With a career that has spanned 18 years in the TV industry, you’d think I’d be used to ‘lights, camera and…ACTION!’
Well no…I’ve always been the behind the scenes girl. My roots in TV at the BBC is within the realms of production management. The person who gets things done, sorts things out, organises the team. You get the picture.
I was lucky enough to be chosen by iFly Magazine, KLM’s online travel magazine to present a short video highlighting my Little Secrets of London. My immediate reaction went from over the moon to runaway to the moon. Nerve wracking right? Particularly when I’ve always been on the other side of the camera.
So what actually happens on a filming day. It’s something I know all too well, but like I said so different when you’re the main focus! Firstly it’s not as glamorous as it all looks. You’re forever waiting around. And the days are long.
Scheduled for a two day shoot, all the locations I chose were included in the short film which made this Pixie very happy indeed. The heavens were also on our side – we were gifted with two days of blue skies and wall-to-wall sunshine. A director’s dream!
The day before the shoot I met the crew who had landed fresh from Amsterdam. Mainly to get to know them and to familiarise myself with the schedule and of any changes since we last spoke.
An early start at the beautifully ornate 14th-century Leadenhall Market before the crowds arrive to shop along with die-hard Harry Potter fans to see the entrance to Diagon Alley. Although Potterists beware – bring your own CGI if you are expecting it to look like a film set. The blue optician’s door is however, kindly pointed out by a cut-out Hagrid so fans don’t miss it. Yay.
After a few shots admiring the stunning architecture, smelling the flowers at a florist and happily looking through clothes rails – my work was done on location one. I waited as the crew captured all the remaining cutaway shots needed.
Next stop St Dunstan in the East a 900 hundred year old church ruin in the middle of the city. This peaceful oasis was rather busy when we rocked up, as all the office workers took advantage of the fine weather to enjoy their lunch outdoors.
The downside of shooting on location is you have to wait around to get that perfect shot. So if you can’t beat them join them – we took the opportunity to eat our own lunch in the gorgeous surroundings.
And when everyone senses nature calling you become kit guardian on the streets of London!
On to my favourite viewing spot of St Paul’s Cathedral. I love finding unique perspectives on landmarks. And the aspect from One New Change the shopping centre towards St Paul’s is stunning. Old and new joining forces to create the perfect snapshot.
My interview for the video took place outside the magnificent St Paul’s too. It needed to be in situ with a typical London backdrop with a steady stream of red buses. There was no prep as the crew wanted honest, natural answers. I was totally cool about it until a crowd started to form around us, wondering if they were catching a glimpse of someone famous. Bad times folks, not this time.
Our last stop for the day was a cocktail club in Shoreditch called the Looking Glass Bar. We watched mesmerised as the bartender did his best Tom Cruise impression, shaking up some of his famous cocktails for us to try. Retake you say? No problem…
The second morning started with a curveball. Our first meeting point was Brick Lane. However, by the time I arrived on location the producer received a call to say Borough Market had finally granted permission to film. Another common occurrence when filming. There are always changes, multiple changes usually. You’ve just gotta roll with it.
Once we hotfooted it to Borough Market, I was immersed in the most intoxicating smells and sights. Food, glorious food – nothing quite like it.
Being such a last minute location, permissions had to sought before I meandered in and out off stalls talking to the owners and sampling their goods.
Back on track we headed to our original morning location of Brick Lane. An area which has been a melting pot of cultures over the years and a complete contrast to the traditional places tourists end up visiting. It’s definitely one of my go to places. Home to two things I love bring – curry and street art, bringing me back time after time.
And when it’s hot, your tired and cutaways take a long time…you chill where you can.
Not far is the quirky shopping area Boxpark made entirely of shipping containers. Before we continued filming in the heat, we stopped for a quick drink stop in the cafe/bar at the top.
Final stop for the shoot was Leake Street Arches under Waterloo station. Even many Londoners haven’t heard of this creative hotspot. Many of the railway arches have been transformed into bars and restaurants and connected by graffiti tunnel made famous by Banksy.
It was so much fun wandering around my own city showing off all the spots I consider should be on every travellers list. Also I couldn’t have done it without such a fun, encouraging and supportive crew. Another one to add to the list of crazy yet amazing projects the Pixie has been involved in.
Head to my post, 5 Hidden Gems of London if you want more details on some of the locations mentioned, plus some new ones to add to the mix.
You’ll soon be able to catch the Pixie on international KLM inflight entertainment systems…How nuts is that?! So look out for it if you’re flying with the Dutch airline. In the meantime you can watch the video here:
I’d love to know what you think and if you have any of your own hidden gems. Let me know in the comments box below.