Cameraman based in Edinburgh, employed by ITN, working for ITV's Good Morning Britain covering stories all over the UK and the world. War Zones, World Cups, Royal Tours and many other less exciting assignments, like interviewing current and ex Prime Ministers have kept me busy over the years working in Breakfast Television since GMTV came on the scene back in '93 and regional TV before that. In 2009 I began to record what it is like to work, the often strange and long hours needed to bring the hard news, human interest and fluffy fun to the UK's TV screens in the morning, mostly broadcasting live.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Search for a Curvy Supermodel

Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th

The Lorne Hotel on Glasgow’s famous Sauchiehall Street was the venue for the first of the heats in The Lorraine Programme and Look Magazine’s search for a Curvy Supermodel.

I was meeting Colin and Robert, the two sound recordists and Stan the cameraman there at 8 am to get rigged for the day long two camera shoot.

Before the judges, Mark Heyes form the Lorraine programme, Ali Hall, the editor of Look magazine, Sarah Watkinson of 12+ UK Model Management or any of the wannabe models arrived we started to set up the lights.

There were thirty auditions to shoot in the function room along with various interviews with the judges and auditionees.

As well as our little TV set up there were a few people from the Mission events company who were setting up the whole thing and Myra, a tall New Yorker who used to be a model and was there to give the girls a bit of coaching and help before they came in for the audition.

She was lively, full of life and energy. She did a great job of getting the girls ready for the short but nervous time ahead.

The room we were working in was not the best from a lighting point of view.

The walls were very dark and there were some very shiny lights that dangled down from the ceiling, which was thankfully not too low.

Stan and I fiddled around with the big lamps that he had in his kit and the little ones that I had in mine.

Robert and Colin set up Colin’s little sound mixing desk and prepared the radio mics for the judges to wear.

Robert and Colin setting up.

The girls were beginning to arrive. I was surprised to see that although the search was for a “curvy” model I did not see many girls that looked was you might call Rubinesque.

Some of the girls waiting.

There were of course a few that may not have been in the rolly polly category but, there was not a chance that they would get anywhere near being any type of model.

Judge Ali gets her make up touched up...... Christina the producer chats to them.

When everything was ready Christina got things going and the auditions began.

I was doing the camera on the girls as they came in, had a word with the judges and did a little walk to show how they moved.

Stan’s camera focused on the judges, their questions and reactions to the girls’ answers.

Stan ready to roll.

They like what they see and hear.

It was clear that the majority of the girls were very understandably nervous dealing with this little drama in their lives.

One of the girls in the room and in my viewfinder.

Outside the hotel we heard what sounded like a large delivery of coal.

We peeped out to see another little drama unfold as a couple of cars had crashed in to each other.

No one appeared to be injured. We were all rather intrigued as to how the pair of cars had ended up where they were.

The little drama outside.

After a bit of a Greek lunch in a restaurant across the road for us, and a working lunch of deliberations for the judges in the hotel we got down to the call backs.

In the end the decision was to take three girls through to the next stage of the process.

Bit of a break for press photographs.

It was interesting to listen to the discussions about which if the girls would possibly make it as models.

One or two of the girls that we thought were pretty good were discounted straight away for not having the correct walk and there not being a chance of changing it, or their hips were not in a pleasing enough proportion to the rest of their figures.

So the final bit of shooting for the day was three groups of four girls coming into the room and one being told that they had made it to the next round.

On the announcement my job was to do a crash zoom in to the face of the winner and get their reaction.

One of the final groups.

The first group came in.

I knew which one of them would be the winner.

When the announcement came after a suitable pause to provide a bit of dramatic tension I flicked to zoom bar and moved the camera to her face.

It was a bit too messy a move for my liking but, there would be no take two.

At least the next two worked a little bit better and were not so bad but, I was still a bit annoyed with myself as we started to pack things away.

It was around 5 pm.

Colin and I had to drive down to Gateshead for tomorrow’s event once we had derigged.

Two of the judges and the Mission crew were getting the train to Newcastle at 5:30, so they had to get a move on.

It was going to be Marks birthday tomorrow. His family were from near Glasgow. So, his folks were taking the opportunity to come and see him for dinner.

Christina was also staying in Glasgow. It was going to be an early start for their drive tomorrow morning.

Rather surprisingly, even with a detour do drop of Colin’s car and pick up kit we arrived at the hotel in Gateshead ahead of the ones that travelled by train.

It was after 9 pm, just time to have a bite to eat in the hotel restaurant and get to bed.

None of us were tempted to join in with the fun and freezing frolics going on over the river in Newcastle.

On the drive through the city to the hotel we saw the Geordie guys and girls doing what they are renowned for, being out on a cold night with very little clothes on.

The thermometer in the car was reading between minus one and minus a half of a degree.

The first sight we was one girl with a thin dress on that finished off just about at her hips. There was no need for any imagination.

The next bunch of happy girls skipping along the road were all dressed as Princess Jasmine from the Aladdin movies, complete with bare midriffs.

Next morning I was pleased to be meet couple of ex-colleagues from my days at Tyne Tees Television.

Dave Dixon and Nick Grant were making up our little two camera shoot team for today.

Whilst we rigged the lighting and sound we talked about how our various other old mates were getting on.

The lighting was much easier than yesterday and would probably look nicer for two reasons.

The main one was that the room was much more TV friendly. The other was that Dave had a few more lights to play with than we had yesterday.

Once we had set that up the same routine as yesterday kicked off.

Colin at his desk and Dave on camera.

The girls came in and did their thing once they had been coached my the larger than life Myra and had their photographs taken by gentle Giorgio the photographer.

Dave and I had done a few shots of the preliminary stuff before the actual auditions began.

We saw many more girls than we had in Glasgow.

The ones that had come to these auditions were, in the opinions of us all of a much higher calibre overall. They were prettier and sexier than the Glasgow lot.

However, as far as the judges were concerned there was only one girl that had a realistic chance of becoming a model.

So they only wanted to take her through.

In these days of compliance and making sure that everything was OK legally Christina had to run this by the lawyers because three had been selected from Glasgow.

She was busy on the phone to various big wigs and legal types at ITV.

She needed to get a few interviews with some of the girls.

So whilst she was dealing with the important stuff I went with Dave and Nick to do the interviews.

It is a strange experience being beside the camera asking the questions and not behind it looking and listening.

Nick strikes a pose as Dave sets up his camera.

Christina talks to Abbey the winner of this stage.

Abbey in the spotlight.

Nick and the undoubtably beautiful Abbey.

Since it was Mark’s birthday Christina had organised a couple of cakes as a bit of a surprise.

We set up outside the function room and waited for Mark to come out.

He was pretty surprised when we burst into Happy Birthday and loved the cake.

Happy Birthday Mark!

Mark with his cake.

It had been a good day’s filming and a good day seeing and catching up with old friends.

It was just a pity that Colin and I had the two hour drive back up the road when we packed up and said good bye.

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