Hollywood Unveiled: My Film Making Experience

It’s not often that we university students (or really anyone I suppose) get an opportunity to try other fields of expertise. However, in the mid-semester break of 2013 I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a part of a film.

Not a multi-million-dollar James Cameron undertaking, just a fairly low budget film designed to make people aware of the dangers that are inherent with overseas travel and to urge people to seek advice before they go overseas. The aim was not to specifically advertise the organization,, instead it says ‘seek advice before travel’. It was an interesting, exciting and enjoyable enterprise.

Because it was a low budget film, the actors were all volunteers and most of them were either drama students or amateur actors. However because, as was previously stated, they were all volunteers there was no incentive for many people to keep their commitments and often throughout the course of the filming we would get a call from someone saying  “I can’t do it anymore – sorry.” This, as you might imagine, caused major dramas. However, usually we’d manage to get someone in at the last possible moment.

We needed an Asian lady to play a Chinese store-owner at one point, but the person we had pulled out at the last minute. Luckily my aunt (who was the main talent scout) knew someone who could take over the role, so crisis averted there.


While we started with mainly actors of some form, we finished with reception staff, cleaning ladies, nursing students (myself), science students (my sister) as well as a few other people.

 I asked a few of the drama people on college if they would like to participate, as if would be a great thing to put on a resume, however sadly no-one was particularly interested. How sad.

On the topic of the filming itself, it was incredibly fun. All the actors, as well as the film crew were funny people, and many of us would stand around cracking jokes and telling stories while we were waiting for the film crew to ‘get the light right’ or to fix angles or whatever it is that they spend forever doing.

The photo below is of us waiting in an airport to film a scene (which never even got used!) we were waiting around for nearly two hours. Boy, were we bored, we were all paying on our phones by the end. The man with the red shirt standing in the middle of the picture was our director.

IMG_1948I’ve got lots of photos from the different scenes, but they wouldn’t mean very much to anyone without me explaining what was happening in each photo – which would take a while.

 However, I will show you one more that I am somewhat partial too.

This third picture was taken when we were filming the Rabies scene. We spoke to a very lovely lady who agreed to let us borrow her pups for the day, and they were the sweetest things.


The completed video is now on YouTube with nearly 4000 hits. We’ve had lots of really nice feedback, and if you decide that you do want to check it out, the video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6oRXMW72iw.

My segment is after the Altitude Sickness bit and in the mosquito scene – I’m Malaria and my younger sister is Yellow Fever. I’m also in a few other scenes momentarily. Can you spot me?

That’s the story of my exciting holiday program, it’s a little different to most.

Hope you like the film if you do check it out,



Something Borrowed, Something Blue


Almost everyone knows of a science fiction show. Star Trek and Doctor Who are the big ones because they’ve been around for such a long time. Doctor Who for example, is the longest running sci-fi show ever. They’re celebrating their 50th anniversary this year (2013) as a matter of fact.

Readers who are unfamiliar with Doctor Who won’t understand the meaning of the title, so allow me to explain…  The T.A.R.D.I.S. is the spaceship of the show; its gimmick is that it looks like a blue police box. The Doctor ‘borrowed’ the T.A.R.D.I.S. from a museum back on his home planet when he first started his adventures because he failed all his exams and wasn’t allowed his own ship.

In one of the more recent seasons, the T.A.R.D.I.S. is described by the old wedding saying that you need “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue.”

Honestly I could talk about the semantics for hours, but since I don’t want everyone to know how much of a nerd I can be, I won’t.

Science fiction is a subject that is near and dear to my nerdy heart. To me it isn’t just about the aliens, but how does it relate to college, or indeed university?

To see how it relates, we have to travel back in time about fifteen years. When I was five, I was first introduced to science fiction through Stargate SG-1. A show that even today I enjoy. The most intriguing thing to me was Space, and travelling to new and exotic places – something I inherited from my mother.

I decided I’d be an astronaut when I got older.

I didn’t become an astronaut. However, I continued to dream about the stars and about travel. I started watching Doctor Who because my Mum watched it when she was little and wanted my sister and I to do the same. That’s how I became acquainted with Tom Baker (Doctor No.4) – the guy with the outrageous scarf.

Now here was this exciting alien, who traveled around earth having adventures and saving people with two big rules.

Number 1: Don’t use weapons i.e. Guns and

Number 2:


Both rules I liked and agreed with.

It was by this point that I was starting to gather a picture of what I wanted to do. My ultimate goal was to make the world a better place by me having been in it, and with a doctor as a mother I had already been exposed to medicine.

I wanted to travel and help people, and for me the natural leap was to nursing which brought me to University. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my course and found that over the past three years I’ve learned lots of new facts about caring for people.

For me, science fiction became the start of a passion that guided me towards my chosen career, with a little bit of help along the way from my parents of course.

The decision to go to university, or what one ultimately decides they want to with the remainder of their time on this little blue-green planet can have a very strange path.  Some come to university because family push them and others come because they don’t.

Whatever the reason or the story behind the university decision, it is an important one. While it might seem bizarre that I came to my choice through science fiction, it worked for me.

The advice that I offer freely today is to think hard about the field of study that one has chosen, how that choice came about and is it really something that you want to do.

It might just be a story out of this world.


(P.S. If you’re looking for a good book to read that’s a bit out of the ordinary – The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a good one)

Group Assignments

 You know them.
You love to hate them,
And no university blog is complete without them.

They creep from the shadows into courses you’d least expect, and force you to do things you wouldn’t normally do, associate with people you would normally have never spoken too. They destroy friendships and make our hair go grey.

Group Assignments…
Group assignment

For some unknown reason, teachers think it’s a good idea to group people who have never met and give them a task that involves working together and give them all marks based on the overall presentation…

The only positive about that scenario is that you don’t know anyone so you’re free to love or hate him or her as you desire. If you’re already friends with someone in the group, then things tend to get awkward when they don’t do any work and you have to whip them into shape.


However, there are methods to make sure people do what they are supposed to. The particular method that I favour is called a ‘Team Contract’. Basically, everyone writes their name and their allotted task then they sign underneath a couple of sentences that state that “if you don’t do your task then you don’t get any marks” – or something to that effect. A copy is posted on the forum so that everyone, including the teacher can see what you’re meant to be doing and if you’re actually doing it. It doesn’t guarantee that the work people do will be in any way good, but at least they do something.

I heartedly recommend Team Contract’s to anyone about to go into a group assignment. It makes the whole thing a bit more business-like. Plus then you can threaten to stick a lawyer on anyone who doesn’t pull his or her weight.

While not all nursing courses have big group assignments, most do have teamwork. For anyone who has done, or will do, an OSCE (which is the term used to refer to our exam where we dress up and give dummies medications, wound dressings, respiratory assessments or something along those lines) is probably the most hated thing in nursing.

Doesn’t matter if you’ve done the stuff a thousand times. When you’re asked to do a certain number of things in 20, 30 or 50minutes, with someone staring over your shoulder and coughing when you might not be doing something wrong – your brain shuts down and starts wailing like a three-year-old.

The first few OSCE’s that I had to do were done alone, and I confess that after my second one I had a bit of a cry because I couldn’t remember a single thing I was meant to do. But that has nothing to do with teamwork. In later OSCE’s, one requires a partner. This can be both a blessing and a curse – depending on the person. If you get a partner who is fairly confident and doesn’t let their nerves get to them, then the experience isn’t too bad. If you get one who is a nervous wreck then you become a nervous wreck and both of you do terribly. Not fun – let me tell you.

My motto with teamwork and group assignments is to expect the best and prepare for the worst. In OSCE’s for example, if you have to fake a bit of confidence then your partner thinks that you’re confident and that may calm them which will in turn calm you.

In group assignments, if you’re like me and worry that a certain person won’t do their part and be ready on the day then have a fail-safe in place. Don’t do their work for them though, because then that teaches someone they can get away with doing nothing. Before the talk, tell the teacher that so-and-so hasn’t fulfilled their requirements – show the team contract, and let the teacher mark the team based on who pulled their weight. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks, usually not everyone in the team is terrible.

That’s about all I have to say for now.

Here’s a funny picture for your enjoyment.
hokey pokey
Bye for now, Laura.