BBC Waterloo Road Event

Wow! Last night was the roller coaster ending to an exhausting 9 day epic film quest, and my first officially recognised Drama project for the BBC.

I applied for a two week attachment with BBC Outreach, the department responsible for working with communities and young people. Together, Outreach, BBC Project North and the creators of Waterloo Road, Shed Productions, set up a scheme involving four schools across the north.

A small production team of only four people, plus a different script editor from Shed for each school, had just one school day to meet, workshop and shoot an entire film, whose story was written by and starred the pupils themselves, in just one school day.

Chelsea Healy (Janice on Waterloo Road),
Lindsay (Project Coordinator/Acting Coach/AMAZING 1st AD),
Me, and George Sampson (Britain's Got Talent and now Waterloo Road).

Brilliantly, it was all my experience working on low budget, short schedule and guerilla films that made sure I was up to the task. The pace was intense, and after four long days shooting and travelling, I then had just 4 days to edit all the films.

Yesterday was the culmination of all that graft. The heads of BBC Drama and BBC North, the senior Shed Management, most of the cast and crew of Waterloo Road itself and 100+ school pupils sat in judgement of our hard work.

Lindsay, Mark Renton (Doctor Who, The Street,
 Northern Lights, Waterloo Road etc.) and moi!

I was massively nervous; the screening would be the first time anyone outside the production team would have seen the films. Thankfully, the hard work on set and in the edit paid off.

The BBC and Shed folks were all massively impressed with the standard of the films. Everybody was expecting some shaky "community films" but instead were greeted with "dark edgy plots" (Shed) "superb acting" (Actor Mark Benton) and some "amazing camera work (Actor Robson Greene).

The pupils themselves were, thankfully, ecstatic with the final films, and a few pupils actually asked me and Lindsey (our AMAZING coordinator and now invaluable 1st AD... Hopefully she'll be working on the next SiabS project...) for our autographs and a few pictures!

Some guy called Robson Green and myself.
I think one of them is an Actor, the other a talented Director...

All in all, a fantastic night. The Shed team seemed to like the films and the fact we had managed to imitate the style of Waterloo Road with the kit/time we had, rather than trying to make a straight copy of it.

So now, a day of rest and a few thank you emails. And then back to work on those "silly do-it-in-my-own-time" films that I make...

But I don't mind admitting that 100 professionals and 100 kids applauding your hard work feels pretty good, and massively inspiring. Result.

- Posted (most likely with spelling errors) from my iPhone