What do farmers think of the Olympics?

After last week’s look at National Hospitality Houses more Headstarters are taking on Olympic themed missions today, courtesy of Benji Lanyado. Maddie, Bianca and Ros are heading into Kent to find out whether the Olympics has made it into rural England, while Claudia & Kim are going to spend the day reviewing the Olympic Cultural Festival and deciding whether, it’s really adding anything to London’s Games.

SMJ’s out to review National Hospitality Houses in London

National hospitality house have sprung up all over London. They seem to be a weird mix of tourism promotion, boozing and art – we sent the SMJs out at 9am this morning with £80 and an I-pad to find out what the deal is. They will be blogging what they find out at 5pm. I’ve tried to cobble together a list of the houses here. Note: there is a charge for some of these, most are open till 10pm – some later. Do a bit more research before making a visit.

Holland, Holland Heineken House,  Alexandra Palace/Alexandra Park, N22 7AY

Trinidad & Tobago, Trinbago Village, Tricycle Theatre. Killburn, NW6 7JR

Kings Cross/Angel
Ireland, The Big Chill House, Kings Cross N1 9NL
New Zealand, Kiwi House, Central St Martins, Granary Square, Kings Cross, N1C 4AA
Czech Republic, Czech House, Business Design Centre, Islington, N1 0QH

Knightsbridge/Kensington/Hyde Park Corner
Korea, Korea House Royal Thames Yacht Club, SW1X 7LF
Africa, Africa House of Nations, Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens, SW7 5EW
Russia, Sochi Park + Russia Park Kensington Gardens SW7 5EW
Romania, Romania House, 30 Pavilion Road, Knightsbridge, SW1X 0HJ
Serbia, Events at the Serbian Embassy, SW1X 8QB
Japan, Japan House, Royal Aeronautical Society 4 Hamilton Place, W1J 7BQ

Italy Casa Italia Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, SW1P 3EE
Georgia, Georgia House, 45 Milbank, SW1P

Waterloo Bridge
South Africa South Africa House Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer Southbank Centre SE1 8XX
China The China House Waldorf Hilton, WC2B 4DD
Brazil Casa Brasil, Somerset House WC2R 1LA

Tower Bridge/London Bridge/Bank
Denmark, Imagination Denmark St Katharine’s dock E1W 1LA
Austria, Austria House Trinity House, EC3N 4DH
Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea South Pacific House St Kattharine’s Dock E1W 1LA
France France House, Old Billingsgate Market, EC3R 6
Switzerland, Switzerland House Glaziers Hall, SE1 9DD

Germany, Deutsches Haus Fan Fest, Museum of Docklands, Limehouse, E14 4A

North Greenwich Arena
Jamaica, Jamaica House, 02 Arena

Belgium, Belgium House, Inner Temple, EC4Y 7HL
Monaco, Maison de Monaco, Haymarket, SW1Y 4DQ
Slovakia, Slovakia House, 80 Haymarket SW1Y

Nigeria, Nigeria House, Theatre Royal Stratford East, E15 1BN
Kenya, Kenya House, East Thames, Stratford, E15 4PH

walthamstow urban classics

The event that i am going to review is urban classics which took place in walthamstow, east london on july the 5th 2012. the event was 1 of 6 that was held in walthamstow which was part of the big 6 waltham forest events. the event that i went to was the last one of 6 so and i feel that it was very good, there were many artists there such as; skepta, devlin, ed sheran and fazer from N-Dubz. they were all accompanied by the bbc orchestra. i feel that the lay out of the event was very good as it was spacious and everything was set out in different areas but it was all within nice walking distance. the only thing i feel that let them down was not sorting out the mics and in ear technical gear for example when acts such as Ms. Dynamite was singing she was asking for the in ear mics to be turned up as she couldn’t hear herself. apart from that i feel the event was a success and i really enjoyed it.


My Leadership Project: Review

I took the leading role in directing and co-producing a one minute film about Kayo and his life as a young poet. Here is the finished work:

The original idea for this film was to shoot it all in one cut in a 360° view. Below is an example of a one shot video:

However, I had to slightly change the idea of the film as the poem I chose to use was longer than one minute. I decided to use extracts from the poem instead and to make the film a short interview/documentary. But one thing we did keep – the 360° view which I was really happy about as I wanted to experiment with that kind of style.

I enjoyed working with Kayo and trying to generate ideas for the film. I actually found directing the shoot quite difficult as I’m not used to lead roles and have never really directed before. I got some feedback from other people, during the shoot and in the editing studio and will take them all on board.

  • Interview techniques: work on getting better/more interesting answers from the interviewee
  • Check camera/sound settings are correct

I think I have been given useful feedback and they will definitely help me for future projects. I’ve learnt a lot about leadership, I’ve learnt that people rely on you heavily and that you’ve got to be quick in getting all the required information. A crew member was unsure of what her role was, I now know that we need to establish roles sooner. Planning the shoot went quite well but there was a big mistake – I didn’t have Kayo’s contact number! I managed to get it in the end, in time for the shoot. Having just his email address made the planning slower than it should have been.

If I was to do this differently for next time, I’d maybe think about doing the interview in a different style – maybe in one location instead of a couple of different locations.

Directing the Shoot

Arts Challenge: Review

I produced and directed a short documentary that captured the Two Nations event. Here is the finished work!

Directing was a big challenge for me, I’m not used to taking the lead role but I soon got comfortable in my role on the night of the event. I think we managed to get some shots that we wanted and we got on well as a team. However, we did lack communication as a team, there were times I was missing my team and I didn’t know where they wandered off to! Marie-Solange was our sound recordist but she wasn’t always around so I had to step in as the sound recordist at times. I need to improve on directing my team for next time.

I collected some feedback from the team, particularly from Eelyn, the executive producer, and Francis, the editor.

Constant Pictures – Technical Feedback from Two Nations Event


  • Remember to film the file name on the sound recorder every time you take a new shot.
  • Make sure the sound recorder is clear on camera, if it’s blurry, we can’t see the file name.
  • Cut/Action for camera and sound needs to be synchronised. Always do the following 3 x things:

1. Clap

2. Say file name

3. Record the File number on the WAV recorder

NB. if you forget, do it at the end – this is called an ‘end board’


  • Check focus on camera & keep checking!
  • Shutter speed to be in sync with lighting i.e. 25 / 50 / 75 / 100 etc [divisions of 25]
  • Make sure you use the right frame (25p)
  • Record at 48Kz on camera
  • White balance


  • Communication: tell the director where you’re going and vice versa.
  • Concentrate on action, e.g. Jasmine’s poem – cutaway to the audience at the end, not during the poem.
  • Check the shots the camera operator is getting – particularly before an interview


  • Check time stamp on sound recorder is correct.
  • Record some ‘atmos’
  • Record at 48Kz on Wav recorder

I learnt a lot while I was in the editing studio – following the above feedback makes editing a lot easier and faster. I did find this directing role to be useful in developing my confidence but I also felt it was a bit of a messy night, sort of disorganised. This is something that needs working on for my next project.

My Leadership Project: Planning

For my leadership project, I will be directing and co-producing a one minute film about Kayo, a young poet from London. I have a small team who will help to make this shoot a success.

Myself – Director/Co-producer

Sandy – Co-producer/Sound recordist

Muzzammil – Cameraman

Eelyn – Executive Producer

Sandy and I are working closely together in planning the shoot and I am talking a lot to Eelyn about my ideas. I will need to book the right camera and sound equipments from A New Direction and get them to the shoot safely.

I need to stay in contact with the team and keep them updated with the planning and schedule and I need to stay in contact with Kayo to find out his availability. I also need to find out more about Kayo’s poems and select one to use for the film. I will need to meet up with Kayo prior to the shoot in his home town as that is where the film will be based on.

I will know the project has worked if we manage to get all the shots within the allocated time, if everyone is still speaking to each other by the end of the day and if the edit is completed on time and in budget.

Planning the leadership project.

My leadership project will be the Two Nation Ident video. I will take the role of Producer and Co-Director which will involve me in developing creative ideas; working out the logistics; co-ordinating cast & crew; managing expenses & the shooting schedule and ensuring a safe shoot on location.

Other members of the team will include Constant Pictures crew:

Muzzammil – Director/Cameraman
Jonelle – Camera Assistant/Runner

I will also be managing a team of performers who will appear in the ident.

The Idea
We initially came up with an interesting idea for the Ident but to make it work we would have needed more than a day to edit and more than 30 seconds to tell the story. Instead we came up with the idea of a dancing flash-mob wearing flags from around the world.


  • To make this Ident work we will need help in finding the dancers in a short time frame.  The Headstart team have offered to help  find the dancers and will cover travel expenses for them.
  • As for the camera kit we will use Muzzammil’s kit on the day.
  • Also from the Producer’s side I need to be involved in mainly all the emails/calls circulating and make sure everyone knows their roles and where they need to be and at what time.

Measuring the success:

I will know if the project has worked if:

  • Everyone turns up on time and in the right location.
  • Keeping the shooting to the right schedule.
  • Health and Safety to all the dancers and filming crew.
  • The Ident is finished by the deadline given.
  • We have a successful screening.
Back-up Plan & Further Action-
My back up plan is for the weather. As we’re going to film in an open public square rain will be a danger for the dancers safety. Therefore there will be a ‘plan B’ of changing the location to somewhere under cover [Location B]. Also, if due to any security reasons we have to evacuate the area we’ll move to location B.

Leadership Role Review

Producing the Two Nations Ident was the first time for me working as a producer and I went through some difficulties before and after the shoot.

Firstly, the Director couldn’t travel to the location due to Oyster card problems so as a producer I bought him an new Oyster Card, which  delayed the shoot 15 minutes. Not only that but after arriving at the location I had found that I had mistakenly put the wrong location address on the call-sheet which meant that all the dancers were at the wrong place. After getting in touch with another crew member we were able to resolve the problem and start the shoot – but an hour late.

The shoot went just great with a brilliant atmosphere as the dancers gave their best at each performance which we filmed more than 10 times to get the best shot. However the crisis started again while dealing with their expenses, as none of them had travel receipts, but after discussion with the director it was sorted out.

I have enjoyed this experience even though I went through a lot of  issues because it showed me a different side to film making and it took me outside my comfort zone which is directing. It put me right in the spotlight in front of everyone. Here’s the results of our hard work:

Arts Challenge: Planning

For my arts challenge, I will be producing and directing a short documentary that captures the Two Nations event. Two Nations is an inquiry bringing together young Londoners from A New Direction’s Headstart programme to present an evening of poetry, debate and film asking Londoners who they want to win at the Olympics and why.

This short documentary project is for A New Direction, the company that is in charge of the Headstart programme. I have an action plan which will help me to make sure the night of the documenting goes smoothly.

[Click on the image to view enlarged version]

I have assembled a crew:

Myself – Director/Producer

Jonelle – Camerawoman

Marie-Solange – Sound Recordist

Winstan Whitter – Film Facilitator

Eelyn Lee – Executive Producer

Francis Morgan-Giles – Editor

There are a number of things that can go wrong such as people arriving late or not turning up and missing/wrong equipments. I will arrive earlier than the event start time to check everything/everyone is in place, if not, this means I will have some time to get things sorted before the event starts.

I need to find out the running schedule of the event which I will email A New Direction’s staff about.