"Take one...and action!": The experience of a Festival of London 2012 video diarist

Tracy Levy from EXTEND, a member of the Sport and Recreation Alliance has been selected to be a video diarist for the Festival of London 2012. In this blog she talks about her excitement at being picked for the task and how she filmed her first video.

Sometimes opportunities come your way via some very usual routes. If I had not been appointed EXTEND's representative for the Movement and Dance division at the Sport and Recreation Alliance, I would not have been at a meeting at which we were told about the Cultural Olympiad and all the wonderful things that were being planned in the weeks leading up to the Olympics, including Big Dance 2012.

I may not have ever heard of Dance UK, and if I had not attended the Move IT event at the Olympia, I wouldn’t have stopped at the Dance UK stand and exchanged Facebook and Twitter details.

But I did! And when I saw a posting on its Facebook page for video diarists for the Festival of London 2012, part of the Cultural Olympiad, I thought I would give it a go.

The video diarists’ scheme, run by the Arts Council, gave ten Londoners the opportunity to see ten different Arts Council funded events or exhibitions from May right the way through to September, and in return the diarists’ had to create a video diary of their experiences.

I applied – and then promptly forgot all about it – but a few weeks EXTEND-dance-organisation-logolater while out shopping my mobile rang (very unusual as my mobile is for family and emergencies only) and it was Tom from the Arts Council telling me I had been selected.

I shrieked so loudly everyone thought I had won the lottery or tickets to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games! But to me it was almost as good. Tickets to the Wah! Wah! Girls at the Peacock Theatre.

And here is my first video diary (about halfway down the page, it’s called Tracy from Enfield saw Wah! Wah! Girls at the Peacock Theatre).

I am the first to admit that I’m not very good in front of a camera and it is much harder than you think – sometimes it is impossible to film at the venue, there are too many people around, it is too dark or filming is prohibited.

Unless you have a helpful friend with a really steady hand who promises not to laugh, sneeze or giggle, or have access to a tripod, you have to you have to balance the camera on a pile of books or CDs so it is the right height, press the record button, run into position and hope and pray that you take your very best ‘take’!

It’s really difficult being spontaneous when you have said the same thing seven times and fluffed up the same word each time. My first attempt is a little too Jackanory for my liking, they edited 20 minutes of ‘stuff’ down to two minutes and 16 seconds, but it’s not that bad when you consider it was my very first attempt and it was made at 7.30 in the morning before the house became too noisy!

My next ‘big’ event is the Big Dance on 14th July. I can’t wait!

Tracy Levy

Tracy is the representative member for Extend, an organisation that provides gentle exercise to music for older people and for anyone of any age with a disability. If you would like to find out more about what they do, visit their website.

To find out more about the Festival of London 2012 visit their website.

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