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Making the Tutorfair TV Ad
January 25, 2016
We filmed our very first TV advert at Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate School (BCCCS) on Commercial Road, back in November 2015. Our ad will air in January, watch it below!
BCCCS is a Tutorfair Foundation partner school, The head teacher Nick Soar, kindly lent us an Art room, a Maths room, and their Library for filming. We also had some of BCCCS’s best drama students and teachers take part on the day, who are the stars of our TV ad!
Scene 1: The “Primary Class”
In my opinion this is the best scene in the Tutorfair TV ad, maybe because it was the most elaborate scene we filmed, the first scene we filmed and the opening scene in the ad!
Before 9am the Year 7 students had already been to hair and make-up (with Bella the make-up artist), taken their seats and practiced the scene a few times before filming! The girls and boys were all giggling and chatting away; the energy in the room was fantastic!
Isabella, the star of this scene, plays a student who has missed something in class.
After a few more trial runs, Mike the director calls out “Film rolling? OK, action!” Bringing home the reality that we were on a REAL film set! Very. Exciting.
The class teacher asks the class “How does Tommo feel about Charlie and Molly?” This question I later discovered, referred to the book called “Private Peaceful” that the students were reading for English Literature.
Isabella’s classmates all raise their hands to answer, whilst Isabella shows off her top acting skills and plays a student who feels a little left behind.
It’s surprisingly difficult to act without speaking, without overacting or under-acting, with all the lights shinning on you, a fluffy microphone boom above your head, and no less than 9 “grown-ups” standing behind the camera staring at you!
So we were all more than impressed with Isabella’s composure, relaxed attitude and expert drama skills, as she didn’t need much direction at all! #nailedit
Isabella is in fact one of BCCCS’s top year 7 students; she reads one book every week, loves story writing and problem solving, aims to take her GCSEs early, and in her spare time she is a pro-baton twirler! When asked if she was enjoying the day, she exclaimed “Yes! I am really loving all the attention!” as she really was the leading lady!
Personally, my wow moment was when I saw the camera platform, which was attached to a track on the floor. When “action” was called, it was slowly pushed to the right by the camera assistant, which gives the scene a slow and steady panning effect across the classroom. Simple things… But I was dying to have a go!
In the final edit of the television ad, this scene is only a few seconds long, but it took roughly 2.5 hours to set up and film, with the class practicing and repeating the scene roughly 10 to 12 times!
So by the end of the filming I was desperate to find out for myself how “Tommo was feeling about Charlie and Molly”!
Scenes at Home
Before the filming day we visited BCCCS and chose some rooms to film in. One of the rooms chosen was the staff meeting room. As we saw the room during half term, it was being repainted and was largely empty. We chose this room to film all the “home tuition” scenes in.
Once we'd finished filming the first scene, we walked over to the staff meeting room to set up the next scenes. When we opened the door and we were faced with a huge (brand new) boardroom style table that filled the room and was screwed into the floor... There was no moving that table, we had to think of another option!
Thinking on our feet, we had an idea, and went to the Library! We hadn’t arranged to be in the library until after lunch, so the students studying that morning were kindly keeping quiet, but we heard giggles as they watched what could only be described as a very budget episode of “changing rooms” as we TRANSFORMED a corner of the Library into a “home”. We used vases, flowers, a tree, a sofa (I still don’t know where that came from!), a rug bought from the local market, and even hung some fabric as if they were curtains! Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen would have been proud…
In the Library “home” we filmed:
- The private tutoring scene with Isabella and Mark Maclaine.
- The scene with Isabella and her “mum” choosing a tutor, who was played by Rachel from the education company, Spiral.
- The scene with the older teen boy, and Madeleine (one of Tutorfair’s top tutors)
We then rearranged the Library to look more like a Library again, and filmed student Victoria, with Peter Kirby the director of the Tutorfair Foundation. This appears as the final scene in our TV ad!
By this time (due to the time spent making a house in the library), we had run over schedule and it was home-time for most students - Yet we still had one more scene to film in the Maths room.
We only had 4 GCSE students to make a full classroom scene, so we needed to find more extras to take part. I was then asked to put on a blue shirt, along with my college Sebastian, and sit in the back of the classroom as a student! Being over 10 years older than my classroom peers, I felt quite flattered to play the role!
We were asked to calculate the area of a circle… “Aha! Of course! A = πr² I knew that…
This scene only took around 5 takes and that was a wrap! It all came to an end so quickly, but I had such a truly incredible experience, as did the students and teachers of BCCCS.
We would like to thank Nick Soar, James who coordinated EVERYTHING, and the Dancing Aardvarks. Special thanks to the teachers and students who brought the ad to life!