Monday 26 July 2010

I'm gonna be a star!

Well, maybe not a star. But I'm going to have my 15 minutes of fame. Well, probably not 15 minutes, more like 2 minutes if I'm lucky. But it's fame, nonetheless!

There's a documentary being made in Canada by Force Four Entertainment about Canadian Coronation Street fans. It's going to be called (as far as I know at this point) "Corrie Crazy" and it's going to be on CBC on December 9 in honour of Corrie's 50th anniversary on that date. I was asked to participate in it along with a few other people I know in various locations in Canada. This is mainly my story along with input from two other participants.

Why me? They liked that I met my fiance in a Coronation Street chat room. He lives in Salford, about 2 miles from Granada Studios, and I live in Canada. We met through a mutual friend, someone he knew through the heavy metal communities online. She was into the metal scene, as he is, as well as a regular in the Corrie chat room. Being British, being into metal music and horror movies, and also liking Coronation Street was also part of the appeal because he's not your stereotypical fan. But it was the "love connection" through Corrie that they really wanted.

Since they were going to be in Manchester anyway, filming at Granada Studios, they also filmed him in his flat, interviewing him and then filming us chatting on the webcam. My turn would come but first, June 30 was his big day and in  his own words...

"One minute I was at peace with the World, birds were singing, I was reclined on my chair sipping coke and good music was surrounding my head. But suddenly I was thrust in to turmoil as a film crew from CBC burst in to the room and cast my moment of serenity in to chaos. My (recently tidied) flat was now strewn with cables and awash with spotlights while the sound engineer tried to stuff a microphone up my tee shirt. Did I complain? Not at all because now I was in my element; at the centre of attention and preparing to perform.

Okay, I wasn't going to be strutting on stage with my electric guitar (oh I miss the old days) but I *was* going to be interviewed for the Corrie Crazy documentary due to be screened in Canada later this year. Recounting how I first met my Canadian fiancée Diane in a Corrie chatroom online and how our mutual appreciation of this grand old British soap brought us together. Hopefully I didn't make too much of an idiot of myself as I fumbled through the questions set to me by the director Eunice, but if I did then so be it. That's what being a public spectacle is all about.

But it wasn't all Corrie, they asked me about other things too. My love for heavy metal music, my ventures in to Internet Radio podcasting and why, do I think, does Coronation Street and the video nasties in my video library share a space in my heart? These are questions that Sigmund Freud would be writing an entire thesis about if he were still with us today. Me, I can't answer any of these questions but I did do rather well with the trivia question Eunice asked me during the interview.

A great afternoon, darn nice people and a possible shimmer of stardom on Canadian telly for a few minutes. Please, no autographs!

July 18 was my big day.

We scheduled a Corrie ping (a get together of corrie fans, ours, the Downeast Streeters, is more like a fan club) to fit in with the film crew's schedule and they arrived and got set up. It was pretty good, too, though they had a microphone on me and one other guy all through it. That means be careful what you say! Oh, and please take it off while I nip to the loo! There are some things you don't need to hear!

Those of us who were doing things for the ping, like the quiz or a chat about the show, sometimes had to redo it for the cameras, for a different angle or so they could catch it properly and we had to get the crowd to repeat their reaction. We didn't have any trouble with our enthusiastic fans! It's quite interesting to see the crew work. We had a sound guy, Joe, and a camera guy, Steve, and a director, Eunice and they were all great, very patient and very professional!

After the ping, the crew came to my apartment. What a palaver that was and it was utter chaos with equipment and cables everywhere! They have to move furniture around and "dress" the views behind the camera so it looks balanced, they had to arrange the lights and keep my curtains closed so the light would be more even I guess. There was a sound man, Joe, and a camera man, Steve, and the director, Eunice. I had to change my top a few times as I couldn't wear the same thing I had on at the ping and the interview was to be a different top than the one I was wearing when they filmed me on my fiance, Graham's webcam since we were then going to shoot my side of that same conversation. Everything had to match so some little old lady from the middle of nowhere wouldn't call up the CBC and complain.

The interview itself was ok. I was a little nervous but not too much. I was more worried about prattling on a bit but if I did, or if I stumbled on words, they just restarted. The director sat right beside the camera so I was looking at her all the time, not into the camera and I had to try not to look around the room as I was speaking, too. We talked about how Graham and I met and fell in love, which was one of the main focuses of my bit in the doc, I think. We also talked about the Corrie scene in Halifax, and my involvement in it. She gave me some trivia to answer and got me to pose a question as well.

We then went to the webcam and went through the conversations we'd done a few weeks ago. They sent us a transcript to go by. That was repeated several times to get different angles and some with Graham wearing his glasses and some without because they couldn't remember if he was wearing them when they filmed his side of the conversation.

It was a very warm day but for most of the time it wasn't too hot in my apartment. They did leave my fan on low as it was very quiet but by the end of the time they were there, it was getting pretty warm. I'd say they were there almost 3 hours by the time they packed up and reset my apartment.

That's it for my part though Eunice will want some photos of Halifax pings from the past as well so I'll have to dig out some old disks! Here's a photo of Steve, Eunice and Joe giving me the Horns Up as they were leaving!

Another woman that I know through the online Corrie community, Deborah Cyr, was interviewed a few days before I was. Why Deborah? She won the #1 Corrie fan in Canada contest last year so they wanted to know about her experiences. She had three different days where she was filmed. They caught up with her at the British Isles show, at her house and they also filmed at a ping in Toronto that she helped organize. She was quite nervous for her interview, she said.

Canadian television personality, Debbie Travis, is going to be the host/presenter of the show and she met up with Deborah at the British Isles show. Deborah recalls "Debbie Travis tapped me on the shoulder and asked if she could join Canada's # 1 fan in line to meet Becky and Sean. Next thing I looked and there were 100's of flashes going off, for Debbie of course. It was crazy, but a lot of fun." Filming at her house on a very hot July day was not the most comfortable, to say the least, but she said there were many retakes. She was nervous and what she wanted to say didn't always come out right, not to her satisfaction. (I'm sure you were way better than you think, Deb!) Here's Deborah with her husband, Al, and Debbie Travis (in the middle) at the "Brit" show and she has more pictures from the ping here.

The crew were pretty busy over the last few weeks, filming in the UK at Granada Studios, in Toronto, Halifax and in Ottawa. They also filmed a fellow Downeast Streeter, Mark Grant on board his ship. Why Mark? They were intrigued that he was a sailor in the Canadian Navy. They want to show that Corrie fans cover a wide variety of ages and cultures and that men like the show too! Being able to film on board a ship makes for an interesting segment, as well! Mark kindly wrote about his experiences at length so I've given that it's own blog post here.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about our experiences contributing to making the Corrie Crazy documentary. See you in December on screen!


Deborah said...

Great write up Diane. I'm looking forward to the show now, wondering exactly what gets put in.

Anonymous said...

Just watched the documentary and really enjoyed it. Only regret, they should of interviewd more of us old timers who've been there since day one! We luv the newcomers but some of us have watched since the late 70's in Ottawa and CBC would of got a more "real" input as far as the best shows that were upto when Mike Baldwin died...after that it has been too much fluff and not enough everyday ale and gossip..:) Again, enjoyed Deb's doc and thanks only if we could be on par as far as time frame regarding each and every episode. PS....Anyone know of a Corrie meeting place in a pub hopefully and or a fan club in Ottawa.

Cheers to the "street"...may it live on for another 50.

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