Today dawned like most days…bright, warm and the usual snooze routine (I have 6 alarms!).
But today was different. It was the first day of the shoot for an exciting new chat show for women called The London Sessions!
I had the incredible opportunity to come on as assistant producer. You wouldn’t know I hadn’t done something like this before. I was going to live it until I became it (thanks Max for that!). Sure, I have a background in broadcast journalism, and have been on a few sets both in front on camera and behind the scenes and helped with a live news channel. But this time, I was managing multiple aspects such as social media, emailing guests, over 300 guests anticipated over the show (the Eventbrite sold out each day) and other interesting hats to wear. It turned out to be a hard, fun and valuable experience I won’t forget in a long time. This is my account in retrospect of every day on set. Enjoy!
So I got up and got ready with Nifemi, a very talented person I had met once with my mum who I had invited to help me and rub shoulders with some great people in the industry (Jane, we love you!). One of the coolest (and hilarious) directors I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
We had 45 audience members signed up and the quandary of where to seat them all in our tiny studio. I came up with a game plan with John Fleming, head of logistics, to get enough tea, coffee and biscuits to feed an army as well as set up an overflow room. One half would sit in the first session and the other half would sit in the second. 2 episodes shot per day for the next 8 days. This was going to be interesting!
Little did I know the true flakiness of people who aren’t being paid to show up and who didn’t pay to come. Our supposed audience of 45 became 12. Nifemi, myself and some crew and staff members had to make up the rest of the numbers as well as the host Cynthia Garrett’s husband Roger and her two nieces! I was a little downcast – I had multiple tasks to complete as Assistant Producer and this was one of them. To get a full audience of 24 every day.
Nifemi didn’t let me stay down in the dumps about it for long and pretty soon we had formed new friendships with our present audience members and garnered some powerful testimonies of overcoming, perseverance and just downright fearlessness from some of them. We immediately had to tell the co-producer Martin and he made sure that some got to share their stories in relation to the topic of each day. An interactive audience – that’s the way!
I learned today afresh that sometimes quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality. We had some great stories and questions from the audience and a wise panel we could challenge. Oops, I forgot to mention the panel!
Our two sessions today were:
Beauty and Sex and Identity: Who Am I?
On the first show we had:
Carrie Lloyd – Journalist, Bethel pastor and author of The Virgin Monologues
Ruth Awogbade – Founder of Magnify Magazine
On the second show, another guest joined them:
Charlotte Gambill – Lead Pastor of Life Church UK, author of books such as Identity, Miracle In The Middle
As I had to sit in to make up audience numbers, I learnt so much more than I expected and left at the end of the day with full unedited recordings of each session. Some incredible wisdom, tips and knowledge shared with all of us. A perk of getting to sit in definitely.
15:00, the end of the shooting day, came around much quicker than I expected – new friends gained both in the audience and crew, some familiar faces from Hillsong London, reunion with my senior pastor Charlotte Gambill which all in all equals a great day of shooting!
I am looking forward to tomorrow and I am getting more confident in my role and Nifemi is lifesaver and has become an instant friend – more than just someone who I met with my mum but a very talented, hilarious, really tall Nigerian! Maybe I’ll get her to show up as a guest blog in one of the days.
See you next time!