May the force be with you…

When a company “stalks” your blog, alarm bells should ring…right? Flashbacks to my old school days, I approached this invitation with curiosity and slight suspicion whilst uttering Mr Sommerfield’s “stay safe online” motto. After a little research and some cyberstalking, I was transformed into a hysterical mess “Are you for real?”, “Say what?” and “Somebody pinch me“.

Being a theatre blogger, I am slowly getting used to being approached by theatre companies and event organisers as every invitation is a blessing. When Force-7 invited me to be part of the National Lottery Good Causes Network, including their Film Academy Day at Pinewood Studios and Induction Day Event at the BFI… I’ll let you guess what my RSVP was.

Like a school trip to a massive, metallic space station, our taxi left us with our mouths open and eyes wide at “the world’s most famous film stage”. Pinewood Studios was simply incredible. Covering “300 acres”, Pinewood Studios has “41 stages and backlots” with “formal gardens, fields, woodlands and two country houses”. Passing various film sets, avoiding crashing into directors in their buggies and vans with props, we all secretly hoped we would bump into “famous people”.

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Arriving at Camelot’s home ground, TV3 Studio, it was totally surreal. Like jumping into your television screen, we walked around the National Lottery’s set, admired the fancy colourful lighting, missed the beloved National Lottery ball machines, but met the mighty Camelot Broadcast Team, along with the Princess Production’s Series Producer Suzie Marsh and Presenter Anna Williamson. Willing to show us the ropes, we watched the team perform their magic of creating live television.

emma interview 2

Becoming rabbits stuck in headlights, we had the opportunity to interview Anna Williamson live on camera. Hastily volunteering, I sat on the red sofa with fear written on my forehead placards. Having dyslexia, reading words isn’t my strongest asset. Battling with the earpiece and listening to the voice of God counting in my ear, Anna calmed my nerves and reminded me to simply have a conversation. Watching the clip, I cringe at my face, hair(!), teeth and voice on camera, but what an experience! Top tip: Crossing your legs on camera makes your body appear slimmer!

emma interview

We also got down to business and created our National Lottery Good Causes promos for their social media channels. Working with fellow ambassadors, we were assigned to Lauren’s idea on voicing the great National Lottery funded theatre production, Dark Clouds Are Smouldering Into Red, in her hometown of Derby. Using green screen and teaming up with the fantastic Stuart Headlam (Digital Video Producer) in the editing suite, we created a fantastic sixty second promo, with the hashtag #Whatsyourstory, in hope young people will share their good news with the Good Causes channel. [Still awaiting final video]

The National Lottery raises £34 million each week for good causes. From Oscar-winning films and Olympic gold medallists to parks, art playhouses and charitable projects across the UK, the National Lottery funds something for everyone

National Lottery Good Causes, 2015


I thought the National Lottery’s main objective was to make “ordinary” people become “extraordinary” millionaires. I must admit I am not a huge fan of greed…call me jealous, but I became a bodyguard towards my blog. I guess I’ve failed my mission, but for a good reason. Listening to the Director of National Lottery Promotions Unit, Vicki Kennedy made me realise that the Lottery supports the Arts Council which funds many arts projects around the UK, including my beloved National Theatre, Royal Court and fringe productions too.

funding

Neglecting the Arts Council logo on many theatre visits, my observation skills are pretty appalling. I guess I am uneducated (and probably disinterested) with the subject of funding. Facts and figures are the killjoy to my creativity. Living in a world dictated by money, truth hurts. Without funding these theatre projects and arts events couldn’t go ahead. So perhaps it’s time for that slap in the face with a Lottery ticket and seeing the other side to that £2 coin.

Based in the BFI Stephen Street, the atmosphere was buzzing with the youth of today. It was clear all the crazy cool kids were invited – all wanting and willing to support the voice of “change”.

Danny Bowman presented his powerful short film about body dysmorphic disorder (which I never knew existed). His bravery shone as he was more interested in our stories than explaining his. Enveloped in calmness, I loved Clara Bacou‘s painting with watercolours. It was like receiving a therapy session. Steven Ward chatted to us about BoxClever who change the lives of many young people in Northern Ireland. By using sport, they encourage study, achievement, focus and play. Raving at the BFI, Prodigies of Nature blasted their sick beats and slick lyrics whilst explaining the The RecordShop (a recording studio for young artists). I am a huge fan of spoken word so listening to their frustrated, execution of words was like music to my ears.

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Meeting many inspirational people at the Induction Day Event, the National Lottery Good Causes persuaded a cheeky little mention on my blog. So here it is! Slaving away behind the scenes, the team do deserve the recognition. Next time you visit a venue, attend an arts event or applaud a theatre production, look out for this sign…

national lottery funded sign

…and remember who helped to support them financially. Let’s face it you need money to make a show. Money can’t buy you happiness…money doesn’t grow on trees…right?

Big thanks to Force-7 and the National Lottery Good Causes Team.

If you would like to also get involved with this amazing network, go ahead and tweet Force-7 or I can help you make contact.

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