BBC Proms 2010: Chats, interviews, tracks and scripts

Posted on May 18, 2010


Two of the video projects for the BBC Proms website are moving on at a pleasing pace. Brief notes follow for any interested parties.

Sondheim Mashup

Music arranger Peter Faint has delivered the backing track we’ll be using for the orchestral musicians to sing along to. It sounds great, didn’t have to go through any tweaks and – impressively – came in a day before the deadline we’d agreed. Where deadlines are concerned I could seriously learn from Pete.

The lyrics have been sent out along with a guide track to three of the six orchestras originally approached.  Dates have been firmed up with those three orchestras for early June. Everyone seems to be quite excited. This is reassuring for me.

Of the three remaining orchestras, one has confirmed a date  – 28 May – but hasn’t recruited the players yet. It’s all getting a bit too close for comfort. I suspect 28 May will be too soon for their four singers (when they’re recruited) to have a fair stab at the track. Unless we reschedule for a later date (I’ve yet to test the water as to whether that will be possible), I’m wondering that particular group will be the first to fall.

The London band can’t confirm until they’re back from tour – Friday 11 June or thereabouts. The last group – the trail which went cold – has outline some unease about the idea although I’m rather hoping my impassioned plea stressing intentions of breaking down barriers by demonstrating the fun to be had from participatory music making might win them around.

Actually, I have to be honest and say that I know deep down that if a contributor has said ‘no’ it’s going to take one spectacular miracle to bring them back on the page. Personally, that’s heartbreaking. Of course people can say no. And of course, given they know nothing about me (relatively speaking) why on earth should I assume they’ll say yes. Still, it would have been nice to have everyone up and down the country on board.

Travel bookings are on hold pending the budget for travel being agreed by the editor. It’s all very grown up this process, as I’m sure you’ll be pleased to read.

Marketing the Arts

I had seriously overlooked what benefit having a pre-interview chat with a contributor has on stress levels. Up until last week I’d hesitated from discussing a topic for a film with a contributor for fear we’d lose some of that spontaneity in the filmed interview.

The way to get around that potential pitfall is – I now realise – to have a face to face meeting with a contributor a week or so (or longer) before the actual filmed interview. Don’t take any notes. Just chat. Get to know the person you want to have participate. That way the person in question feels valued, you feel reassured and – most important of all – you can shape the script in your head. That will in turn aid phrasing of questions. Everyone’s a winner.

The first interview for this piece is scheduled for Wednesday 18 May at the Barbican. Assuming the London Symphony Orchestra’s rehearsal doesn’t overrun, we should have half an hour in the auditorium and on the stage to record some links and B-roll followed, some shots of the band walking out from the backstage area and finally a fifteen minute interview backstage with Jo Johnson, Digital Marketing Manager. Radio 3 Online producer Gregory Stevens will Mr Cameraman. And I know I’ll look like a sack of potatoes.

Mind you, that shouldn’t really matter. It’s about what you say not what you look like.