Over the last few months i have been employed by NHK, the Japan state broadcasting corporation. NHK are the equivalent of the BBC but in Japan. I have been working as a location manager for the broadcaster as they plan, produce and film a television documentary in the Peak District. They wanted to focus on the Peak District as a tourism destination. NHK have made several other walking programmes around the world (France, Spain, Italy et al..) and now it was the Peak District’s turn.
I was contacted months ago to plan a multi day walking route in the Peak District that will sell the national park in an appealing way to a television audience. Encouraging the Peak District as a tourist destination. Millions of people will be watching this programme. No pressure then!
I worked for the BBC whilst i was studying my degree at Manchester metropolitan university. That was ten years ago. I remember a lot of long days working hard. I had an idea of what to expect.
So what have i been doing for the last three months? Well until the documentary is edited and broadcast i cannot go into specific details. That said, i will give you a glimpse over this series of blogs of my daily work. Lets begin.
What does a location manager do?
Put simply a part of my role involved planning a multi day walking route through the Peak District that would illustrate the national park as a tourist destination. The film crew and presenters must walk on average fifteen kilometres each day weaving through footpaths and up and down hills. I arranged a walking route that would cover historic events in the Peak District, places of interest, meeting locals and knowledgable people. The film crew loved our filming at the Original Bakewell pudding shop. Though a pudding at 7am is not for the faint hearted.
I spent numerous hours debating what places and which people for interviews should be included in the walking route. Unfortunately some did not make the final route choice. Compromise Matt.
Have you ever tried to communicate with an eight members of a film crew on the top of the climbing cliff around Stanage edge? I have. I do not speak Japanese. English was not the film crews first language. Providing safety for all the crew, including a determined cameraman at the top of the crag was a part of my role. I was kept on my toes.
We walked around fifteen kilometres each day up hills and through valleys. An aspect of my role was to carry filming equipment to support the crew. All seventeen kilos of it. Tripods, spare batteries and crew clothing. That part i will not miss.
I recently updated my first aid qualification through the British Mountaineering Council / Climb Britain. This came in very useful as our film crew and presenters were more suited to an urban environment than the hills and changeable weather of the Peak District. I would not be a bit surprised if the share price of Compeed foot plasters has risen in the last few months due to me.
As the director and producer were keen to use flying drones to film scenes of the walk i met and worked with The Aerial Picture company. A professional, well organised business that has assisted the BBC with filming on programmes such as Doctor Who, Citizen Kahn and Songs of Praise to name just a few. The Aerial Picture company are a preferred BBC provider of filming and lovely folks.
These are just a few parts of my role. Extensively planning, producing and supporting filming of the Peak District programme was an twelve to sixteen hour day. I do not want to ruin future blogs that i will write over the next few weeks but here is a few things to leave you with:
- My Japanese is still poor but improving.
- The NHK film crew are hard working, professional and lovely people.
- I feel like i have learnt alot about television production. I have over eight hundred photographs and videos of our entire walking journey. One of the crew said my photographs and videos could be a dvd extra, The making of….
- We all had a brilliant time.
If you are interested in exploring the Peak District we offer a range of activities. You can hire me as your private guide, join one of my group walks, enjoy a short break or holiday throughout the UK and go trail/fell running are other alternatives. I also teach map and compass navigation skills so you can be self sufficient in the hills and mountains and provide support to people going through the Duke of Edinburgh award. Have a look around my website. Email or phone me and i will respond the same day.