Public image II

ON THE basis that anyone who’s anyone has a YouTube video to promote their show, I reckoned it was time I got one to plug The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide. It’s impossible to capture the flavour of the Edinburgh festival unless you’re actually filming in August (and even then, it’s not an easy thing to do), so I had the challenge of how to suggest the idea of the Fringe even though it was a grey day in January.

It was my wife who suggested the solution. The video could be about the transformation of the city, focusing on various places around town that are evidently not buzzing with festival life and describing how much they will change. If you’ve never seen it happen, you have to take my word for it, but change they do.

Making the video took two attempts. I went out with my son last weekend and, in theory, got all the shots we wanted – views of the city, the Fringe Office, the Underbelly, the Bedlam Theatre, the Gilded Balloon, the Pleasance and the Stand Comedy Club – but we set out too late in the afternoon and it went from light to dark in the couple of hours we were out. Although this did mean some rather nice shots of Teviot House (aka the Gilded Balloon) with a changing pattern of coloured lights projected on the facade, it left us with some pretty gloomy footage and potentially confusing continuity problems.

It meant more work, but it was to our advantage. I was able to knock up a rough version of the video and identify its strengths and weaknesses. By the time, we headed out again yesterday morning, we had a tightened up script and a better sense of the images we needed.

I was still useless at remembering my lines to camera – you can see me stumbling over them on the finished version – but with a separately recorded voice-over, I think I just about got away with it. The shots of me wandering around town rather stiffly are a bit cheesy, but I hope it gives some sense of the atmosphere of the city and puts a human perspective on the book.