Tag Archives: Leicester Square TV

How to get ahead in presenting…

28 Feb

Well its been a fantastic start to the year, and I’m really pleased to say that things have gone swimmingly. At the very start of 2012 I was lucky enough to do some live presenting work for the Visa International Women’s Artistic Gymnastics at the O2, in front of 6000 people (wow!), and I’ve also been part of the Olympics and Met Police’s Forward Defensive exercise which you may have seen on the news last week in preparation for the games ahead.

Well, I’m keeping my options open, exploring as many different types of opportunities as possible to make sure I find where my niche really is, and where I can make a difference as a presenter. Although I’ve had some great opportunities so far, these don’t mean anything unless I can showcase my talent to all the future producers and production companies who are looking for the next person to fill your daytime / entertainment slots.

Filming in the Everyman Cinema

So you may have seen on my previous post at the start of February I was very pro-active and decided to collect together my footage from 2011 and put in on show to the world. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing all the great people I’ve been lucky enough to interview thus far, I’ve had a blast and due to all the excitement of it, I’m pretty sure that with all the best intentions I was slightly trying to run before I could walk.

What do I mean by this? Well, my advice is although your instinct is good, having only been in the field of presenting for less than a year, my understanding of the need of the television industry is not as experienced as people who have worked in it for a good number of years and are top of their game.

The people I’m talking about here are my mentors of sorts, The Presenters Studio.

This company helps turn aspiring presenters into confident and working presenters, not by magic, but by invaluable and inspiring guidance. My very first presenting taster tape was created by The Presenters Studio and was my biggest asset last year. It allowed me to surpass all the other showreels sent to Leicester Square TV and get a phone call and a meeting the next day and ultimately land the job!

Throughout the year I’ve been lucky enough to stay in touch with Gareth and Leon, the founders of The Presenters Studio and they’ve been wonderful in supporting what I’ve been doing to date, but also in providing further guidance and recommendations.

So, this is where we are now, having sent my latest showreel to them, they were very straight down the line with what did and didn’t work. Yes, I have had a lot of work to showcase from the last year, but it wasn’t collated together in an engaging and stand out way.

One year on, my brand has evolved, my style in presenting has become much more confident and experienced and I need to get myself to the next level. Cue taster tape 2. Last week, I spent a gloriously sunny day re-shooting on location a brand new taster tape which will not only incorporate all my best work from the last year, but will hopefully help me to get to the next level by presenting it in a way which is engaging and once again will stand out from the rest of the pile.

Getting your ammunition right is the key to success and investing in yourself is the best investment you’ll ever make, so as you can

Presenting and driving isn't as easy as it looks...

see from some of these pictures attached, working with the best will, fingers crossed, give me a new taster tape to die for! As we all know, I love film, chatting about it, writing about it and gossiping about it, so what better setting than to be based in a cinema! With the help of the wonderful Everyman Cinema who sponsor my radio show http://www.facebook.com/filmfridayridgeradio we were able to invade the premises for one afternoon and provide a couple of presenting links that even Mark Kermode would be jealous of!

So there you have it, I’m sure when you see the finished product you’ll agree with me in saying that it was all worth it, and that you should never take criticism as a negative, but as a learning point, and you should most importantly work with the best if you want to be the best, and that’s what I’ve aimed to do.

Aspiring presenters, you should check out http://www.presenterstudio.com and get some valuable advice from the people who really know the industry inside out.

Thanks for reading.

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Leicester Square TV go viral with The Muppets!!

31 Jan

So the wonderful Leicester Square TV who let me schmooze with the A-Listers were at The Muppets press conference last week in London town and managed to capture a fantastic bit of banter from Kermit and Miss Piggy! And before you can say “Wakka Wakka” the blooming video’s gone viral, hitting platforms such as FOX and E! News! Great stuff, congratulations team, lets keep the good work up.

The Muppets Attack Fox News

A Big Night for kids TV at The Children’s BAFTA’s

30 Nov

Well last weekend was the star studded Childrens BAFTA’s Awards at the London Hilton Hotel on Park Lane. Leicester Square TV, including myself was there (in the world’s smallest press pen I might add! ) But never the less a great night – congratulations to all the winners, well deserved! Here are a few of the highlight videos where I’m lucky enough to interview the cream of the crop in children’s tv!

The Host of the evening Barney Harwood explains just how excited he is about Rentaghost!

Horrible History go all shy about being favourites to win an award – oh and eventually sing us a song! 

Ronnie Ancona talks about her love of pre school kids TV

Ted Robbins gets super excited about being at the Awards and his stint as a panto dame this December!

The Newsround Legend John Craven talks about the show’s honorary award

Tyger Drewe Honey tells us what’s coming up in Outnumbered

Peppa Pig wins a BAFTA and isn’t Harley Bird just the cutest! 

So there you have it, a fab night full of excellent talent all held in one big old hotel room!!! Hope you enjoyed the videos!

Oh Spielberg sometimes you just blow my mind…

13 Nov

So what does one do when they’re exhausted, overworked and feeling downright lazy? Well many of my lovely friends probably turn to some retail therapy, however I have to say I’m glad I head to the cinema. This weekend was no exception. Firstly lets get some admin out of the way…

Huge apologies in the first instance for my tardiness this month in terms of blogging. Following my fantastic stint at the London Film Festival, I’m afraid exhaustion and lack of money somewhat took over and I’ve been back to the daily grind trying to pull in some pennies. Having a rare day off like today, I’m happy to report that in the last week I’ve been lucky enough to watch not one but two fabulous films: The Help (Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain) and The Adventures of Tin Tin – The Secret of the Unicorn. So where does one begin? Well after that turkey of a film A Dangerous Method, which was my last review, I’m happy to report that I have some uplifting content for you – the Hollywood studios haven’t gone completely to pot, even if David Cronenberg does seemed to have stumbled into a very large pot hole with that latest offering…lets move swiftly on shall we?

THE HELP

Its the time of the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, and where the class divide is at its most evident we follow the story of a tenacious young female writer (“Skeeter” – Emma Stone) as the unconventional middle class Jacksonville daughter who sees straight through the Stepford lifestyles of her friends and finds wonderful compassion in the stories of those who help make the households the show homes that these women and their families live in. Convincing the black community of maids to start telling their stories, she unveils the mis treatment, inequality and narrow mindedness of not only women but men in that period of time.

This film for me sits a staple piece of fantastic storytelling – much like The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption. It made me laugh, made me cry and most importantly it made me learn from the film. I would like to class it as one of those films which you would quite happily keep in your collection and refer back to year upon year for a pleasant watch with great performances and a morality tale for the last century.

The performances as I previously mentioned are wonderful, Emma Stone leads the pack with her ugly duckling heroine Skeeter who is not afraid to be who she really is and cross boundaries to allow other people to try and live a better life. I couldn’t think of a better actress than Stone to play this part. We also have the almost unrecognisable Jessica Chastain as Ceelia Foote, the outcast ‘hussy’ who really puts dumb blonde on another level. Her versatility in her roles demonstrates her to be one of the most exciting new actresses in Hollywood at the moment. The one who really stands out for me however, is Bryce Dallas Howard who plays the ‘villain’ of the piece Hilly Holbrook. So desperate to be the perfect wife she reminds you of the prettiest but meanest girl in school with her posse of dimwitted followers at her feet. Howard expertly portrays this character with such a fine balance that audiences really begin to hate everything she is and stands for (she throws her own mother ‘Sissy Spacek’ into a nursing home for laughing at her!) but at the same time you can’t help but warm to her lack of awareness and education and although her comeuppance is comedic, it still brings forth the overall messages of the film.

A wonderful film, great performances and if you haven’t yet read the book, I’m pleased to say that its not the be all and end all, you can still enjoy the film regardless and if you’re anything like me, make sure you bring a box of tissues for the second half of the film – its a weepy!

THE ADVENTURES OF TIN TIN – THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN

Where do I begin with this one? Well lets start with a bold statement – this film hosts possibly the best animation in a film I have ever seen!!! There you go, how d’you like them apples?! From start to finish I was gripped. I usually don’t like 3D movies a hell of a lot, my eyes start to hurt and I hate how the glasses make the screen just that tad darker. But never the less, I can safely say that I was lost with this film. Lost in a fantasy world where Indiana Jones meets Pirates of the Caribbean and everything you’d want from a great family film adventure was handed to you on a plate… Oh if only it was real…wait a minute, it is isn’t it? I certainly got lost for a good few moments forgetting that what I was watching was an animation. Although different in form, whatever hype there was around the skills of Avatar, here Spielberg blows Cameron out of the water!!!

So the story follows the journalist Tin Tin (Jamie Bell), who by buying a model of a 16th Century boat (as you do) lands himself in the middle of an age old rivalry between a pirate (of course) and a Captain Haddock – (Andy Serkis, pure genius). On his quest to uncover the story of this rivalry and inevitable hoard of treasure, we follow Tin Tin’s journey around the seven seas as he pieces together the puzzle.

The detail in the animation is just phenomenal, my particular highlights are when one scene merges into the next and like a wave magicians wand we are transported to a flashback of a land far and wide! Now there are a few minor faults, it does take just a pinch too long to get going in the beginning, but you’ll quickly forgive that. This film is smart, funny, and the chase scene towards the end is just exquisite. Like the Goonies is for me now, if I was ten years old, this would be the film I would take through with me to adulthood as my keepsake. Its just an absolute gem, and without giving too much away I would urge you to see it on the big screen before it’s too late.

Oh and just one last comment – its quite clear from this film, that Tin Tin wouldn’t be half as famous as he is if it wasn’t for his genius dog Snowy! Why can’t all pets be that clever!!

Finally to help you on your way to the cinema, here’s my LSQTV colleague Michael Kern getting all the film’s gossip at the premiere of Tin Tin last month…enjoy!!

 

 

David Cronenberg’s Dangerous Disaster

26 Oct

So the end of the festival is imminent. As of Monday my personal work there was done. It was a fantastic festival – huge highs and not so many lows. Things were going almost perfectly until I watched A Dangerous Method. Having been routing for Keira Knightley to finally stick her two fingers up at audiences who think she’s nothing more than a pretty face, I would have thought taking on such a daring role as Sabina Speilrein in David Cronenberg’s (The Fly) A Dangerous Method would finally prove the world wrong. Oh no, instead how wrong Cronenberg must have been to have thought she could have taken on this role in the first place. Unfortunately along with Cronenberg’s made for TV movie styling of the film, her performance was, for me the most problematic of this overall awful film. However having left the screening with some people liking not only the film itself but her performance, I decided to scour the internet to read other reviews (from Venice) on the film – luckily I found I was not alone in my sentiments.

This particular blog  written by Thomas Grimshaw from Shooting People’s blog actually took the words right out of my mouth, so I thought rather than ramble on and double up on inefficient workload, I would, in this particular instance, just point you in the direction of his wise words instead. Such a shame – I really was hoping for more with this film – but here you go…

Thomas Grimshaw ask’s David Cronenberg what the christ went wrong?! 

When it was announced that David Cronenberg was to direct the screen adaptation of Christopher Hampton’s play The Talking Cure, there was a palpable buzz in the air. Given Cronenberg’s history of producing idiosyncratic and rigorously intellectual films with a taste for the psychoanalytic, the idea that he was to venture forth into the combative relationship between Freud and Jung was a tantalisingly sexy prospect. Set in turn of the century Vienna, A Dangerous Method details the relationship between psychoanalysists Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and a disturbed young woman named Sabina, who will later become the renowned female psychoanalysist Sabina Speilrein. When Jung begins an affair with the girl, the fallout ruptures the relationship between the two men and sets them both on different ideological paths; Freud in favour of a treatment rooted in scientific method whilst Jung drifts towards a counsel of hypothetical mysticism.

Given all we know about the film there was hope of this giving rise to a jamboree of sexual peccadilloes, strained Germanic accents, death and an air of haughty perversion.  The question that must be asked then, is, what in Christ’s name went wrong? The fact that I was unable to determine whether this was in fact a comedy or not seems as good a place to start as any. Admittedly I laughed: lots in fact, but the stoic, hardened faces of its cast whilst delivering its diluted crib-notes on psychoanalysis and shamanism seemed at odds with the bountiful laughter occurring around me.  That said, Cronenberg has always garnished even his most disturbing work with a perverse sense of humour, however if that same fact applies to A Dangerous Method it would appear that Cronenberg’s idea of comedy has regressed to that of a child learning about the birds and the bees.  The other fairly major stumbling block is that for a film so concerned with the concept of sex, is how unbelievably impotent the whole affair feels. Apart from Sabina getting herself royally spanked by an over eager Jung, the film barely visualises the topic that get Freud and Jung all hot and heavy in the first place, instead restricting it to the world of musty drawing rooms where the smell of sex is nowhere near as potent as the smoke emanating from Freud’s phallic cigar.

Despite the initial guffaws that surrounded the casting of Nordic cave-dweller Viggo Mortensen as the elderly, bearded Freud, he’s actually one of the only actors to leave the film with their dignity intact, instead he seemingly has a blast subverting everyone’s expectations by delivering every line with a cock of the head and an ironic twinkle in his eye. Keira Knightley as Sabina fares much worse, when we first see her; screaming and contorting her body with such vigorous abandon she seems in fear of wrenching the whole film from its sprockets and cart-wheeling off down the road with it. Strangely though it’s Michael Fassbinder as the central figure Jung who comes off worst. Although not as violently grating as Knightley, at least the screen is somewhat illuminated by her schizophrenic energy, with Fassbinder the film comes to a stop; not so much a performance but a black hole of inertia that threatens to entropy everything in its path. After his charismatic turn in Shame it really is profoundly stunning that the man has managed to produce a performance of such claustrophobic tedium.  Finally, there is Vincent Cassel whose only purpose seems to be to demonstrate the compulsive, hedonistic pleasure principle (perfect casting) of Freud’s most famous concept. We know this because he uses cocaine and talks about his many, many mistresses; he couldn’t be more obvious if he had ‘id’ branded across his forehead. At least he has the decency to disappear within the first half an hour.

It really is incredibly perplexing how awful this film is at times, Cronenberg has definitely had his misfires over the years, but it’s certainly rare for a director of such regard to sink to such amateurish depths within only a short space of time, although History of Violence was serviceable; displaying moments of wit and genuine danger, Eastern Promises heralded a dramatic downturn in his talents and with A Dangerous Method now in tow the future looks less than promising. With his next film also on the horizon; an adaptation of Don Delilo’s Cosmopolis, we can only hope that the safety net of familiar postmodernist territory can shield him from the looming sense of castration that effectively killed off the careers of Brian de Palma and Paul Verehoven.

BFI London Film Festival – Two doses of Gorgeous George – The Ides of March and The Decendents

21 Oct

I would have been annoyed if George Clooney did a John C Reilly and didn’t turn up to a festival which showcased not one but two

of his films, but luckily he didn’t disappoint. In fact, he over delivered. Having rushed from the screening of  the Clooney directed film The Ides of March to the press conference, I was so happy to find we weren’t only having a press conference with the man himself but also the incredibly talented Philip Seymour Hoffman and Evan Rachel Wood. However, I seem to have been the only member of the press attending who noticed that this Oscar winner and Indie darling were also in the room as the rest of the audience seemed (if they managed to get a question in – which I unfortunately did not get the chance to) to only be able to direct their questions to Gorgeous George. One particularly cringe moment was (apart from the double question asking George’s view on the Irish upcoming elections – please we’re here to talk film!!) when a member of the press clearly forgot the other actors names and addressed these Hollywood heavyweights as ‘members of the panel’ As Steve McQueen put it – SHAME!! These actions mirrored those in the film 360 and had an effect on the rest of us as Philip Seymour Hoffman was so annoyed that he was hardly addressed in this press conference that he flew in especially for, that he refused to do any press on the red carpet later that evening – well done journo!

Anyway – Back to the films, lets start with the big one – The Ides of March

The Ides of March

A political thriller – not something that I would normally be desperate to see in the cinema – more of a DVD movie for me. However I have to say that this film is going to be a keeper, I’m glad I saw it on the big screen as I could watch it intently without distraction and it’s probably a type of film with the ‘stay appeal’ which means its most likely going to end up on people’s DVD shelves for years to come as a ‘go-to’ movie. I really enjoyed this, lead by the sickening talented Ryan Gosling, the awards buzz which surrounds this film is very much earned. Its smart, sassy, intelligent and has a brilliant level of humour which comes just at the right time to break up scenes containing strong dramatic tension. Its cast is a goldmine of talent: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei – you know you’re onto a winner when you’ve got them on board.

The film looks at the inner working of a campaign. The media minds and the politics behind the politics – is nice guy Mike Morris (Clooney) really that nice? Can Gosling be bought out by the opposing side? And what does loyalty in this situation really mean. It’s a game of chess expertly directed by Clooney (who sees his twilight years behind the camera rather in front) who has offered to the table a feast of top class acting, engaging dialogue and a story full of game players and no winners. It for me brings the resurgence of great political films back to the silver screen – proving that we may have had a thirty year gap of missing good films of this subject, but with a film like The Ides of March, it was most definitely worth the wait.

The Descendents

I like Hawaii. I like the idea of it, that it represents happiness and people throwing their cares away as they play lazy on the beach as the sun shines brightly above them. As we see from Alexander Payne’s (About Schmidt, Sideways) offering, he immediately focuses on the non tourist/commercial view of Hawaii and what its like to be living there – in the real world. This glimpse is not the main focus, in fact this story is one of family George Clooney’s character’s family, and the few days they take to come to terms with the untimely death of his wife following a boating accident. I think this film will divide audiences depending on your own personal experiences with grief, and handling such situations.

Although I enjoyed the film – it has some brilliant humour which will get you laughing till you cry – having gone through quite a similar situation in my own life, I found the characters slightly ridiculous, farcical and unemotional. Next to me in the cinema was my colleague Rosanna, who also went through similar circumstances, but unlike myself, dealt with her situation in the same manner as the family in the film, so found it hilarious and incredibly touching and moving. Two very different opinions, neither of which criticised the mechanics of the film, its well written, clever, well cast and entertaining. The content however may leave audiences divided in terms of how they view the story and how sympathetic they feel towards the characters and situation.

So there you have it folks – two very different films which will appeal to two very different audiences. Both very much worth a watch and proving that at the ‘tender age’ of 5o, Mr Clooney both on and off-screen still has the charisma and charm to keep him at the top of his game for many years to come.

BFI Day 6 – We Need to Talk About Kevin – Women Be Warned this will put you off motherhood!

19 Oct

Not bonding with your child is one thing. Giving birth to Damien from the Omen is quite another! My favourite film of the festival so

far this expertly put together and acted film makes me proud that the director, crew, financing and lead actress are all British. I’m hearing award bells ringing left right and centre and and hoping its wipes the floor with the competition.

In a nutshell the story is of a mother – once free spirited, well travelled and with the world at her feet, finds later in life that she is pregnant. Once the child is born, despite best attempts, she cannot bond with it and through the years sinks lower and lower into depression over the fact that her child, Kevin, is one person to her and another to her husband. This isn’t as you’d expect from the trailer a film which focus’s solely on a Columbine esq shooting, it goes much deeper into the psyche of a child (hugely intelligent) and his unexplained resentment/torture towards his mother. The film is just punch after punch of heavyweight acting from Tilda Swinton (who was so passionate about the project that she spent five years with Lynne Ramsey trying to get this project off the ground) – and she will reap the rewards come Oscar time!

Ezra Miller who is the third actor to step into the shoes of Kevin, shows that he’s destined for big things following his performance. Intense, disturbing and like his character this hugely intelligent portrayal should put him as one of the kookiest members of the A-List pretty damn soon! The two younger Kevins should not go without a mention either, it’s a stroke of genius how Ramsey managed to get a three year old to look quite so damn psychotic by just playing ball!

John C. Reilly again brings a stellar performance as the blindsided husband who cant get to grips with Swinton’s exhaustion, frustration and ability to blame all errors on her child. If anything, in his mind it should be her that needs to be locked up not their son.

All in all this is an artistic film – adapted beautifully from the book which I can only say has inspired the film rather than provided a step by step structure for the finished product. Its not for the faint hearted and builds to a heart stopping climax. Truly a brilliant film with a fantastic director and a well formed cast.