Monday, 23 April 2012

Movie Star for the Day

Last summer our school won the Tesco School Uniform Competition and won a free embroidered school uniform for every child at the school (See School Uniform Competition... Did We Win?)

Once we'd received our free school uniforms, I thought that was the end of it... But I was wrong!

A fortnight ago, as I was getting the children ready to go out, I received a phone call from a PR company. Tesco had asked them to make a documentary about back to school after the Easter holidays and how our community came together as one to help us win the school uniform competition. Once completed the video will be about 5 minutes long and will be a promotional video for Tesco to use on their website to promote the competition when they relaunch it again later this year. The PR company wanted to know if I was interested in appearing in the video and being interviewed about it, I was one of a few names they mentioned and I agreed to do it. 

That was on the Friday and the following Tuesday I received a phone call from the director of the video. He was arriving the following day and he wanted to meet me Wednesday evening and then to film me getting the children ready for school on Thursday morning. I didn't really want him to film us getting ready for school as it's chaos in my house, trying to get 4 children washed, fed, dressed and out of the house for 9am, but he said that's what he wanted. The reality and the chaos!

In desperation I contacted my best friends. I pleaded with them, begged even for their help. We hadn't gotten around to decorating the lounge since we'd moved in and it looked a mess with scribbles all over the walls and not something I wanted seen in a documentary. My friends, such wonderful friends that they are, answered the call and came the following morning armed with paintbrushes to help me out. (Thank you guys... Did I ever tell you how much I love and appreciate you!). Finally, just a few short hours after we'd started, my lounge was done. Hubby couldn't believe how quickly we'd managed to get it done when he came home from work!

That night we met the director and he seemed really nice. He told us all about a documentary he was making about following a $10 dollar bill for a month as it travelled across America, and a quick google of his name showed me he'd worked with some music stars I'd heard of on their music videos (inc Dido, Stereophonics twice etc). Whilst he was here, the kids were hyper and showing off a lot. They knew he was going to film it and they were excited. 

That night though, as I lay in bed, panic began to set in! What the hell had I let myself in for? Why was I doing this? Normally I'm a very shy person and I'm always the one behind the camera not in front of it. Not to mention that I'm not model material. I'm overweight and not very pretty and I wondered who on earth would want to see my ugly mug on this video! I posted how I felt on Facebook and within minutes I had some lovely responses from my friends (and not just my close friends either) all telling me I could do it and not to put myself down so much. I ended up in tears as I read it as I felt so loved and I knew I could do it.

The next morning before they arrived the kids were ordered to be on their BEST behaviour. Any misbehaving would mean I would sell the PS3!!! Once they arrived I took the kids for breakfast, thankful that the night before whilst I'd been having doubts, hubby had taken it upon himself to give the dinning room a quick coat of paint where the chairs had bashed against the wall leaving a brown streak. The kids were well behaved and chatty, although DD1 was her happy cheeky self. When asked "Do you like living here?" she goes "No!" and shakes her head. "Don't worry" lauged Ben the director (or Big Ben as the kids nicknamed him) "I'll edit that bit out!" 

It was quite a strange sight seeing two cameramen filming my kids eating their breakfast and this big boom hovering over their heads! I wish I'd taken pictures, but I completely forgot and never thought to ask hubby to take some! The other strange part was wearing a radio mike, I was too scared to go to the bathroom as they would hear everything!!!
After breakfast they chatted to me briefly whilst the kids ran to get dressed in their bedrooms, and then filmed them in the lounge putting their jumpers and shoes on and me brushing their hair. 
"Do you look out for each other at school?" Ben asked.
"Nope" replies DS
"Yes you do." I reminded them "Remember when those boys bullied you and took your coat and your sister went to get it back for you?" at which point DS decides to name and shame the boys in question. 
"Don't worry." laughed Ben again. "I'll edit that out as well!" 

At one point Ben said to me (after being told the night before by the kids) "Here's a loaded question... Where do you work?"
Laughing I replied "Tesco!"

Finally all ready for school and slightly earlier than usual (thanks to being well prepared, hubby home and kids bribed to behave) we left to school and I took them along the prom, showing off our scenery as best as I could as I raved about my town and the community and how well we all come together when needed, whether it's to bring home the body of a young lad who sadly passed away whilst on holiday, to win this competition or to help support the parents of a 9yr old girl who was in Great Ormond Street Hospital waiting for a heart transplant. Not to mention the pride people took in our town with lots of little groups such as two to tidy up the look of the town with plants and trees and benches etc 

It was very surreal, walking along the prom with the kids on their scooters being followed by two camera's and a big microphone boom, people in the cars that sped past all stared at us, whilst I tried to ignore them as I was nervous enough as it was. 

At one point I was asked if I liked living here and I told them I loved it, that I was "English by birth, but Welsh by choice" and they loved that and said it would be my catchphrase!!! I also made a comment about "Where else can you walk to school and see that view!" as I gestured to the beach. 
"I missed that" said Ben, "Can you do it again?"

Finally we got to school and the kids ran off to tell all their friends about the exciting morning and I gave the radio mike back after introducing them to our lollypop lady who has been there for over 35 years and used to walk me across the road when I was a child and is now crossing my children!

Later that afternoon they came back to my house as they wanted to film a little more and to interview me again without the kids. This was even more nerve wrecking than the morning had been as I didn't have the kids to hide behind. They told me that when they'd been at the school that morning, my kids had been getting a lot of kudos for knowing the film crew by name and having been interviewed and filmed. 

When I went to pick the kids up, they were very sad to learn I didn't have the film crew with me and kept asking if they would see them again and saying they missed them. In fact that night, DS stole my phone and sent Ben a text asking him to come over for an hour, poor Ben thought they'd done something wrong till I told him it was DS. 

That afternoon they'd interviewed another friend of mine, who is also one of the school dinnerladies and then Friday morning another friend of mine who runs a B&B was interviewed and we all met at the school in the morning so they could interview us together. Unfortunatly it decided to rain Friday morning so we had to do the interview inside the school!

All in all it was a very interesting experience and I'm glad I did it. It will be a good memory for the kids when they get older and Ben has promised to send an extended copy of the documentary for us to keep!

The Sound man Horrid Henry (as my kids called him)
filming the sunset

But the best bit, the one that really pleased me, was watching DD2 with them. I thought she would be shy and hide and not say a word as she suffered from Selective Mutism until recently (See What a Difference a Year Can Make) but she was happily chatting away to them as though she'd known them all her life! It was amazing and incredible and I was so pleased!!!

Tom the camera man gets a shot of the beach

Now we just have to wait for the documentary to be completed as this week the film crew is filming the school who were the runners-up in the competition. 

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