Lights, Camera, Action!
Remember I told you here about being shortlisted as Disney Winnie the Pooh Laureate for the Midlands and having to read my story over the telephone? Well, I won!
Last week I went along to the Disney Store in Birmingham to receive my certificate and read the story to a group of children. It was exciting – TV and newspaper cameras turned up along with a professional photographer organised by the PR company. The Lord Mayor of Birmingham and the Lady Mayoress attended in their chains of office and last, but by no means least, Birmingham crime novelist Judith Cutler presented my certificate and kept me company through the afternoon. As an added bonus she introduced me to her husband Edward Marston, who writes historical crime fiction.
The media coverage of the event opened my eyes to the small budgets these people work on and how difficult it is to get publicity for anything that’s not hard news.
I’d been told the previous day that ITV Central News would be coming and had agonised over what to wear. Am I the only one who thinks there’s some rule about not wearing stripes, checks or loud patterns in front of TV cameras? Anyway, in the end I went for plain navy blue.
When the camera crew arrived, the ‘crew’ turned out to be a single cameraman (who’d arrived by motorbike) and that was it. I’d been expecting a reporter as well and possibly a sound man. But the cameraman did have one of those big furry microphones. So, Lina, the Disney PR lady, became the interviewer and stood just out of camera shot whilst she asked questions of Judith and myself. It’s very hard to talk naturally or sensibly when a camera is pointed towards you but you’ve been told not to look at it and when there’s that microphone, which looks like a cute animal, being held out to catch every word. Judith and I did our best.
The two photographers had their turn with us next and spent ages posing Judith and I alongside various Disney cuddly toys in the shape of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and the rest of their friends from Hundred Acre Wood. They took pictures of us with the Mayor and some children (parents had to sign permission forms) and a giant story book.
After all this, I finally read my story to a group of children who were shopping in the store.
I went home clutching a goody bag of soft toys and a fistful of Disney Store vouchers. I felt quite a celebrity and couldn’t wait to watch my recording of Central News.
But my TV appearance was short, very short. Either my fears that I was spouting rubbish during the interview were true or everything else going on in the Central TV area that day was much more interesting! They showed a shot of Judith presenting my certificate and then a close up of the certificate and that was it. Neither of us was shown speaking – which in my case was probably just as well …
As for the press, there’s been nothing in the local paper yet despite the length of time the photographer spent with us.
BUT I have been sent some of the pictures taken by the PR company’s photographer AND I have got the platform of this blog to display them. So forgive me for indulging in a little celebrity showing off!