Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The secret's out at last. Filming for Oxfam.

Another secret WOAPA project.
Regular readers of my blog will know that I'm a member of WOAPA Adult Singing Group, we hesitate to call ourselves a choir. Over the last three years we've had some great adventures, singing at local beer and music festivals, recording a video for a local farmer and generally just having fun singing. But recently we took part in a project that was so secret, we couldn't even tell those who are nearest and dearest to us.

WOAPA on the day of filming.
Brian and Lou, who run the choir, were approached by the charity Oxfam and asked if WOAPA would be interested in making a video on their behalf. They wanted us to do a special recording of , 'Diggy, diggy hole' a song that a company called Yogcast had made an animated video of for Minecraft . For those of you who, like me, have no idea who Yogcast are, they are a company that record songs and videos to go with video games made by Minecraft. They wanted to present it to Yogcast as way of thanking them for all their support and to let them know how their money had been used to help people.

So it was that on Saturday 25th October, 2014, we all arrived at Cokethorpe school, just outside Witney and made our way to The Shed, Cokethorpes' drama studio. Even before we entered The Shed, the filming started. As I parked my car, I was approached by the cameraman and asked if I would mind reversing out and parking again while he videoed it. Thankfully, that piece of film didn't make the final edit. Parking not being one of my strong points.

Here is a link to the original animated version:-

After an initial briefing by Brian on how the day was going to pan out, including a demonstration on his part of how not to smile inanely if the camera zoomed in for a close-up, which he failed miserably, the sound recording began. After several takes, the sound engineer and Brian, were very pleased with the result and so we broke for lunch, the filming of the video to be done in the afternoon.

Me and my friend Rosie, excited about the recording.
WOAPA is made up of Adults and children of all ages, including some with special needs and these children joined us for the afternoon of filming.To begin with, we were filmed standing in formation and simply singing. Then the fun began. A few of the ladies in the front row were each given a placard which, when read in succession contained a message thanking Yogcast on behalf of Oxfam. These placards were to be lifted up, Mexican wave style to reveal the message. as you can imagine, this was not easily achieved, but eventually the ladies nailed it. But this too didn't make the final edit.

New addition to the singing group
Next three of the older WOAPA boys dressed up, one as a cow, another one as a goat and the third as a bee. They were then placed randomly among the choir and we once again performed the song, desperately trying to keep a straight face. After all what could be more natural than having a cow, goat or bee standing beside you while you're singing? We also had to do a 'take' when we had to mime the actions of digging a hole while singing, which, being the consummate professionals that by this time we'd become, proved to be no problem.

Ladies of a certain age preparing for action.
As in all good videos, there were a couple of other comic bits that didn't make the final cut. For instance, some of the older boys sat around a couple of tables, wearing gold coloured, Viking hats with horns and pretended to look at computer screens. Then every so often on cue they would look at the camera, sing a line of the song, then immediately look away again. This was very funny to watch. but not as funny as when Brian delicately asked for some of the older ladies to come forward and repeat the exercise singing lines of another verse. Somehow I found myself being one of them. But we've since learnt that they are going to be releasing a video of the making of this one, so some of these might make it into that one.

When the cameraman was satisfied that he had enough material to work with, the young woman from Oxfam who'd approached Brian and Lou in the first place,stepped forward and thanked us all. She said that when she was sitting in the meeting and was tasked with finding a choir to record the song, she had no idea that she would find WOAPA. She said that we were phenomenal. We didn't just sing the song as it appears on youtube. Brian had arranged it to include harmonies and though I say it myself, it sounds amazing.

After an exciting day, we all went home, but not before we'd once more been sworn to secrecy. as Oxfam wanted it to be a surprise for Yogcast. With all the secrets I've had to keep this year, Diane's wedding surprise and the recent filming of Downton Abbey at Cogges being two of them, I should apply for a job with MI5. They have now presented the video to Yogcast who were delighted to receive it. They've put it on their vlog, and at the time of writing, it has already been seen by 140,000 people. Oxfam are also using the video to raise money for their current Ebola crisis appeal.

I just want to say a massive thank you to Oxfam for choosing WOAPA to do the video and another one to Brian and Lou for the opportunity to be part of the WOAPA family and being able to be a part of these fantastic experiences.

Videos courtesy of WOAPA

Photo's courtesy of Katja Partridge and WOAPA.

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