Posts Tagged Winnie-the-Pooh

Lights, Camera, Action!

Remember I told you here about being shortlisted as Disney Winnie the Pooh Laureate for the Midlands and having to read my story over the telephone? Well, I won! Disney Winnie the Pooh Laureate

Last week I went along to the Disney Store in Birmingham to receive my certificate and read the story to a group of children. It was exciting – TV and newspaper cameras turned up along with a professional photographer organised by the PR company. The Lord Mayor of Birmingham and the Lady Mayoress attended in their chains of office and last, but by no means least, Birmingham crime novelist Judith Cutler presented my certificate and kept me company through the afternoon. As an added bonus she introduced me to her husband Edward Marston, who writes historical crime fiction.

The media coverage of the event opened my eyes to the small budgets these people work on and how difficult it is to get publicity for anything that’s not hard news.

I’d been told the previous day that ITV Central News would be coming and had agonised over what to wear. Am I the only one who thinks there’s some rule about not wearing stripes, checks or loud patterns in front of TV cameras? Anyway, in the end I went for plain navy blue.

When the camera crew arrived, the ‘crew’ turned out to be a single cameraman (who’d arrived by motorbike) and that was it. I’d been expecting a reporter as well and possibly a sound man. But the cameraman did have one of those big furry microphones.  So, Lina, the Disney PR lady, became the interviewer and stood just out of camera shot whilst she asked questions of Judith and myself. It’s very hard to talk naturally or sensibly when a camera is pointed towards you but you’ve been told not to look at it and when there’s that microphone, which looks like a cute animal, being held out to catch every word. Judith and I did our best. Disney Winnie the Pooh Laureate

The two photographers had their turn with us next and spent ages posing Judith and I alongside various Disney cuddly toys in the shape of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and the rest of their friends from Hundred Acre Wood. They took pictures of us with the Mayor and some children (parents had to sign permission forms) and a giant story book.

After all this, I finally read my story to a group of children who were shopping in the store.

I went home clutching a goody bag of soft toys and a fistful of Disney Store vouchers.  I felt quite a celebrity and couldn’t wait to watch my recording of Central News.
But my TV appearance was short, very short. Either my fears that I was spouting rubbish during the interview were true or everything else going on in the Central TV area that day was much more interesting! They showed a shot of Judith presenting my certificate and then a close up of the certificate and that was it. Neither of us was shown speaking – which in my case was probably just as well …

As for the press, there’s been nothing in the local paper yet despite the length of time the photographer spent with us.

BUT I have been sent some of the pictures taken by the PR company’s photographer AND I have got the platform of this blog to display them. So forgive me for indulging in a little celebrity showing off!

Disney Winnie the Pooh Laureate

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Two ‘Performances’

Last week I made two ‘performances’. Firstly, I made my first prepared speech at Sutton Coldfield Speakers’ Club and then, as a shortlisted contender in the Winnie the Pooh Laureate Competition, I read my children’s short story out loud on the telephone for final judging.

Speakers’ Club. Prepared speeches are usually between six and eight minutes long and the subject matter should suit the theme of the evening – the exception being first speeches when the advice is to talk about something you know well. So I veered off the evening’s topic of ‘Love & Romance’ and talked about my hobby of church bell-ringing instead (exciting stuff I hear you say!).
I spoke for 7 minutes 40 seconds (everything is timed with a stopwatch) and the speech was then evaluated by another club member. This is a bit like giving feedback at a writers’ group when work is read aloud. My evaluator was very kind and full of praise but also had some useful advice – I’d positioned myself to one side of the lectern and that meant that half the audience couldn’t see me properly and also the majority of my eye contact was down one side of the room. So some good advice to take away.
My next speech is in around six weeks and the evening has the theme of ‘Springtime’. At the moment I haven’t a clue what to talk about – all that comes to mind is cute lambs, chicks and rabbits. Anyone got any ideas?

Winnie the Pooh. I dialled into the conference call at the appointed time, only to find a lovely Scottish lady in full flow. I sat very quietly whilst she finished a wonderful story about Pooh visiting a park in Glasgow, complete with different voices for all the characters.
Then it was my turn to read my story, ‘Winnie the Pooh and the Birmingham Iron Man’ – needless to say I didn’t do any special voices. The judges made some polite comments and said they’d let me know.
So now, like an actress after an audition – I’m waiting to hear from them …



Winnie the Pooh Laureate Competition

Calling all Winnie the Pooh fans!

Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh (Photo credit: Anton Ruiter)

Disney are looking for five regional winners across the UK and Ireland to be crowned ‘Winnie the Pooh Laureate’ and read their story in their local Disney store.

Entrants are asked to take Winnie the Pooh and his friends outside of 100 Acre Wood and into their own locality for an adventure. The story should feature landmarks unique to the writer’s home region. Maximum number of words is 500.

The winner from each region will also see their story printed in a special book and win a goodie bag of Winnie the Pooh merchandise.

Entry is free and is via the competition’s Facebook Page. Closing date is December 17th 2013.

Click on the Terms and Conditions tab on the Facebook Page before you enter to read full details of the judging process – the final three in each region are asked to read their story on the phone in order to judge their performance ability.

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