It was a hard working day in London again today. Izzy and I set out on a run this morning wearing our TUTV orange shirts. We looked slightly like the Netherlands and several people made comments like we were training for an event! Our run passed through Hyde Park including the Prince Albert Memorial, the Olympic Marathon Swim Stadium, and a playable chessboard. We also saw horses from the Hyde Park Stables. Izzy and I are both horseback riders and were very interested in trying to get there to ride… until we learned it was 64 pounds an hour… We also ran by the beautiful Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. It’s a continuous fountain that starts at the top of a hill, travels through rapids, and ends in a calm smooth wake. Truly a beautiful memorial and very representative of her.
We were in the basement studio the rest of the day finishing news packages that will air in the next few weeks. Tomorrow we will hopefully be taking a quick breather. We only have one interview to do tomorrow and then our second show!!!!! We have some great stuff coming. Hope you’ll be watching!
Danny Boyle is a genius. The opening ceremony was magical, revolutionary, inventive and passionate. For those who missed out on last night’s spectacle, I hope for your sake you can find it on another media outlet. The ceremony grabbed us all by the collar and never let go. From the Industrial Revolution to the Queen, all eyes were on London. With an estimated one billion viewers in the UK alone, it is clear that the pressure was on for London to deliver. I don’t know a person in that stadium who could tell you they weren’t moved. With roughly nine thousand performers, there wasn’t a single spot on stage that was left lifeless and dull. Every square inch was electrifying. And who could forget the pageantry that was David Beckham. Only London could pass the torch by boat. The actually lighting of the torch was breathtaking. What a terrific way to display a desire for world unity and peace.
That being said, London has gotten increasingly crowded. The tourists have arrived. Streets that we were able to skip down a few days ago have now been bombarded with over two million visitors.
Suitcases and duffel bags are crowding up the Tube, so much so that I almost got split in half by one of the doors. The crowds have been overwhelming at times, but honestly for the most part they are manageable. The hustle and bustle just adds to the allure of London and the Games.
Having more people around also means more exciting street performers. Featured above is a man who spends his days impersonating Charlie Chaplin. He isn’t just some street clown however, his tactics are creative and inviting. When Shakespeare said “All the world’s a stage” he was talking about this guy. He sets himself up on a busy street, plays music from the 20s and 30s and picks strangers to interact with. He knows exactly how to work an audience. His “players” range from toddlers to senior citizens, who unbeknownst to them, become entertainment for onlookers.
There is an old saying, “Do what you love and the money will come”. I hope this guy doesn’t love to blow bubbles because his bowl was empty. No tips. And the police asked him to leave.
Byline – Isabel Garcia and Hope Janelle Berninghausen
4:00 p.m., London
Our Olympic team attended a press conference at the London Media Centre this afternoon featuring Olympic Opening ceremony collaborator Akram Khan and his producer Farooq Chaudhry, moderated by BBC Creative Director Alan Yentob.
During the conference a member of the audience, Jason, from the London Media Centre, asked for Khan’s response to NBC’s decision to omit his performance from the broadcast. As you can see in this exclusive video above, Khan is just being informed. Watch his reaction on the right side of the screen (approximately 12 seconds into the video).
About 11 seconds later (00:23), watch producer Farooq Chaudhry on the left hand side as he prepares to inform the room that he already knew of the news. As we find out moments later, Chaudhry had chosen to wait to share the information with Khan.
The press conference quickly picked back up after a noticeable moment of silence. A few questions later, audience member Andy, from Culture of the Olympics Magazine, attempts to ease Kahn’s shock [about NBC] by informing him that “hashtag” (#) NBCfail was trending on Twitter as the Opening Ceremonies were wrapping up in the United States.
As the conference was about to end, Nicholas Wolaver (London Media Centre) asked Khan to once again reflect on NBC’s decision. Khan, still surprised and seemingly frustrated, tried to understand the reasoning behind NBC’s choice. Chaudhry later joined in the speculation, defending Khan’s work and their business, “Akram Khan Company”, which they both founded.
NBC released several statements regarding their telecast decisions to cut certain performances out of their broadcast of the Opening Ceremony. No statement has yet been issued to Akram Khan, directly, explaining their actions.
LAtimes.com — “We are live streaming every sporting event, all 32 sports, and 302 medals… It is never our intent to live stream the Opening Ceremony or Closing Ceremony. They are complex entertainment spectacles that do not translate well online because they require context, which our award-winning production team will provide for the large prime-time audiences that gather together to watch them.”
LAtimes.com — “We will be providing clips and highlights of each ceremony online so viewers know what to look forward to in primetime on NBC.”
huffingtonpost.com- “Our program is tailored for the U.S. television audience. It’s a credit to [opening ceremony producer] Danny Boyle that it required so little editing.”
“We are in the safest city in the world right now.”
“Yeah, but also the most targeted city in the world.” Professor Mooney acknowledged what the rest of the world is wondering as the big day had finally arrived. The one question that the world has been awaiting to see answered is whether or not London and the Brits are ready for the world’s attention.
World famous Regent street decorated in preparation for the Opening Ceremony
Tensions were high as the seconds slowly counted down to the moment of truth… the live show. After the initial jitters during the rehearsals, the talent seemed to feel a bit better for the broadcast, but the intensity of the moment wasn’t subsiding in the least bit. With Isabel losing the feed on the line with Master Control and the jerry-rigged teleprompter failing, it was easy to say everyone was a bit on edge.
The anxiety of the moment was described by Isabel near perfectly: “It was the slowest 2 minutes leading up to the live show, and the fastest 30 minutes on air.”
Taping the show
After a fun night of celebrating our first live show at the 24-hour VQ Lounge, Isabel decided to treat us to a very generous late morning breakfast. With the credentials we had been given from the London Media Centre, we wondered if we had some chance of getting into the opening ceremonies. But after calling the Centre… we took the excessive laughter on the opposite end as a bad sign.
Dinner at the VQ Lounge
Fortunately, our press credentials did allow us access to the invitation-only Olympic Opening Ceremony Barbecue event at the Rotunda Bar & Restaurant tonight. However, we are still going to take the tube to the West Ham station with high hopes of seeing something special in the Olympic village! We’ve all got our fingers crossed with excitement for the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympic Games!
Both Philadelphia and London are well known for their murals
Remember that time when you scored the winning goal and all of your friends and family were watching? How about the time you hit all the right notes at your first concert? There is no better feeling in the world. Interestingly enough there is a better feeling. Take that emotion and multiply it by 100 million and that is how the Olympic athletes are feeling. According to Nielsen, roughly two billion people watched the opening ceremony in Beijing. Soon enough all eyes (possibly one third of the world population) will be on a very small subset of the population. Everyday that goes by we get more and more anxious about the opening ceremony.
One of the most exciting moments so far for the team was receiving press credentials. Even in my wildest dreams I would have never guessed that I would be on a team covering the Olympics.
Our press pictures are a little strange to be honest. Not the best quality. You can’t win em’ all.
While we have been preparing for this trip for months, the pressure is on to write, film and edit our stories. Work can definitely be stressful but as a team we are discovering each other’s strengths and building on them. We are all very resourceful people, and we’ve already learned to use our resources on the team. For example, I’ve never done voice over work before and instead of making feel like an idiot, my team mates walked me through different conventions. I’ve never felt more out of my comfort zone, but somehow we created a great product.
This trip is not just about work. We have had some pretty fun times already. Covent Garden is full of markets and street performers. One that stood out the most to me was an old tin man who could somehow float on air. He kissed women too. That was awkward. His name was probably Karl.
We have also had an amazing experience with London architecture. While the buildings are gearing up for the Olympics, there are plenty of establishments who will not use the games as a form of advertisement. The Apple Store at Covent Garden exudes classical drama. The glass staircase and huge exposed brick walls, the oversized displays were all breathtaking.
Good Morning! We are getting ready for a busy Thursday here in London. First we are going to take a walking tour of Abbey Road, where the famous album cover of the Beatles was taken. This is going to be about a two hour tour and then Jake will interview our tour guide for a story that will come up in a later week. After, Isabel and I are going to interview a few volunteers that usually work for our host organization, Foundation for International Travel. They are allowed several days off per year to volunteer and this year, 3 of them are volunteering at the Olympics. This will also be a story for an upcoming show.
Then the Olympic TORCH will be passing right through our area of South Kensington and we won’t miss that. And finally the most exciting part of our day will be to actually do a LIVE SHOW!!!!!! We are very excited (and a little nervous) and can’t wait to get this first show under our belt. Hope you all will be watching!
My road to the Olympics so far has been quite odd. Starting off in Virginia might have been the biggest mistake. My flight was set to layover in North Carolina, but of course that was delayed. I was then re-routed to my home town, Philadelphia. That plane needed “maintenance”. This wasn’t my first time traveling out of the country but to make matters more interesting, the woman next to me decided to hum her favorite song, the entire time. After arriving in London, the Picadilly line was closed which meant an extra hour until I arrived at the flat. Rough traveling usually guarantees an amazing experience once you get there, but it sure was weird.
None of that could trump the strange feeling in the air. Have you ever been in a room during an intervention? The calm is unbearably eerie. Intentions are great, but you know at any moment the person being confronted could snap. That is how I feel after day one. London is beautiful as always, the architecture, the tourists, the traffic, but something is off. There is nothing normal about this day. It is my first day here after a long plane ride and I expected riots in the street, flags flying everywhere and wild animals chasing pedestrians. None of that happened. Today was similar to a summer day in New York. Busy but not unbearable. Hustle and bustle but no disturbance.
Something ain’t right.
Just like an intervention, it starts off calm but at any moment things can erupt. Everyone here walks through the streets as if they don’t know that London is about to explode. Let us not pretend that the biggest Olympic games are about to take place in the world’s most posh location. While I am worried about safety I am more worried about this:
Re-learning how to walk. I was in Europe last summer but I haven’t been to London since 2010. London reminds me of New Jersey, driving on the wrong side of the road and constant use of unnecessary horns. I cannot imagine what this city will be like when the Olympic lanes get blocked off. I know I should’t get the award for world’s best pedestrian, but Londonites will never get the award for most cautious drivers.