Sometimes the best events come from the simplest of ideas.
Ahead of the North London Literary festival, Middlesex students are hard at work at many creative endeavours. Though we hunger for news on the highly anticipated app, other creative committees and students are conducting their events earlier in more public forums.
On the 1st of February, a few intrepid equality and liberation activists or in other-words Middlesex University’s LGBT Society (MDX LGBT) banded together to create a Campaign Video.
I, the secretary of MDX LGBT, caught up with the President and Treasurer to find out more about why and how the video was created as well as their future aspirations for the Middlesex Society.
Pete: It all started as a simple idea, for a simple video black-and-white nothing too fancy – shot on campus to show everyone we’re here. The video kind of spiralled from there..
Mariam: How do you mean “spiralled”? And exactly when did the initial idea come about?
Tom: We’ve always talked about creating a video, as I study film and Pete studies music it seemed natural to create a video piece. The only major roadblock (other than the Loans department) was time commitments and getting people on board. I guess we finally started thinking seriously about the video in November or maybe early December. Basically we had a few quite challenging events on campus, which we don’t want to get into here as they are being resolved, but that kinda sealed the deal.
Pete: Yep, that sums it up really. “challenging events” more like they were all a labour of Hercules, or rather other’s thought they were a labour of Hercules when the events were anything but. But oh well, we decided in January to really kick off this project and have a video ready to show at Impact Week in early February. To really show the student population that we’re here, we’re all different, proud and don’t care about labels. Oh, and the fact the impact week and our enthusiasm for a video tied in with February being the National LGBT Awareness Month was fantastic. A stroke of serendipity.
Tom: Don’t say the tag-line!
Mariam: So how were you both feeling while filming? Did it go well, how many people turned up?
Tom & Pete: You should know..
Pete: (smiling cheekily) ..You’re the secretary you really should keep count or we’ll have to find someone else.
Tom: (also smiling cheekily) …Really Maz, you’re like a dental hygienist..
(Pete and I look at him incredulous)
Tom: (picking up on the confusion).. You know because they count teeth but the saying is all like they’re blonde and stuff..
Mariam: Ok going back to some questions, Tom, you were the director, editor, co-producer and all-round creative director of the film right? How did it feel as a Middlesex University student to shoot this piece on campus?
Tom: It felt absolutely amazing! I’ve been so busy with the academic side of things and I was so daunted by editing but I have to say I am more than pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. Don’t get me wrong there were lots of things that could and did go wrong, but the actual LGBT video? Well it’s a BEAST OF A FILM!
Pete: He worked like a maniac on a tight schedule but he was the best director I’ve seen. On the Friday, while we were filming he was all over the camera doing all the technical things while I worked with our lovely volunteers on the post-production side of things. Welcoming them, introducing or re-introducing them to the concept and getting them to fill in the props we would need. It was a long, long day but well worth it.
Mariam: You mentioned things going wrong.. care to expand on the problems you faced?
Tom: Well, firstly we were unsure if we could use the Grove Atrium, but bearing in mind our event was going to be held there, we decided to go ahead with the filming. It was a perfect outcome really, we made sure we started mid-afternoon so we didn’t disrupt classes or so that the noise from the Costa didn’t drown us out. Second huge problem was the fact that the 7-d camera we got in the end didn’t take SD. So we (well you Maz) had to run down to the Media Loans Department to buy that big wide card.. that was really close to closing time wasn’t it?
Mariam: Yeah it was a close call, I got there at 4.30pm and it shut at 5pm. Plus they didn’t take card so I literally ran to the Forum to draw out £30. All the guys in the arts shops downstairs found it hilarious.. I did too! But please continue. Pete, what problems did you face?
Pete: Well the biggest one was getting everyone organised with almost no working marker pens, when the only place to get pens on campus was the Spar shop and it had run out of stock. Then it was all about keeping the volunteers happy, entertained and put in one place. But other than that it was so great to meet new people, new faces and share interesting conversations and debates.
Mariam: So we’ve covered the how and when, and skimmed over a few reasons. But Why exactly did you decide as a society to create an awareness video?
Pete: Well, any LGBT society is all about awareness and what better way to do it than through the Visual Arts?
Tom: Plus we’re all in our third-year and so we wanted to leave a piece of us behind so to speak. As the chief committee members we’ve been worried about whether or not our society (the rumoured 5th attempt at a LGBT society at Middlesex University) will continue to be a part of the MUSU, the Middlesex University Students Union, or campus life in general. So this video is a legacy to leave behind with MUSU so that they can say there was a successful LGBT society who actively tried to engage with students about homophobia and other issues that surround the LGBT Community.
Pete: We’ve really tried hard this year to be more active as a LGBT society. In a way it’s been great that we are all on one campus, although I do miss the daffodils at Trent Park. Being on one campus has made me realise all student societies, not just LGBT have to be active in voicing their thoughts, opinions and concerns. And our biggest concern has been reaching out to other students, letting them know about our existence and how welcoming and un-exclusive we are.
Tom: Un-exclusive? Do you mean because we let Maz in?
Pete: No, lol, well yes. What I mean is how we may be the LGBT society but we’re not just here for LGBT people and issues. LGBT is all about non-homosexuals or non-queers too, when stonewall riots happened trans people were at the front and all people from all walks of life stood with them and that’s what we hope to show.
Tom: As the director my biggest worry was that the video wouldn’t reflect the aim. The aim being to show a whole array or people, or different identities and sexual identifications so that when we wrote “We don’t care” we meant we don’t care whether X is Gay, Y is Straight, Z is a Drag Queen. We care about people and building an inclusive and warm community at Middlesex University.
So there we have it folks, stay tuned for an upload of the final awareness video Post Production. But to keep you happy here are some teasers from behind the scenes:
Tom Stock will be publishing the Video under his production company titles ‘A Means Red Productions‘
MDX LGBT would like to let any readers know that if you are affected by this story or would like to get involved then please email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or Follow them on Twitter: @mdxlgbt
All Video: © A Mean Reds Production
All Photographs: © Peter Dillon.
Written by: Mariam Kauser
Studying: BA Hons Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. Third Year.