deadline, but as filmmakers we weren’t content with the final cut.

But rather than let this deter us we plan to use the experience as a trial run and reshoot the film in May with a full crew and, hopefully, a budget. The film has a good story and great comedy dialogue, it just needs some visual comedy adding in places and more time invested in storyboarding and costumes, but with these tweaks I think we could produce a really funny short comedy that would have a welcome audience on YouTube and social media.

 

SFX Make Up on the set of Embers

 

Today we were shooting the last two scenes where you finally get to see Anton’s mother.

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We were lucky enough to find two amazing make up artists to work with us who specialised in SFX make up.

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I couldn’t believe how quickly they managed to transform our actor, Skarlett. A few hours in make up and she really looked like she’d been burnt from head to foot.

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I was actually quite worried about running into anyone in the field where we were filming later, incase they thought she was genuinely hurt.


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