Tag Archives: filming

You don’t understand being famous


Phil: This is the first blog post I’ve written whilst wearing a new pair of glasses. It’s very exciting.

We’ve discussed my deep joy at having to find a new pair of glasses on here before. It’s a reflection of the time we’ve been writing this blog that I’m changing them yet again. Another opportunity to pick a major facial feature. One that I only half got right as purely by chance my “everyday” pair turned out to be identical to the last design I’d picked a couple of years ago. Mind you, the ones in the photo are my “high days and holidays” pair so calm yourselves ladies…

Anyway, this time, there is an extra consideration. After my Aussie trip I’d wondered if some sunglasses might be a good idea. Then an advert planted the idea that some reactor lights lenses that automatically change would be a good idea. I love a bit of technology and don’t relish carrying glasses, a spare pare of glasses AND sunglasses around.

Fortunately, I discussed the idea with the optician and we hit a snag. You see, when I’m in the studio filming for a DVD, the bright lights in there will set off the lenses so I’ll be facing the camera looking a bit like Bono and no-one wants that.

How did being a celebrity become so difficult? Will there be other things like this to trip us up in our inexorable rise to A-list status?

You can laugh but just remember, when you watch Nativity on BBC2 Saturday December 20th at 4.45pm, La Nolan didn’t dominate the scene with Pam Ferris and the chocolate fountain without some serious hair dressing!

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Filed under fashion, Phil

Going in front of the camera

TVPhil3Phil: Once upon a time, authors could hide away behind their typewriters and word processors. We turned in our great words to someone who took them away and did the rest.

Times have changed. Even if you have a conventional publishing deal where someone handles book production and distribution, authors are expected to be front and centre in the publicity drive to sell copy. Even those of us in the magazine world find ourselves with a more varied career than just hammering a keyboard. Social media and blogging are one thing. Worse, you can be expected to appear on camera.

Now we expect that this is going to happen. In many ways we are looking forward to it. Writing is fun but selling the story is a task we really look forward to tackling.

If you look at the heading on this page, it’s pretty obvious that half of team NolanParker are TV friendly with years of extras work as well as a background in marketing and PR. The other half now finds himself having to take a crash course in not looking stupid on camera.

The magazine I work for has decided to produce DVDs where the team will illustrate some of the content on the page. Since I’m the “How to” article man, I’m going to have to feed on years watching Blue Peter presenters wrestle with sticky back plastic and double-sided tape to understand how to perform properly.

Step 1: Clean clothes and a haircut. Check.

Step 2: Turn up at the studio. Work out your “narrative” and get on with it.

The narrative is essentially the story you are trying to tell. In the film world, they will storyboard everything so you can see a visual thread running through the production. I just worked out what I wanted to do and the order I wanted to do it in my head.

Step 3: Try not to talk rubbish.

I’m not very good at learning lines and if I did, I suspect it would sound like I am reading from a page. When presenting to an audience, I use the slides as cue cards along with a few notes and make the rest up as I go along. Ten years of hospital radio presenting honed my skills but when a camera is involved, it steps up a level.

The closest I can describe my efforts is the radio panel game, Just a Minute. Contestants have to speak for 1 minute without any repetition or pauses. When I write, I’m very careful to avoid close repetition of words and phrases. This is fine on the page because I can edit away any problems. On screen, it’s even more important to avoid this but there’s not much you can do when you screw up except go for another take. Since I want the cameraman to like me, he’s also the editor and has ultimate power over how stupid you look in the final cut, it’s important to do this as few times as possible.

Anyway, I have now seen the final version of the film we made. 9 minutes of Phil for just over an hours filming. That sounds poor but I’m told is pretty good going. Candice tells tales of incredible amounts of time spent perfecting each scene in TV drama land. I’ll admit that I watched the TV through my fingers but I don’t think it’s too bad.

All this is useful because hopefully I’ll be fully practised when it’s time to tour the worlds TV studios to promote The Book!

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Filed under Phil, Writing

Not strictly in the right order…

Candice:  In my spare time I like to do some drama alongside my usual marketing stuff.  So last week I had a lucky break in having two days work on a well known BBC drama.  Off I toddled to Bristol for two very long days – 5am starts and 10pm finishes – to film a funeral scene.  It did help that catering is provided – including this rather stonking chocolate fudge cake.

Now you may or may not know that life in TV and film does not work in strict order.  I turn up on Tuesday and find myself doing the Wake of the funeral, Thursday was to be the funeral itself.  Now this is quite a common occurrence as it is all dependent on actors availability, whether its day or night filming, availability of location etc.  So there we are supping Kaliber and fruit juice, AKA beer and red wine, watching a big punch up.  Then off we went to the cemetery on Thursday to watch the burial before we’d actually been through the service.  It must get very confusing for all involved, no wonder they keep referring to their scripts.

  But, apart from you being  interested in what life’s like as an extra, what has this got to do with the book, you cry?  Well, we kind of worked in the same way.  Initially the writing was all about whatever popped into your head at that particular time with no real structure.  But then it all had to be strung together, I worked out that Kate was wearing the same clothes on the wrong days and we needed to work a path though it all.  In in filming world this would be continuity and editing. 

Obviously, with my penchant for throwing myself infront of a camera, we would like the book to put on celluloid at some point in the future.  But its all about the publishing deal first!


Filed under Writing