TMG takes the show on the road

It feels like just the other day that I was writing a blog post introducing myself to everyone that follows our work here at The Media Group. As I write this I have been here for three months, and wow does time fly. I’ve been so busy that it’s nice to take a morning to sit back and reflect on what I’ve been up to in those months.

In the last few weeks, amongst loads of other exciting projects, I had an amazing opportunity to take the lead, stepping up from assistant producer to producer, to create a film for the Premier League in Ypres, Belgium. Every year they host an international u12 Truce football tournament in recognition of the Truce during WWI. Consisting of 12 teams from England, France and Belgium, the weekend is a rich cultural experience for all who take part. This was all very new and exciting to me (planning a working trip abroad) so I couldn’t wait to get going.

When we heard that we would be producing a film for the Premier League’s annual Truce football tournament, the TMG team put our heads together to make sure that all bases had been covered such as equipment and travel required, footage needed and making sure we were in the right places at the right times. There are many things to think about when planning a shoot abroad but I have singled out my top five things to consider if you are.

  1. Visas: We decided to fly to Belgium and as we were shooting in Europe we didn’t need any visas but because of the uncertainty of Brexit our passports needed to be valid for at least six months prior to arriving. Check.
  2. Baggage allowances: we also needed to make sure that we could take extra baggage on our flight as we needed a few extra bags for all of our equipment. Check.
  3. Transport: figuring out how to get to and from the airport as well as the best ways of getting around the different locations. We decided that trains and taxis would be the best for us. Check.
  4. Accommodation: luckily the team at the Premier League had sorted out hotels for everybody participating including us so that was one less thing to worry about. Check.
  5. Hard drives and batteries: Making sure we had extra batteries and a couple of hard drives to back up all of our footage. You can never have too many batteries or have enough copies of your footage. The last thing you want is to get back to base with nothing to edit. Check.

Cloth Hall, Ypres

Once a medieval trading centre, Ypres is a city with a long and rich history. It is surrounded by the Ypres Salient battlefields, where many cemeteries, memorials and war museums honour the battles that unfolded in the area during WWI. It boasts one of the most picturesque market squares in Belgium, and a beautiful view of Ypres can be seen by climbing up the bell tower of the Cloth Hall (Heads up – the bells are really, really loud when up close so keep a close eye on the time).

It wasn’t all about seeing the sights, this was a work trip after all, and work we did. We filmed over three days and captured the whole tournament as it unfolded. It wasn’t just about the football though, the boys playing also participated in educational activities throughout the weekend, learning about the history of WWI. They commemorated soldiers who lost their lives by laying wreaths at the Menin Gate, paying their respects by visiting the war memorials at Flanders Fields and participating in a cultural exchange at the beautiful Cloth Hall – all of which we were there to capture.

You may be thinking ‘that sounds like a fun and interesting weekend of work’, and it was. It was one of the best weekends of work I have ever had.

Okay, so what does an Assistant Producer actually do? The short answer: a little bit of everything. I am there to make the producers life easy but I’m also there to step in and take the reins when they are unavailable.  A Producer coordinates, supervises and manages the creation and production of movies, television shows, web series, and commercial videos, amongst other productions. We are involved throughout all phases of the production process from inception to completion and are there to make things happen and execute the to-do-list.

The shoot was a great success and we managed to capture everything we wanted and more, but it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. The weekend was also a step up for me, as it was the first major production that I would be producing by myself and taking the lead on. At first the prospect seemed a bit daunting, but thanks to the help of the team I was able to make sure that I had everything in place to make sure the trip was a success prior to departing for the weekend. I really enjoyed being a part of the team effort and I am grateful that I got to represent everybody at TMG in Belgium.

Here’s to the next one!

  • filming
  • travel
  • Video
Written by

Nolan Benson