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behind the scenes of a TV documentary

Posted: 3rd December 2015 at 13:05 • Categories: Europe · United Kingdom · London · Harry Potter · Work With Me

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March 2015 : A Rainy Day in Cork airport, Ireland. Julie, founder of London Incognito calls me.
"- Pascaline how are you? I was wondering. Would you be interested on doing a travel documentary about the film locations used in the Harry Potter series in England?
- Whaaat? But OUI of course, that would be great! Who is it for?
- TF1 "Said Julie. Suddenly the torrential rain doesn't matter anymore, I can already imagine the result: A great documentary combining my work as a guide and my passion for anything Potter, well the books especially but the movies were great and that's why I started to guide  Harry Potter tours.
"- Pascaline You still there?
- Yes Yes! Sorry I am day dreaming. "

Julie laughs and hangs up. I am in shock. The rest of my journey to Limerick seems to pass in a heartbeat. My 10 day tour with my 12 french-canadian kids begins and the next day while I wait for my little group watching the sunrise at the Cliffs of Moher I get an email from Melody Locard from Sequence 3 productions explaining in detail the purpose of this documentary. The whole story becomes real! All that is left to do is to find an ideal family TF1 corresponding to standards. Or a family with children or a group of friends.

May 2015: The touristic season is well underway and as usual, I am buried under work between the preparation of my tours, excursions to Paris with my American groups and trying to squeeze the british boyfriend in all this madness. Melody, the journalist in charge of the documentary, contacts me to ask me about the most impressive film set in London to help her choose what they will be filming. Unfortunately the documentary is only going to be 20 minutes long so we will only have the time to see 4 places.  After many, many emails the Production decide to go for Kings Cross, Diagon Alley, the Leaky Cauldron and Millenium Bridge. The Productors also wants to present the emblematic site of Harry Potter: The great hall of Hogwarts. This means filming inside Christchurch College Oxford! Here is the link : http://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/. I am excited at the prospect of ​​guiding in Christchurch because it is a place that I really love and has been used in many classics of English literature as Jude the obscure or the Golden compass.  The last place will be Gloucester cathedral’s cloisters, the team would like to have a few shots of the amazing corridors of Hogwarts.
 

June 2015 :  Unfortunately the family I found cannot visit London, one of their children doesn't have a passport yet and by the time they receive it will be too long. Sequence 3 must find another family… 3 weeks later job done, they found two sisters age 22 and 17. One of them is huge fan of Harry Potter and her little sister not so much.
 
 
 
D-DAY: LET THE FILMING BEGIN !

It is 6 am, my alarm clock rings and I my stomach is full of knots. Anyway, I must get ready, I cannot be late, not today.
6.40am: Ready. Heck I'm not wearing make up and I'm going to be filmed for 36 hours straight.  Maybe I could put some of my new MAC foundation. I have never tried it but it cannot be too complicated right?
6.45am:  In the bathroom. But how does this thing works. Aaaargh it is running over the place.. I should have done this last night. I should have tried this thing last night. OK, let’s not panic, lets just check You Tube, it's got to be a tutorial on MAC make up. There, this video looks perfect: How to apply foundation. Fascinating.
7.10: I'm camera ready! ouffff
7.20: Ah, I love London on a Saturday morning! Deserted and sunny. Yes, yes, I said sunny. The sun is a common in London, the only problem is that it always get swallowed by clouds throughout the day. Ah well. We can’t have everything…

8am: I am freezing on this bridge! Where are they?? Did I get the time wrong? Driiing .Oh my phone. Adrenaline rushes in and my stress level is now bigger than a skyscraper. "Pascaline, we’re here, we’ve just stopped to shoot some landscapes by the Thames." 10 minutes later the crew, Claire and Ariane my 2 tourists for the weekend arrive. After a short introduction, about  20kisses on the cheeks (I miss this about France) and being prepped by Arthur, the sound engineer who fixes my microphone the filming begins. My every moves are now being watched by 4 pairs of eyes and 2 synthetics one. My palms are ridiculously sweaty. I feel like everything I’ve just said was stupid. I feel like a 5 years old girl and it is not a nice feeling.
Well, says Brice tucking his hair behind his ears, it was not bad, let’s do it again! I breathe in, it is going to be a long and challenging day...
 

9.30am: Off to Borough Market to see the Leaky Cauldron (the one the 3rd film). I get out my binder, inspires lots lungs and begins to explain the scene. And there, all the stress falls: in the background is a guide like any other except that in addition to speak to 2 people I talk to the camera! My shoulders finally relax and my body feel less tense except when I try to look Yohan without setting the camera. I am always attracted to the black eye of the camera....
 

1pm. During our break Claire, Ariane and I get to talk with the crew. They really are a lovely bunch. I'm much more comfortable and I start to enjoy myself. Guiding in such condition is actually very exciting, people in the street are wondering what we can be filming about, it is just a lot of fun. Plus Ariane is really a big fan and knows a lot of things.
 
 
The greatest moment of this weekend for me was to see Christchurch dining room without the usual swarm of tourists. I’ve been to Christchurch a dozen times with my students when I worked in Oxford for a language school but I must say that this moment is magical. Christchurch is empty today as it is closed to the public and for the first time I can finally enjoy the magic of the place. Well, enjoy it quickly because the college makes sure we do not go beyond the time slot allotted to us.
 
 
 
 
 
The following day: A takes follows another take....
 
6pm: My stomack is starting to protest for bad treatment when Arthur shouts his usual "Sequence 3, clap de fin”. I’ve heard this phrase a hundred times this weekend but this time it is pretty special, we are filming the very last shot of the documentary in the magnificent cloister of Gloucester Cathedral. Brice, Melody and Yohan are absolutely thrilled, they have all they need for their documentary and I am exhausted. Totally ready for a 12h night to recover! It was an intense weekend but what an experience! I had never realized the amount of work behind the completion of a documentary before. The team has more than 30 hours of film and they will have to condense our adventure in 20 minutes!
 
 
Three months later, here is the result. I must say I am impressed by the quality of the story and pictures. It is slightly odd to hear myself but now watching the documentary I am proud to have been a part of it. Actually, I have a new goal now: I want to present a cultural program one day!
 
Here is the result : This is an extract of the reportage. All rights reserved to Skopia films.
 
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