Thursday, 17 February 2011

Lip Dub

There's something quite incredible in watching work come together. From conception, to development, to planning and executing something, no matter what area it's in, there's nothing quite like seeing the finished product of alot of hard work.

Away back in first year, we were given the task of coming up with a collaboration between our class and TPA. It seemed like a fairly huge undertaking, especially considering how many more of TPA there were than us! I was in Murray's group when he suggested the idea of LipDub and I was immediately excited. The original idea came from a group of students in Germany who filmed themselves miming along to a song as the camera followed them around in one continuous take, showing off the students and university life.

The only stipulation was that there could be no edit points or cuts. There were a few other guidelines, like 'pick a well known song', so that everyone knew the words. It couldn't have been better timed- this year saw the 60th anniversary of the school of drama, and what better way to tell this to the world than by showing how all of the departments have come together to celebrate?

We had a few meetings between the two classes with Murray directing the whole thing and the rest of us allocated roles within production, art direction and potentially AD'ing. First of all though, we had to get the go-ahead from Adam, Andy and Ros, our respective department heads and then... THE PRINCIPAL HIMSELF. A group of us pitched it using powerpoints and a shakily-presented speech written by myself (I'm not good at public speaking) and.... it worked! Hurrah! After this came numerous production meetings to decide on a route, song, who was going to be involved, and most importantly when it was going to happen. Sadly (at the time), we couldn't get it done before the end of first year and the Big Event was postponed until last weekend.

I hadn't had much of a hand in anything to do with the LipDub since, really, there wasn't much to be done. TPA took care of costumes, props, stage setting and the all-important pyros and it looked incredible. How someone could make such fantastic costumes out of drawer liners, newspapers and broken umbrellas is beyond me. The way in which they moved the stage and reset at the drop of a hat was quite awe-inspiring and made me feel more than a little guilty at it taking me so long to learn how to de-rig a camera in record time.

The onset of some kind of stress-induced flu and an increase in shifts in work meant I missed rehearsals on Saturday, and dragged my sorry carcass to the Big Show on Sunday out the nut on cold & flu pills, determined to see the result of what we'd planned so long ago. I was hella nervous that I was going to be in trouble for missing rehearsal and that I was going to be resigned to some background role and wouldn't be a part of it at all. Worse still, I was worried I was going to be thrown headlong into some dance routine I had no clue of, and that I was going to be the one who forgot the words, stumbled over a wrong dance step, tripped, wore the wrong thing or collapsed in an exhausted fluey heap.

My fears were alleviated when I got to the Academy- yes, we had to dance, but it was with fellow classmates, and everything had been planned with total precision. We had enough rehearsals for me to pick everything up quickly enough and before long I was getting right into the spirit of it. I didn't have the hardest job. All I had to do was mime and dance. Stressing about this would have totally undermined all the hard work that the creative teams and camera crew had come up with over the past year. I even channelled my inner Black Swan in the ballet studio- albeit a clumsier, stiffer version with no dance training and only barely managing to get my leg on the bar.

The only thing I can think to compare it to was Delhi- us film types running about trying to hold our own with dancers and musical theatre types. We may have been knackered and unused to it but it was the most fun way I could have spent a Sunday afternoon in uni. The atmosphere and good mood when the pyros finally worked after a perfect take was electric- you could've felt it in the rafters. Considering we only had two attempts of the pyros, the pressure was on and we had to make every step perfect, but it came together beautifully. I was really proud of Murray and the rest of the team for managing to pull it off and- dare I say it- felt a hint of 'school spirit' in doing so. It brought out my competitive nature- ours was going to be the best, because we could make it the best. I can't wait to see the finished product... I know I'm going to cringe so hard if I catch a glimpse of myself dancing and miming like a twat to "Mr Brightside" but hey... what's the point in being embarrassed of contributing to something the world is going to see? In a similar vein as Delhi, I may have been out of my comfort zone and initially felt way over my head, but the nature of collaboration is that everyone supports each other. And I make no apologies for my none-more-white freestyling.

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