Monday 26 July 2010

Real Men DO watch Coronation Street!

In the previous post about mine, Graham and Deborah's experiences filming our bits of the upcoming documentary about Coronation Street,  I told you that there was a third mate of mine, Mark Grant, who had a day of filming while on board the HMCS Fredericton. Mark is in the Canadian Navy and hosted the crew and documentary's host,  Canadian tv personality Debbie Travis. He has written about his experiences and they are so interesting, I thought they deserved their own post! Here, then, is Mark's day with the Corrie Crazy crew (seen here below):

Well the film shoot is finished. It was a long day, and a very rewarding day. It all started at 9am, when I met the film crew at their hotel to escort them to the Dockyard, and to HMCS FREDERICTON, where we would be filming for the day. I was also introduced to the remainder of the gang that I would be working with the rest of the day, Tim (the local Director), Raquel (Make Up), Dan (Still Photographer) and of course Debbie Travis, the host of the show. I had already met Eunice (the director), Steve (camera) and Joe (sound), the previous Sunday, during the filming of the DownEast Streeters Pingfest.

Once onboard the Fredericton, there was a safety brief for cast and crew, and then a "Welcome Onboard" brief to all by the Commanding Officer, Commander Zorz, and the ship's Coxswain Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Rasmussen. After this, the crew set up the first location shoots of the day,on the Bridge. Once the setup was complete, plus some touch ups with Debbie's makeup, and the patting of my face to get rid of the shininess, (I was a little nervous) we were ready to film our first scenes.

I was to be performing my regular duties as a Naval Communicator on the bridge, talking to another unit via the radio, when Debbie surprises me on the bridge. We did take after take, so that the scene was just right. A few of the takes were interrupted by the ship Public Address system making announcements, thus that take had to be done again. Since the crew were only using one camera, several  takes had to be done of the same scene so that different angles could be achieved. It made the filming of this one scene take an hour to shoot,  and will likely be only 30 seconds or less when it is edited into the show.

Our next scene was suppose to be outside, but typical Nova Scotia weather was not going to cooperate for this shoot, and it was raining, and hard. Luckily, there were plenty of scenes to shoot inside the ship,
and we could wait for an opportunity to shoot them later. So it was off to shoot several scenes of Debbie and myself, walking and talking in the corridors of the ship, which are called flats. Now, to get the crew's equipment to all of these locations through out the ship it meant that the crew had to lug this equipment up and down several steep ladders, which was quite challenging for people that are not used to going up
and down these ladders. It was accomplished without breaking any of their equipment.

There were lots of takes shot of Debbie and I walking up and down the flats, chatting away about Corrie. She was telling me of  her experiences about a month ago filming scenes for the show on the set of Coronation Street. She told me about a couple of spoilers that will be happening for the 50th anniversary, which should be very good....that's all I'm going to say, but stayed tuned, it's going to be exciting! Once again, the shots were at various angles, even one of us popping our heads up through a hatch, and at feet level. I'm looking forward to see how these shots turn out in the final product.

At this point in the day's shoot, it was lunch time. The ship treated  the crew and cast to a wonderful lunch. I had a chance to have a good chat with Debbie and Eunice during our meal. We chatted aboutDebbie's current and past projects and she was very interested in life onboard a navy ship as well as my love of Corrie.

Debbie Travis was very friendly, very down to earth, and made me feel very at ease. Throughout our visit to the ship, many fans of Corrie and of Debbie Travis came forward asking for autographs. She was most accommodating to all of these requests, and stopped to chat with all of them. During our lunch break, the weather was checked numerous times to see if we could catch a break and be able to get the outside shots, but to no avail. The weather would not cooperate, although it did stop raining for about 5 minutes. We thought we would be able to get the shots in, but no, it started to pour again.

The next phase of shooting began after our lunch was over. We all moved the crew and equipment to the Junior Ranks Mess. This phase included Debbie, myself and Corrie fans from the crew of the ship. The setup was to show Debbie and myself watching an episode of Corrie with the crew. Once again, many takes were shot to get all of the angles that would be need to go into the final take. It meant doing the same thing over and over again. Then after this was finished, we had an informal discussion with 3 of the crew about life onboard a ship and how they are able to watch Corrie while the ship is away from Halifax. The most common way was to pick it up on the satellite TV system that each ship has onboard but also, some relatives send copies of the show to their family members while they are away.

One of the funnier moments happened during this informal chat, when Debbie asked a couple of the young guys "if they watched Corrie because of the hot young girls that are on the show". One of the guys promptly responded that he couldn't answer that question, because he was married, all the while showing everyone his wedding ring. While in the Junior Ranks Mess, I also met up with the son of one of the DownEast Streeters' most regular Pingers who, usually every summer, makes a special trip from out of province to attend our Summer Pingfest. We had a great discussion about Corrie and our last Ping.

(Note from the blog owner. That man's mother is Katherine Burgess who was at the very first Halifax ping in 1996. I met her at that ping and I have even attended her son's wedding! She became a minister a couple of years ago and she's going to marry Graham and I when the time comes! Back to Mark....)

By the time that we had finished with the Mess shots, the only thing that was left were those shoots outside.  Mother Nature decided to finally cooperate with the shoot. The clouds cleared and sun came out, so it was off to the Flag Deck for the final shots of the day.

This is were Debbie Travis got her hands dirty, so to speak. These are the shots were she helped me with a flag hoist. For those who aren't familiar with this procedure, it is where several flags are connected  together, and raised up the halyards (a halyard is a line that flags are hoisted up on naval ships). We had fun with this but we had to do this several times, with  both close-ups of the flags being pulled out of the flag locker, to wide shots of Debbie raising the flags. I'm not going to tell you what the flags spell, but they do spell something special, and will be revealed on the documentary so you will have to tune in to find out what it spells.

The final shot of the day involved just Debbie Travis, and will actually be the first shot of this segment of the documentary. It is one of Debbie Travis introducing the segment with the tagline "Do real men watch Corrie". I will go on record and say emphatically YES!!.

This concluded the Corrie film shoot for the day, and it was 5pm! It was a great day; I had a wonderful time filming this segment for the "Corrie Crazy" documentary, and can't wait to see the final show when it airs in December. It has given me a greater appreciation of the making of a TV show, and how much hard work goes into its production. The amount of  filming that is necessary to shoot just to be able to put together a segment that will be about 5 mins in length when it goes to air is tremendous.

I can't say enough about the crew and cast, who were able to put me at ease, and I hope were able to get the best out of me for the show. Debbie Travis was wonderful to work with too; she also put me at ease by being so down to earth and friendly. I am glad that I was given the opportunity to do this, it was a once in a lifetime experience. Yes, I would do it again, in a heartbeat! Many thanks to everyone involved, in making it a truly memorable day.


Thanks for telling us about your day, Mark! I agree, it was a fantastic experience to be part of making this documentary. I can't wait to see it in December as well! December 9, everyone...Mark your Calendars!


Tracey Harvie said...

Bravo! Sounds wonderful can't wait to watch the doc!

Deborah said...

Great write up. Corrie Crazy could do with being longer than an hour. I could watch a whole hour with your story.

I met Debbie at the British show and she came to our ping...I agree she was wonderful and so were the cast.

Tvor said...

I'm a little peeved that we didn't get to meet her at our ping and she was filming an hour away in the province for her new series too! Can't have everything though :)

Anonymous said...

Crazy about Coro, how wonderful! I remember soon after we came to England, having lived in Nova Scotia, we saw the very forst episode of Coro. We just couldn't believe it! There was Ena Sharples, Martha Longhurst, and Ken Barlow was just a lad. It was addictive. A real insight for a Canadian family!

Tvor said...

Lynn, yes it's very addictive!

Glenda Young said...

Katherine Burgess is marrying you both? Oh how wonderful!! I didn't know!!!

Tvor said...

Yes Katherine is going to marry us. Another Corrie connection!

Mark Daye said...

Thanks for the great post. We also took part in this documentary in Toronto. Can't wait to see it!

Katherine said...

I am, indeed, going to officiate at Di and Graham's wedding. I can't wait! We first met through RATUCS, which is a Coronation Street group that has been around forever. Then we went to the first Ping in Halifax, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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