Posted by Dr Hilary Jones on 19 December 2013
I have done thousands of hours of TV in my time but being the prop for a cartoon character is a first. But that’s exactly what happened when the face of the charity’s meningitis and septicaemia symptom information was animated for the first time.
Bristol based production company Mendip Media, took up the challenge of promoting meningitis.org in just 30 seconds by making our character and the symptoms described memorable.
We borrowed some offices in London for the shoot as I had to be at ITV studios on the South Bank that morning. I used one of my TV suits for the filming as I knew it would work well on screen and with Meningitis Research Foundation’s purple logo.
I spent about four hours in total with the Director Matt and the crew as we recorded new audio-only scripts and a face to camera “ask” used by the charity’s fundraisers, as well as the new 30 second symptoms information film.
One of the first jobs was to decide where I was going to sit. Fortunately the meeting room had an etched glass door which brought light and texture into the shot. We also had a big debate about set dressing and ended up using one of my stethoscopes as well as the charity’s literature.
Filming is a lengthy process so between set ups, I chatted with Jane from the communications team about what they been doing recently. We also did some brainstorming around next year’s 25th Anniversary Ball, as I plan to be there with some of my friends.
Quite a lot of the last hour involved sitting patiently in a fixed position while the animator Steve used two parallel strings to pull a cardboard cut-out and notepad across the desk. We also spent a lot of time with a camera focussed over my shoulder on the symptoms character for the all-important jumping out of the leaflet shot.
All the magic happened behind the scenes, long after my day with the crew and I think they did a brilliant job. They have brought our symptoms information to life and helped us spread awareness to save lives.
I am very proud of this 30 second film and I encourage everyone to take a moment and share it with family, friends and colleagues. Have a screening, put it your Facebook page or email the link. Working together we can help save more people from meningitis and septicaemia. See the video