Thursday, 28 August 2008

Some QI Things

Firstly, my sincerest apologies for leaving you all in the dark for so long. There hasn't really been that much for me to talk about recently but we're now entering the build up for the next series and also Christmas. All this means that there will soon be lots for you to spend your hard earned cash on so that you can squeeze every last ounce of enjoyment out of QI.

Here's a run down of what you can expect:

1. September 1st

It's probably the most anticipated release from QI of the lot amongst the fans of QI. The best thing is that it's already on the shelves. This one really can't wait for the Christmas list.

Check out this video to get an idea of some of the slightly more surreal contents of the DVD.

Order from Amazon.

2. October 1st/November 17th

Last year Stephen Fry jetted off to the USA for a tour of all of the 50 states to form a 6 part series that will air on the BBC this Autumn. The accompanying book goes on sale on October 1st and the series will be available on DVD from November 17th.

Pre-order the book on Amazon.

Pre-order the DVD on Amazon.

3. October 2nd

Justin Pollard - QI's resident historian releases the second of his quite interesting books this Autumn. I probably can't beet the blurb from amazon so here is what it's all about:

"It is a book about the smaller tragedies and triumphs of war - toilets that sink U-boats, unsporting attacks on Christmas day, armies that stop for tea, bombs on renegade balloons, drunk generals, blind kings, blind drunk generals, circular warships, and all the joy and misery that such things bring with them. "

Pre-order from Amazon

4. October 2nd

Have you ever been at that ever important dinner party or social gathering and embarrassed yourself when you just didn't have the right words to mind? Or perhaps you've committed a terrible faux pas when you were the only one that didn't know who originally said that amazingly funny line? Well if so then this book isn't just for you but a whole lot of other people too.

QI: Advanced Banter is more than 450 pages of funny and humorous quotes organised into an A to Z of 250 useful topics. You'll never be found wanting again when the moment is right for the witty one liner.
Pre-order from Amazon.

5. October 30th

Wonders of the Ancient World is Justin Pollard's second book to be published in the space of a month. Back in the days of the Romans and the great Greek poets, lists of the great wonders of the World were rather popular. Historical figures ranging from Antipater of Sidion to the Roman geographer Strabo created such lists but none of them had the luxury of travelling the world with the freedom that we have today. This book could quite easily be a travel guide for the time traveller who plans to visit all of the great wonders of the world in the past. But for the rest of us this book is a brilliant journey of the imagination to see the sights that would have adorned the ancient lists if only Boeing had decided to build the 747 a couple of millennia earlier.

Pre-order from Amazon.

6. November 6th

This one truly is primed for your Christmas list. If last year's annual is anything to go by then you really will have a whole year's worth of reading material here. As with the 2008 edition there will be lots of sections written by QI's many varied comedic guests and researchers, and potentially a few little snippets from the QI forum members.

* If you're hunting for it on the book shelves later in the year, do note that this is not necessarily the final version of the cover.

Pre-order from Amazon

7. January 8th 2009

The CD of the first series of The Museum of Curiosities, starring QI's John Lloyd and Bill Bailey will be available early next year. No album cover as yet, but that would give away who won the competition to design it.

*This post was edited on 01/09/08

Monday, 25 August 2008

QI Recordings: Behind the Scenes

Hi there. As some of you already know I’m a student of media and hoping to work in London one day. Through a series of delightful coincidences I was offered the chance to come down and have a look at how QI is made from a floor-managers perspective.

I arrived at the production office at precisely 12pm. After being given a special pass I was shown through the maze of corridors leading to the QI offices (and almost knocking poor Paul O’ Grady off his feet for which I do apologize). Having arrived in the office I was greeted by several members of the team and then it was down to business. I was shown the script and how the fact cards are produced.

One of QI's researchers (known as Flash to members of the QI forums) then led me through to have a look at the studio, which looked great. After being given a radio microphone I assisted the team with some sound effects that they were making (You’ll have to wait for the 11th recording to air to find out what they were). The whole process was fun, if a little messy. Then it was time for the first rehearsal . 5 stand-ins sit on set and read through the script as if it was Stephen and the guests themselves. This allows the video (VT) operators time to check their audio and visual effects and make sure they all appear on screen properly.

After a quick lunch it was time for the second rehearsal with Stephen. This is the time that Stephen Fry has to familiarize himself with the questions when the entire script is read through again.

The third rehearsal involves Stephen and the 4 guests, however it is NOT the same script that will be used when the audience are in. These are just a few teaser questions to warm the guests up and to allow the wardrobe staff to select shirts for them. It was made very clear to me that it is essential that the clothes don’t clash with the set or make the guest look too “washed-out”.

Dinner was provided for all of us after the fourth rehearsal, Fresh vegetable kebabs, hot rice and a delicious raspberry tart for afters. I was able to have a quick chat with the guests whilst we ate, and everyone was quite looking forward to the show. The guests then vanished off to their dressing rooms for make-up, whilst I nipped outside to see a few forum friends. I was then called back in to help with the set before the audience came in.

Despite what the audience saw on the night, a floor manager is a very busy person during the day. My main tasks when the audience were seated was placing the guests notepads up on set and making sure that the space behind set was free of obstacles. Then the show begins. When Stephen's microphone broke halfway through the show we had to call up for some sound engineers, they remedied the problem swiftly. By now I knew the script off by heart, having read it and watched it being rehearsed so many times in the seven hours before the show. However, the recording itself is an entirely different entity. There is such a huge transformation from a script of questions to what you see on the show.

All in all, I really enjoyed my time working as a crew member. The team have gave me priceless experience that will help me through my HND and I must wish a massive thank you to all of them.