13 November, 2010

Travel, Filming, Harry Potter Premiere, and a Screening...

Oh what a week... well, four weeks, really. I left October 15 for the States to do some recruiting for my university- telling people about my life in Bangor and answering the questions of potential students.  I went to school fairs, and visited colleges and high schools. It was uber fun, believe it or not. Particularly my visit to Mary Washington, my old undergrad Uni, where I gave a lecture on my work, and taught a seminar class on C.S. Lewis where we read a section of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.  I then had them write a script from those pages, tell me where the camera was, who was talking, why they made those decisions, then we watched those two scenes in the BBC adaptation from the 80's and the more recent Disney one. SUCH fun.

The trip took me to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Williamsburg, Fredericksburg VA, Washington DC (where we dressed up my friend's dog, see below picture, who currently has a cone on her head (hahaha... I mean... uh... awww), and we went to the Rally to Restore Santiy), then Lancaster PA, and New York City. Whoosh... 'twas fab though, and I even got some work done on my PhD. Go figure.

I left the US on Sunday, arriving back in the UK on Monday, and then this past week was a week of ridiculousness in London. I landed Monday around 8am, went to a really skeevy B&B and slept for a few hours, walked around the town of Shepperton, and then went to bed for real as I was spending two days on a super busy, super famous film set at Shepperton Studios.... Captain America. I was doing some observation and running with the AD department there. Sadly I'm not allowed to say ANYTHING about it (I literally had to sign my life away), but it was awesome. After the film's out I might be able to post about it... I don't know. But it was fab. 

After that, I spent Thursday in central London because I had a screening that evening, so I caught up on some work, and then went to the Harry Potter premiere in Leicester Square on my way to the screening in Piccadilly!  I didn't attend the film, so don't throw flames at me just yet, but I had to check out the mayhem while I was there as I had yet to see a Harry Potter premiere live and in person, and it seems vital somehow.  You can't study fantasy film adaptations, live in the UK, and not at least check out one of the premieres to see what goes down.

 I love anything where that many people can come together and get excited about the same thing. It's such a rockin' energy. So as I approached the square I could hear the crowd (and this was at 2pm; the actual activity didn't start until about 5pm), then turned the corner and saw the masses already assembled; some in costume, some with signs, all excited and pressing to the front of the gates to get a better view of where the stars would be walking in just a few hours. 

There were banners of the characters all over the place, torches with actual flames shooting out of them, stories-tall posters advertising the film, huge screens showing the cast arriving, clips and videos to get the fans pumped, and arches emblazoned with the Deathly Hallows symbol surrounding the square. I killed some time in a pub off of the square, chatting with a nice American on a semester abroad who was there to cheer and hopefully spot a star at the premiere, and then I headed back out into the fray just after 5pm.  As I walked out of the door, I was forced to go left due to the cattle gates, and as I rounded one of the gates who did I run into? RUPERT GRINT. Not kidding. He was just hitting the end of the row signing autographs and taking pictures. I tried to get a good picture of him, but I didn't have my camera out when I first saw him, and by the time I got it on he was a bit far away and every picture makes him look like soup. So take my word for it that he was there, looked good, and you can google image that one. I'm sure some reporter or fan got a photo more clear than my soupy one.

But then as I kept walking towards Piccadilly, I looked to my right about halfway down the gates, and there was Emma Watson! Sadly I didn't see Dan, it would have been nice to have the set (to quote Slughorn), but I'm glad I got to see some of them.  All in all it was wicked fun to see what a Harry Potter premiere is like- watch the excitement, and even grab a glimpse of the cast.

It was also neat to compare it to the Twilight premiere I went to in Leicester Square back in 2008.  If anything, I think this crowd was more controlled than the Twilight gang two years ago.  There was excitement, and palpable energy to be certain, but it didn't have as much of a manic edge, in my opinion, as the Twilight fans had.  I remember hearing the Twilight fans screaming from about three blocks away... it was chaos. Hormone-charged chaos. This was a little more controlled... controlled is the wrong word... focused? Intense? Less 'I wanna rip my shirt off,' and more 'I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it,' kind of a feel. 

After that, I met up with my friend Emily and headed down to Piccadilly Circus for the screening of Love at First Sight, a short that I worked on in June starring John Hurt (He's an absolute legend... and Mr. Ollivander in Harry Potter) and Phyllida Law (TV Goddess, and Emma Thompson's mom) at the BAFTA theater. It was such fun. It was great to see the individual pieces we shot over three days cut into a seamless story. I need to make sure I can post about it, but when I can I'll put up some more pictures and talk about the process. It was good fun, and a good night to chat about what the hell I'm doing with my life after I finish this PhD (because someday, I will finish this!). I'm thinking I'll be working in development for a bit, and see how that aspect of the process works, and if that's where I'm happiest and my skills fit, and hopefully head into producing while doing that. We shall see! 

Okay, not the most coherent post I've written, but that's pretty much where my brain is right now! Tuesday I'm heading back to London for a screening of George Clooney's new film, The American (just coming out in the UK), so I'll blog about that, then my friend Ashley from TwiCon is coming to visit, and next week I'm giving a paper at the Fangbangers and VILF conference at DeMontfort University in Leicester. Which I haven't written yet. It'll be fine... 

More soon! And I'll try to get all of these pictures up on my website soon.

UPDATE: Pictures are up on MaggieParke.com


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holyland tours said...

Seems like you had quite a memorable trip. I remember those big lines at the movie premiere when i went seeing Inception. Anyhow, I'm happy to hear it was worth it.

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