Big Book Media

We hope you enjoy reading our blog from Big Book Media, we write from our shoots in Morocco where we are currently filming the Gospels. We have been out on three shoots already and the footage is up on our website - We are going on our next shoot shortly so Shoot Four News will be along soon.

In the meantime we have details of what we are doing in the UK between shoots, we have an office in Brighton where the blog comes from when it's not from Ouarzazate - two very different locations!

Thanks for reading.

Big Book Media

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Filming the Gospels

Filming the Gospels
The Team in Ouzarzazate, Morocco

Friday, 18 December 2009

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Hi all, Maddy here with a pre Christmas blog from the Big Book Media office. Our website has been up for just over a month now and the films are selling well, here in the UK as well as in the US. We are kind of winding down for Christmas except we have Big Book Media Shoot Three happening in Morocco from 2nd Jan so there will be lots of work to do before then to make sure all the crew and equipment get out there ready to film, the crew are mostly leaving on New Years Day!

We had our Big Book Media Christmas meal on Thursday night with the team from the Brighton office, we all went down to a tapas restaurant in the lanes in Brighton, it's called Casa Don Carlos and we had a really lovely meal, food was great, the atmosphere was too and we all enjoyed ourselves. As we were leaving it started to snow so we hurried to our homes to beat the downfall. David our Director said he really had to battle as he lives out past Heathfield and it was really falling hard as he got nearer home. Photo on the left our of our office windows of the snowy buildings on the street below the office!

Today the team was a bit depleted in the office as those of us living outside of Brighton couldn't travel in
to work as there was a lot of snow in the night. I worked from home today - on this blog amongst other things!
Charlie, Li
z, Tim and Robbie made it in and tied up work for the week. David was due to go up to London but had to abandon his car shortly after setting off as the snow was just too deep in deepest East Sussex! Alec, Amory and Hannah wondered what all the fuss was as they didn't have much snow in central London!!

We'll be in early next week to try and get as much done before the days off over Christmas and hopefully get Shoot Three all sorted and ready for the 2nd. Charlie has b
een working really hard to get everything finalised, she's been working with Huw who is going to go out on the shoot and look after production and also Sarah who is our new Production Accountant in the office.

Well that's it from me for now, next post will prob be from the shoot early Jan so until then hope you have a wonderful Christmas and 'speak' to you in the new year.

Maddy, photo of me on the left with Liz's son Jonny!

Monday, 23 November 2009

And We're Off to the Races

Hi all, Robbie here with a blog from the Big Book Media office, I am blogging today as our website is fully up and running and from today you can buy our films online. I am also including with my blog some of our press coverage that we have had recently, links to the longer articles and clips of the shorter ones.

The articles written by Bess Twiston Davies from the Times Supplement and Toby Cohen from The Church Times have both been published and we have also had articles in a few other publications and mentions in the Guardian.

The website is now up and running and you can buy downloads or DVDs of our films and see sample clips and our Christmas cards etc..
We have been busy in the office sending out stock, marketing the films, working with Big Finish Media who are marketing our products in the US, sending out Big Book Media information packs to people interested in the company and the films, press, churches, etc.. and planning our next shoot which will happen early Jan.

The film crew are going to be going out to Morocco again at the beginning of Jan to film Shoot Three
for us and we will have the films from Shoot Two up on the website in the new year.

I will be working hard with Alec for the rest of Dec and then in the New year on our Marketing and support for the films, websi
te and ideas for 2010.

The photos in my blog are me at the top at my desk in the Brighton office! Then photos of our DVDs - The Nativity main version on the left and children's version above.

I will blog more in the new year.


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Launch Party

Hi all, Maddy here blogging about the Big Book Media Launch Party. We had our launch party on Tuesday night in London at St Matthew's Church, Westminster.
The photo on the left shows Diane Louise Jordan with Hannah at the party and on the right David doing his speech with Hannah and Tim at the side.

The whole Big Book Media team traveled up for the day to arrive at the church at midday to help with setting up and all the prepar
ations for the evening function. I traveled up with Hannah's sister Jill from Sussex, Charlie, Robbie & Tim drove up with cars loaded with drinks, screens, glasses etc! We also had David, Hannah, Alec, Amory, Katy (photographer from shoot one), Kathy (photographer from shoot two), James (Pro Asst from shoot two), Peggy (Hannah's Mum!) all there to help out with the many jobs setting up and making sure the night went smoothly.
We made up canapes from some lovely Moroccan food bought in Goldborne Road London and from a couple of other places - we had little kofta skewers and chicken kebab skewers, stuffed vine leaves, spicy Moroccan pastries and also olives, stuffed apricots, salted almonds etc.. The food must have been good as a few people asked who the catering company was! We had champagne for guests and a pomegranate and sparking water drink as the non alcoholic option!
The photo on the left is Charlie working hard at the launch but smiling as ever!
The photo on the right is Hannah, Trevor and guest at the party.

We took display screens to the church and put up stills photos from our two film shoots, examples of Guy's 3 Wise Camels Sunday School materials, information about Big Book Media and Hannah and David. So that people could see and read about the background behind the company.
We also had TVs showing our filmed f
ootage on a loop and a large projector and screen to show the main filmed clips on. Amory had put the music he created for the film onto disc so that was playing when the films weren't showing.
Robbie was doorman with his guest list which he knows by heart! It's going to be his specialist subject on Mastermind!!
Then when the evening started we had drinks and canapes at 6pm while people arrived and mingled. Then at 7pm w
e had three short speeches from Hannah (Producer), David (Director) and Trevor (Consultant) giving information on Big Book Media, the filming of the productions in Morocco and the use of the films in churches, Sunday schools etc..Then the films were shown we showed the Annunciation, The Blind Man, The Magi, plus our promo film which is on our website
Then more of our films were showing on the smaller TV screens on a loop - eg The Nativity.
The last photo below shows Selva our actor who plays Jesus in the films with another guest, Selva has our Big Book Media folder with company information and DVD of the promo on his lap!
After a successful night it was back to Sussex to get some sleep. Maddy

Thursday, 12 November 2009

It's a Wrap for Shoot Two

Hi all, Charlie here with my last blog from Big Book Media Shoot Two - it was our last day the shoot today!
James finally managed to pull himself from his bed today, he was adamant that he wasn't going to miss the last day of filming!

In addition
to it being the last day of our shoot Hilary Clinton was due to visit Ouarzazate today to meet with the King. There were flags absolutely everywhere and lots of security - Ouarzazate was under lock-down, they even turned off all internet connections in the whole of the region for security reasons!
I feel much better today which is a big relief as there is plenty to do today and lots of filming to get through so we can wrap and finish with everything completed.

We started off filming back at the barrage, we were working with fish today - not the best of animals to direct but we did well and got the shots! Unfortunately due to the very thick weed in the water one of our boats got tangled up and the dingy boat we had could not get the main boat out of trouble, it just wasn't big enough. Both myself and Hamid spent some time sourcing another boat - which is pretty hard in the middle of the desert! Luckily we found a bigger and more powerful boat from the golf club a few miles up the barrage but alas whilst it was traveling to our location it too got stuck in weeds! In the end our boat managed to come unstuck and filming was resumed!
After we wrapped at this location we then went to a small oasis where we did a few pick-up shots in the olive grove with Jesus and his disciples. It only took an hour to get the shots and then we finally wrapped Shoot Two which I found very euphoric and satisfying as all had gone very well - I even shed a tear of happiness!

After we had finished up we all met up in the evening and Hannah took us all out for dinner at a lovely French restaurant and we ate delicious food and had toasted the success of Shoot
Two - my toast was with water (still in recovery!). Tomorrow its the long haul trip across the Atlas Mountains which takes four hours to get back to Marrakesh and then back to the UK until the next time!! Charlie

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Water Water Everywhere

Hi all, Charlie back on set still feeling pretty rough but over the worst of the illness. James is still ill and unfortunately it looks like Deane might be getting ill so we're really hoping the whole team doesn't go down with this bug.
Shooting has still been going really well, so apart from a few of us getting sick things are going really well this shoot. Bess and Toby are out here for a couple of days from The Sunday Times and The Church Times respectively. It's exiting to have press on the shoot this time.

Today we were filming on the barrage which is a reservoir just outside Ouarzazate, the photo on the right shows this and the one above shows one of our boats - we had two boats on the water courtesy of Mike in the art department that look fantastic. We also had a floating pontoon built for filming on the water which meant we could be flexible with our angles for shooting and get all round the water scenes.

In addition to this we filmed using a smoke tent for close ups of Jesus, Moses and Ellijah. This was done by our Second Unit which was Deane (DTI), myself and one of the Moroccan Gaffers. James was too ill to make it back onto set and it looks like Deane is coming down with whatever we have caught.
As for the mosquitos which have been really bad on this shoot they must have been feeling sorry for me as I didn't even get one bite today - but everyone else got really really bitten - even those who had used whole cans of insect replellent to try and keep them at bay!!!
The photo on the left is one of the actors in the smoke tent!

There was a beautiful sunset today which Ben caught on cam
era as we were packing up - the whole sky went red! Photo below. That's it from me today, going straight to bed as still feeling very run down having been ill so a good nights sleep will fix that. Charlie

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The Press Gang

Hi all, Liz here with some news from the shoot. I have been told that today two journalists, Bess from The Sunday Times and Toby from The Church Times have arrived in Ouarzazate to see what our shoot is like and will write an article about it on their return.
I'll post the articles on the blog as soon as I get them. I am blogging today as unfortunately Charlie and James are still ill and off the set at the moment. They have both been quite ill so our first proper illness on a Big Book Shoot, we got away with no bugs last time we were here.
The photos ab
ove and right show Hannah our Producer with Toby and Bess watching filming from the side of a set and also the team on set on the easyrig shooting a bit of our film.

Trevor our consultant has arrived out with Toby and Bess to accompany them on the shoot and show them around and they'll be here for a few days. Then we'll have articles in both the Times and the Church Times.
Trevor, Bess and Toby will be on the shoot for three days, watching filming
going on, speaking to the crew and cast and generally taking in the shoot experience.

In the meantime here in the office we are all working hard getting ready for the Big Book Media launch party which will be happening as soon as this shoot is over, Alec, Amory, Tim, Robbie, Maddy and I are all working on invites, projectors, screens, food, drink, displays, filmed footage to show, music, press packs, BBM folders etc.. all for the night.
The launch party will be in St Matthew's Church, Westminster, we'll show three of our short films on a large screen, Hannah, David and Trevor will speak about the company, the ideas and the shooting of the films. We will also have
some smaller screens playing more of our footage on a loop so it can be viewed as guests walk round the church. We'll have photos from the shoot, behind the scenes and shots from the films up as well as information on Big Book Media and Three Wise Camels and the Sunday school support tools.
Then we'll be serving Moroccan themed canapes and nibbles and champagne of course! Hopefully it will be a great night.

The photo in the text above is Toby holding the red camera under Deane's (DTI) guidance, having a look at what taking a shot looks like from behind it. The photo on the right is David our Director and Ben our DOP (Director of Photography) on the side of a set having a quick break between shots.

Well that's all for now, sending best wishes over to Charlie and James and hope
that they get better soon and when they are able to they will blog with more news from the shoot.


Monday, 2 November 2009

Ouarzazate Belly

Hi, Maddy here again blogging from the Big Book Media office in Brighton. Unfortunately Charlie spoke way too soon in her blog about how smoothly the shoot is going as both her and James have come down with what looks like terrible food poisoning. So I'm going to blog about the launch party and Christmas cards and hopefully they'll be on the mend soon and will send more shoot news.

Liz has asked me to put the final Christmas card art work in my blog as she has been
meaning to post on this but the office has been really busy and she hasn't got it up yet. We have the actual cards in the office now! They were delivered last week and our first box is going out to Bristol Cathedral to go in their shop this week. Their are four cards in our box with a picture from the last shoot on each and gold foiled text over the picture with the quote from the Bible that the image depicts. Then the quote is mirrored on the back of the card in grey on black,they look really beautiful. I have put the artwork for each card on the right of this blog so you can see what they look like, then I will blog with a photo of the cards in my next blog.

In the office everyone has been working really hard on preparing for our launch party which is next week at a church in Westminster. At the launch three of the films we have made will be shown and champagne and canapes (Moroccan themed!) will be served. Robbie has been working the hardest of us all posting and e-ma
iling out invites and following up with phone calls. We have invited clergy and religious media groups who will hopefully love the films and think the products are great! We will also have displays up showing photos from each of our shoot of shooting and behind the scenes also the Three Wise Camels products that Guy the Illustrator has been working on - Sunday school packs and support tools and information on our website. So we have lots more to do before next week!

The final photo
in my blog is our invite which we have been sending out for the last couple of weeks. Maddy

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Kingdom of Heaven

Hi all, it's Charlie (Production Manager) here with my first blog from the second Big Book Media shoot, my job has been a much more lovely experience this time round. We have been working with a guy called Hamid who is my Moroccan counterpart and who has his own production company out here - 'Irene Productions'
(he is our Line Producer for the shoot).

Filming has been fantastic so far, we are having a really smooth shoot.

This Sunday was ou
r day off - I arranged a tour for Selva (actor who plays Jesus, James (Production Assistant), Deane (DTI) & Kathy (Photographer) to look at the 'Kingdom of Heaven' set and 'The Journey to Mecca' set which are both at Atlas Studios (which Mike, Art Director and Hamid created) and also a Jerusalem temple set at ECLA Studios. Deane was in heaven over how fantastic the sets were and how they had been created in terms of using the sun and light for filming!!

In the afternoon I bumped into Hannine in Ouarzazate town who is Mike's assistant in the art department but isn't working on this shoot for us as she is pregnant. She lives in Agadir but has come down to Ouarzazate which is her home town where her family live to give birth. There is a fantastic midwife in Ouzarzazate - she's called Rosie and is originally from Brighton! What a small world it always turns out to be. We are all wishing Hannine good luck and we can't wait to hear news of her baby.
The photo on the right is of Mike Fowlie and Hannine working on the last shoot.

In the evening myself, Hannah and Kathy went shopping for the UK Launch Event (which is on 10th Nov in London), our bartering skills were very very good, we bought some beautiful things. In the last shop where both Hannah and I bought bracelets they served us mint tea and called us both fatima's, which we found out is a very big compliment as it means our bartering skills are as good as the locals.
The photo on the left is Hannah in the last shop looking at bracelets and the photo is below is both myself and Hannah bartering!

After a very successful day off it was back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep in before the start of week two of shooting.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Another Shoot Birthday - Selva's Today

Today was a great day. I managed to learn how to fold a reflector. Now this may sound simple but trust me it's a skill! I've been working on my technique for the whole week and I've finally perfected it. We were shooting all exterior stuff today. Mike had created the most beautiful market scene. We also had the Donkey's back on set, although I don't think they were the same ones. I think these guys were new on the scene, much more relaxed and completely happy to pose for pictures and be interviewed!
Photo on the left is a piece of film memorabilia at Atlas Studios.

We then had lunch and another amazing cake (it was Selva's birthday - though he wasn't really celebrating it as he's saving it till he gets home and is with his family) and then continued with the exterior scenes. It was super from my point of view, seeing how the big productions are made. I'm used to shooting in a single room so to have all this amazing space to play with just seemed too much. I don't know how David decides where to put the camera because there are so many beautiful positions to choose from. However the position that was chosen for the last shot of the day quickly got scrapped when David realised (by testing it himself) that the place he wanted to put the camera was on top of a very suspect fibre glass room, which you had to climb an even more suspect ladder to get to. We wrapped half an hour early. The Photo above shows Ben, the camera and some crew in the Ouzazate countryside setting up a shot.

In the evening we all went out to this funky little restaurant on the edge of a cliff. As you walked in there were pictures of all the famous people who had eaten there, including a photo of Laurence Fishbourne (the actor who was in the Matrix)! We had dinner on the roof terrace with a little speaker to provide music, we all had a fantastic meal and celebrated a great first weeks shoot.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Extra Illusions

Hi all, James here with a couple of days blogs as didn't get a chance to write in yesterday. Yesterday morning went really smoothly on set. We spent our morning doing hand-held shots of Jesus being mobbed by crowds of people.
The photo on the left is Jesus preaching to his disciples and the photo on the right is Deane with the Easyrig camera!
After lunch we did a sort of CGI shot where we kept moving our fourty extras to different parts of the desert and then we overlayed the shots we had taken to make it look like there were hundreds of people, really clever! After the CGI shots we did some more hand-held work and
then wrapped in the desert with enough time to go to another location - a small rural cottage. I stayed behind and helped Robin pack up, when we arrived at the cottage a bit later on we found that there had been a few problems as the cottage was owned by two brothers one of whom wasn't that happy about us filming even though it had all been pre-arranged and set up by Hamid our Line Producer with the other brother! In the end we were able to get our bit of filming done, after which we wrapped for the day.Today was our first day at the Atlas Studios, it was a very different shooting experience to all the locations shooting we have done so far - mainly because we had to light scenes for the first time which really slowed things down. We spent the morning in a synagogue which Mike Fowlie (Art Director) had built, it is really amazing. We had a light on the room and the whole room was filled with smoke to soften the light. It was pretty crowded in the room with about 20 extras plus the main cast and our crew as well as a track and dolly. The footage looks amazing some of the best film we have shot so far I think. We did our first official stunt in the movie with myself acting as stunt man before Selva (who plays Jesus) did the actual shot, it basically involves Jesus being thrown out of the synagogue which might not sound particularly dangerous but let me tell you I have a nasty little graze on my knee!!

Lunch times are different at the studio, instead of eating on set with lunch brought down we go and eat in the restaurant by our hotel right next to the pool. There are lots of posters up on the walls of all the movies that have been shot in this location like 'The Hills Have Eyes' and 'Kundun'.

After the lunch we spent the rest of the day in a small room for a scene with Jesus praying - it was strange but this scene which seems simple actually took the longest to shoot - trying to get that perfect shot meant that we ran over properly for the first time and ended up wrapping at 7 o'clock.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Happy Birthday to James

What up all! Well I have had a true birthday to remember.
Hannah, Charlie and I spent the mo
rning as extras dressed up in robes and sitting on the most uncomfortable floor ever, very prickly and lumpy! We spent all morning as extras on set - Hannah didn't let it stop her working though - she was on the phone between each take working hard on all UK projects. The photos are Hannah and Amp to the left and myself to the right! A great way to spend a birthday morning and I think when you see the film you'll agree that we made top class extras!!

After my morning of being an extra we had a break for
the best lunch ever - I was given a huge birthday cake (photo below of me and the large chocolate layered cake) and everyone sung to me (it was brill).
After lunch we went back on shoot and spent the rest of the day shooting on a robin crane. We used this for the sweeping shots of Jesus walking over mountains.
We have over 50 extras on set and the diva donkeys were back today! Kathy the Photographer spent ages trying to get a picture of them but they're moody and very uncooperative and were not willing to play the game at all! It was pretty hot today and tomorrow is supposed to be boiling hot so I will be in full sun cream and hat.

Thanks so much
to the Big Book office for my lovely card and present it really has been such a amazing birthday - won't ever forget it! More updates tomorrow but until then I'm off to have a relaxing birthday evening.

Hi Liz here with a little additional bit of info to James's blog. A little update on what the Brighton office have been up to while the Production Team are away. Amory and Tim have spent the week up at Halo in London doing the final post work on our films, so we haven't seen or heard too much from them - they are holed up there and not allowed out till they finish!!
Alec, Robbie and I have been e-mailing, posting and phoning people inviting them to our launch party. The photo on the left is Robbie by a pile of invites with a Big Book Envelope label on his forehead!
We have more work on this tomorrow and next week.
We are having two parties - one in London and then also a smaller one in Brighton so lots of planning to do for those. Alec has also been up with our website company in London getting that ready to go fully live at the end of October.

I have got a pack of our Christmas Cards from the company 1973 so I will put a picture of those in tomorrow's blog along with the final 3 Wise Camels logo which Guy has finished working on,he's now working on our Sunday School packs.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

''Another Time, Another Place, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes''

Hi again, James here with my blog from day two of the shoot, it didn't rain today which was a pleasant surprise for all of us! We spent our morning shooting in a local town called Fredragon, which went really well but we overan on time which was a bit frustrating for the local people here in the town - there was a build up of tractors and donkeys around us by the end of the shoot all waiting to get on with their work.
The photo above is myself, Mbarek Mahmoudi and Kathy in a car early morning on the way too set - hence we are bleary eyed, especially Kathy though that may have been the camera flash in her face!! Mberek is a famous Moroccan actor.
The photo on the right is Hannah on set - she sensibly has her socks over her trousers to try and keep the mosquitos out which worked to a degree but they are super mosquitos so not foiled that easily!
The mozzies attacked all of us today when we headed out into the desert this afternoon to shoot - they really are evil, we all have very bi
tten legs and ankles, Kathy has been hit badly with short trousers on (she won't make that mistake again!) and also Selva our Jesus has taken a bit of a mozzie battering while being filmed at the top of the mountain in the desert. Photo of Selva below on the mountain.

After an excellent lunch we did a lot of crane shots and all got blinded by the smoke machine (hence my reference to Bryan Ferry's Hit Song in my blog title!), but it looks amazing on camera so well worth it! I am going even more pink I've lost my sun cream so will have to try and get some more, Charlie offered me her sun oil, but I wasn't that sure about that so I left it and am even more pink now - I'm pretty sure it will go brown, at least I hope it will - the Moroccan crew here are already comparing me to Ricky Martin!!
After a break for a fa
ntastic custard & apple cake we did the last shot of the day.
This was a time lapse shot which had Jesus sitting in the same position for about 15 minutes!
The photo below is of Deane and the smoke machine with clouds of smoke coming out!

All in all I have had an excellent day and we even wrapped 10 minutes early! Speak to you tomorrow!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Mud Mud Glorious Mud

Well not the title I thought I would be using for my first blog for the second Big Book Media film shoot in Morocco but given that I have been the wettest today that I have ever been in my life it is definitely the most appropriate! James here (Big Book Media Production Assistant - photo of me on the left with clapper board) blogging and trying to dry out after a wet day in the desert!

As well as getting soaked through I am also as red as a lobster, so have managed to get both soaking wet and sunburnt all on one day - I've done well! We got caught in two monsoons while shooting today - we spent all day jumping over rivers of rain working their way through the once dusty now muddy landscape and sheltering under trees when the rain got really heavy to try keep out of it a little bit (not that it worked really as we all still got soaking!). The photos above are Ouzazate and the mud before the rain and on the right hand photo rain clouds gathering above our team!

The weather put filming behind a bit so we had a quick ten min lunch and then Deane our DTI guy, Charlie and myself put together a second unit for filming to go out and re film an earlier scene which needed a re-doing. While the first unit carried on shooting through today's script. It came out really well.
The children who are amongst the extras on set seem to be having great fun - the
donkeys and pigs however not so much! Yet again whoever was responsible for casting the donkeys has given us another set of absolute Divas, they are terrible at taking direction from David (our Director!) and are making the usual outrageous demands (fresh lillys and all white scented candles in their dressing trailers - the usual diva stuff!). As for the pigs, well, it took ten guys six hours to catch them and there has been a lot of infighting so Charlie has had to have words with them all and threaten the end of their contract with us if there are anymore problems on the rest of the shoot. The photo above is of some of our Moroccan crew with all the pigs finally in a cart being moved to the set.

All in all I had a great first day, and even though everyone got very wet and muddy spirits are high and the footage looks great. My last photo shows Kathy our photographer's foot covered in mud having taken off her shoe at the end of the day!
I will e-mail again tomorrow with more shoot tales but for now I desperately need to wash off my days mud and get ready for a potential lot more tomorrow!