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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Screen Queen

Looking back on the filming last week, I am begining to wonder which bits they are going to include in the programme, I don't know myself untill it goes out. A lot of people would not offer to take part in anything like this, for whatever reason, but when they asked me, I thought why not, a bit of fun. Why not step out of my comfort zone, grab every opportunity, and embrace every experience. Life is for living, and it is better to have tried, than to go your grave with a list of things you wished you had done. Ok, so I have been filmed before, several times, I had a pretty good idea of what it's about, but I have no idea what will be shown on the screen. I took a chance, my life in their hands, my choice.

Filming was a long days work, non stop except for ten minutes break for lunch. As soon as the crew arrived it was straight to it, the camera was set up on the pavement in front of my house and all I had to do was look into it. That took about an hour.

Once inside, I could see that the producer had a long list of scenes she wanted to shoot. All the research had been done on the phone, so she could forwarn me about any props that were needed. Exact positions were essential, backgrounds have to be pleasing to the eye, scenes have to be set, and important words have to be spoken to get the message across. Their job is to produce something polished, artistic, and professionally made.

As the day was going on I found myself having to do several takes of the same scene, a bit like the out-takes you see on the comedy programmes. My brain was slowing down and processing information was becoming more and more difficult. I am a morning person and at my most energetic before mid afternoon. After that I start slowing down, not good when the pressure is on to get all the scenes in the bag by the deadline, because the crew have to catch a train back to London.

Several people have asked if I get paid for it, and the answer is no. I am at the point in my life where I can afford to do things for nothing, because I don't need to earn money, I have enough. Whatever I do now is because I want to, not because I have to. People might think I have been taken advantage of, I don't see it that way. I had a choice, I could have said no.

It was fascinating to watch the crew work, the producer giving instructions to the camera man while scrutinising my every move on a small screen she held in her hands. Her own creative flair told her exactly what she was looking for, and she had to convey the image she had in her head to the man holding the camera. The reason that so much is filmed and so little is eventually shown is because every tiny error shows up big time, so it has to be perfect. I can understand the need to strive for perfection, if I can't do a job properly I'd rather not bother at all.

Anyway, I gave it my best shot. I do know one thing though, I could never be an actor. I could never learn thousands of lines, and I could never pretend to be something or somebody I am not. I am me, what you see is what you get. I was on a chat programme on TV once, and found doing it live was far easier than being filmed, because I was in control. I can stand up and speak to an audience of two hundred no problem, again because I am in control. I feel comfortable ad libbing because what ever comes out of my mouth spontaneously and off the top of my head, is often funnier and more entertaining than words practiced over and over again.

Anyway, you are free to judge me for yourself.


  1. Your Zest for life is a breath of fresh air. I love that you don't subscribe to others notions of how things should be done. I wish I could have seen your show. But unless it can be seen online, I won't be able to catch it. Do you know, could I find it online? It would be cool to watch.
    It is lovely here in Ocean City, Maryland today. Going for a walk on Assateague Island. It has beautiful wild horses! I am so excited to be home from Serbia. But I miss my little bit of Europe.
    Love reading your stuff! Have a beautiful day~

  2. Thank you Lafemmet. I was once a character witness for my friend in a court case. She was sueing her company for Constructive Dismissal. The chairman of the bench thanked me after I had given my evidence, and concluded by saying I had been a breath of fresh air. Not an impression I was trying to convey at the time.

    I have just checked youtube and the last four episodes are all there, posted by channel 4, so I assume the next four will also be posted. I hope so, then most people in the world will be able to see it. Put Super Scrimpers into the search box at the top. The full episode of Britains Tightest Person is also there.

  3. P.S. How wonderful to see wild horses, I have never seen any. Sounds a fabulous place.

  4. After being filmed the other week for Escape to the Country I know exactly what you mean now. To have to go over and over everything so they can get it 'just right' is mind numbing.

    Things I said off camera quite spontaneously that they loved seemed so very hard to replicate when you have to do it to order for the filming, and as for 'doing' and 'saying' at the same time, suddenly I lost the knack of being able to multi-task!!

    I can't wait to see you on screen and have my Sky box set up all ready!!

    Sue xx

  5. That is so true, Sue, you have explained it perfectly. The more you repeat the same lines, the more ridiculous it sounds. It is never as good as the first time. And getting my head round 'doing' and 'saying' at the same time, I think my days of multi tasking are over, ha ha.

  6. Can't wait to see it. I saw your Meanqueen bit but I hadn't met you then so it will be so much more interesting. I just hope that husband doesnt come home early so I can DVD it. Anyway I can watch it on Catch up.

    It is difficult speaking for a camera, we used to do some amateur Cine photography and make small films. This was about the late 1960s/early 70s, how silly they look now!

    It's a pity you couldn't have got some cash for your animal charity though.

  7. When are you on TV Ilona? Tell me quickly so that I don't miss seeing you :O)

  8. Super that the show with Ms. Moneypenny? If so, it doesn't seem the videos are available across the pond where I live (Canada). Too bad, I would have liked to have seen them.

  9. I know what you mean about grabbing oppurtunities. I work for the NHS and last year they wanted people to appear in their local advertising campaign. I put my daughters name down, reluctant at first she then enjoyed the afternoon with the photographer. About a fortnight later the posters appeared around the local area. Lots of people saw the posters :at the motorway,supermarkets,buildings and in the newspapers. You never know where something will lead. I could have put my name down but I was too chicken !!!

  10. Jane, quickly, I will be on the tele on Wednesday night, (tomorrow) channel 4, 8.30pm, and yes, Joyfull, it is Super Scrimpers with Mrs Moneypenny in charge. Can you not get youtube in Canada? I thought it was world wide, or maybe they censor some items in some countries?

    Miss Piggy Bank, what a shame, you could have been famous. Next time, say yes :0)

  11. I'm all set to watch tomorrow night. Can't wait!

    Sft x

  12. I am looking forward to watching you tomorrow night x

  13. You`re more watchable than the real Queen, lol.

  14. Can't wait to see you. I'll record it so I can wind through the other parts.
    BTW I made a tea light holder, you can see it on my blog (with a link back to you).

  15. Looking forward to seeing you on TV tonight. At last someone 'real'. I've told all my friends to watch tonight.

  16. Well, I am pleased to say I had a play at recording. It's gone more difficult since digital, since I've also got Freeview on the recording box. Don't have one of those Virgin boxes as you need the X large package.

    So, I'm looking forward to recording it so I can watch it and as another watcher says, "cut out the bits that are not interesting'.

  17. Well, I watched it. You looked very glam Ilona and came over so well. It's such a pity that there was not more of you to watch.

    How did that couple not realise how much taxis were costing them? Also, spending so much on their kids clothes when they will be out of them in a very short time. Where do they get this idea of taking taxis everywhere? In my day you NEVER had taxis, ordinary people didn't, was the way I was brought up.

    Anyway, well done - maybe you can get on another programme.

  18. Off to youtube to see if I can find you over here!
    Jane x

  19. Yes I have youtube but it seems that when a television program is on line, they don't show it outside of the country where it originates. Something to do with international agreements. I can't even watch some television program from USA on line but I can watch others. I have no idea how the laws really work. Too bad, I really wanted to see you.


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