BFI Musicals!

The BFI is hosting the UK’s greatest ever season to celebrate film musicals, at BFI Southbank, on BFI Player and at venues across the country. Running from October 2019 to January 2020, I was asked by Film Hub Midlands – who are coordinating the BFI Film Audience Network activity – to promote the launch of the season at Chapter in Cardiff.

And this wasn’t any old launch – this was a Singin’ in the Rain’ flash mob. We didn’t manage to organise the rain but the people of Cardiff turned out in force. I secured a spot on BBC Radio Wales’ Wynne Evans show (and Wynne, as usual, really got into the spirit of things), a feature on Cardiff Local TV coverage on their all-new format evening show as well as a Wales 247 item.

I’ve worked as a public relations freelancer on film projects since 2015 when I worked with British Film Institute on the Britain on Film project. Since then, I’ve also teamed up with Film Hub Wales to promote various seasons and projects including Anim18 – a year long celebration of animation across the UK – and Inclusive Cinema which supports exhibitors to engage with diverse audiences.

Mind Cymru stories

I love interviewing people and listening to their stories and experiences so I was really pleased when Mind Cymru approached me to write five first-person blogs.

The stories focussed on each person’s experiences with the charity and, in some cases, their own mental health problems.

It is a good example of a piece of work which required good listening skills, a tactful and sensitive manner and copywriting which brings the story to life but also adheres to a house style.

If you have a profile or case study copywriting project, I would love to work with you. Perhaps you have an awards ceremony coming up with nominees and finalists to shine a light on? Or, like Mind Cymru, perhaps you need to bring people’s stories to life on your blog?


Westfield Health British Transplant Games 2019

The Westfield Health British Transplant Games is a four day multi sport event. It descended on Newport in July 2019 attracting around 950 transplant recipients representing hospitals from right across the UK.

The brief? To lead on social media at a UK level and wider communications at a Wales level, raising awareness of organ donation and the need for everyone to have the donation conversation.

What I did:

  • Gathered and successfully pitched inspirational human interest stories to key media
  • Encouraged a sense of community across digital channels encouraging athletes, partners and spectators to share their experiences and training updates as well as advice to first-timers
  • Maximised the official media partnership with the South Wales Argus, developing content throughout the build-up and during the Games itself
  • Managed a volunteer media team, tasked with gathering social content during the Games

Successes:

  • In excess of 70 pieces of media coverage including 11 items of broadcast coverage. Early on in the campaign, a series was negotiated with BBC Radio Wales to follow athlete Lewis Evans. Features also appeared on BBC Wales Today, ITV Wales news, S4C’s Heno magazine show and Newyddion.
  • Six double page or full-page features in the Western Mail
  • Regular coverage in the South Wales Argus culminating in a 16-page Official Games supplement
  • The launch of an Instagram feed which grew to almost 600 followers by the end of the Games
  • On Twitter, 884,000 impressions and 16256 profile visits in a five month period
  • On Facebook, a total reach of 180,271 in a five month period and 1495 reactions on the third day of the Games

World Boccia Championships

The BISFed 2018 World Boccia Championships were held at Exhibition Centre Liverpool from 12-18 August, attracting around 180 athletes from 32 nations. The World Championships is the biggest event on the calendar for the Paralympic sport of boccia – after The Paralympic Games.

The brief? To lead on communications and media, driving awareness of the event, the sport of boccia and its benefits as well as gaining exposure for the British team over a seven month period.

What I did:

  • Created key media moments around the launch of ticket sales, a £32000 local legacy masterplan and the announcement of the British team, engaging key partners and local schools
  • Devised compelling content and feature material to share with media and key partners such as International Paralympic Committee and Paralympics GB
  • Built an engaged online community before and during the Championships, encouraging athletes, partners and spectators to share their journeys via social media
  • Commissioned an animation studio to develop a one-minute film explaining how boccia is played to be used in pre-event promotion and to be used as part of the event presentation
  • Pitched athlete interviews to key media directly before the event
  • Managed the mixed zone, published and shared daily updates (British and international) and created a social media stream capturing all the action and atmosphere of the Championships

Successes:

  • 116 pieces of media coverage generated – including a BBC Breakfast feature item, a BBC Breakfast sports bulletin piece, a guest on Radio 4’s Saturday Live programme (for an hour and a half!), a one-page feature in The Guardian, regular updates on the BBC Sport website, features on BBC Wales, BBC Scotland and BBC Northern Ireland as well as coverage within disability media outlets such as Agility Magazine
  • Awareness was also raised regionally with coverage generated in Liverpool media outlets such as Liverpool Echo, Granada TV, BBC North West and Radio City
  •   Instagram following grew from 58 to almost 500 over seven months
  • In the four weeks around the Championships, the Facebook page reached 16.9k people with 6.4k engagements. Meanwhile, I generated more than 400,000 tweet impressions.
  •  The International Paralympic Committee placed 32 pieces of content about the Championships on their website

What they said:

Boccia UK Chair John Dowson:

“Your contribution on PR both before and during the event was truly fantastic. Not only was that good for the Championships but this has really raised the level of engagement that the international federation will look to achieve in the future. Our GB athletes were universally appreciative of the profile raising that you led and they really enjoyed all the press, radio and TV interviews that they took part in. This has successfully raised the profile of the sport, now we need to maintain momentum.”

FILM HUB WALES & CHAPTER: ANIM18

In April, I was really excited to support Film Hub Wales and Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff in launching Anim18 – a UK wide celebration of British animation.

While much of my work can be done remotely, I really enjoyed zipping down to Cardiff for a media launch of Anim18. It was on the eve of Cardiff Animation Festival and we were able to explain what Anim18 is all about as well as provide a sneak peek of an exhibition of puppets and sets from the Bridgend-made horror comedy, Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires.

More than 30 pieces of coverage were generated, spanning specialist animation online news to mainstream media, including a double page spread in Western Mail’s Weekend Magazine.

Events run right through to November. You can find out more here.

COMMONWEALTH GAMES WALES

I’ve been to two Commonwealth Games (Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010) with Team Wales so when I was asked to write 250 profiles for Welsh athletes, I jumped at the chance.

I was squirrelled away researching and writing for quite a few months but it was an absolute pleasure to find out more about the athletes and help bring those stories to life. Take Anna Hursey for example. The 11-year-old who hit the headlines right across the world when she was selected to play table tennis for Wales.

They flew home with 36 medals and in the knowledge that they had entered the history books as Wales’ most successful ever Commonwealth Games team. Good work!

Maybe you have a team flying out to a competition or maybe you have award nominees you need promoting? If you have any profiles or case studies to write and need an extra pair of hands, I would love to help.

You can view the profiles here.

FILM HUB WALES: DEMENTIA FRIENDLY SCREENINGS

In September, I teamed up with Film Hub Wales once again to support Alzheimer’s Month and the promotion of dementia friendly film screenings.

To support cinemas right across the UK, Film Hub Wales – as part of the BFI Film Audience Network and supported by National Lottery funding – provides dementia-friendly guidance and training to cinema operators.

The project involved:

  • raising awareness of Film Hub Wales’ central role in providing guidance and resources
  • a calendar of key screenings to be promoted to Welsh media
  • equipping venues outside of Wales with tools and templates to undertake their own promotion
  • sourcing individual stories of those living with dementia that others can relate to

18 pieces of coverage were generated including four broadcast items. The key highlight for the campaign was the securing of a feature piece in The Guardian. Other highlights included a mention in the Mayo and Kermode Show as well as comprehensive broadcast and local coverage within Wales. The care audience was targeted via industry websites.

BFI COAST AND SEA

It was a huge honour to be commissioned by the BFI for the third year running.

600 newly digitised archive Coast and Sea titles, dating from 1898, were added to the Britain on Film online collection last June.

And, as in previous years, Wales offered some fantastic treasures including Clog Dance – a 1959 film set in Porthmadog which celebrates the Welsh tradition of clog dancing.

Many of the films have remained unseen since they were first shown so it is always a huge delight to help share these marvellous films to the people of Wales.

Coverage included a features on ITV Wales and Heno (S4C), a double page spread in the Western Mail as well as items on the Radio Wales Arts Show, Wales Online and in numerous regional and local newspapers.

WALES SPORTS AWARDS 2016

I was asked by Sport Wales this autumn to help support them on the Wales Sports Awards for the second year running.

It is a wonderful event, celebrating all that is good in Welsh sport. A collaboration with BBC Cymru Wales, it is also where Wales’ sports personality of the year lifts the trophy.

And once again, it was my job to interview the community finalists who all give up so much time to coach and volunteer in sport. The profiles were used as online content, to generate media coverage and even influenced the presenter’s script on the night. I love projects that involve interviewing people and writing human interest stories so it was a real pleasure to lift the lid on what makes these heroes tick!

BFI BLACK STAR

Last December, I worked once again with the lovely folk at Film Hub Wales – one of the BFI’s nine Film Hubs around the UK that aims to bring more films, to more people, in more places.

We were busy promoting the BFI Black Star season – the UK’s biggest ever celebration of black screen actors. In Wales, the celebrations took the form of The Proud Valley Wales Tour – an immersive tour of remastered 1940s classic, The Proud Valley.

The film was filmed on location in the Rhondda Valley coalfields and starred American actor, bass singer and Civil Rights activist Paul Robeson.

The highlights? Features on ITV Wales, BBC News Online and Western Mail, interview placements on two different Radio Wales programmes as well as a good geographical spread of coverage around the tour venues, hitting local and regional newspapers, blogs and local TV. Working alongside the BFI, who were responsible for national coverage, I also sourced a media friendly Welsh historian who was interviewed for Radio 4’s The Film Programme and The Daily Mirror.