As the first blog of the year (which also happens to fall on the most depressing week of the year) I thought I would try and provide a bit of inspiration. Every year at Material we are given an Inspiration Day. This is a day off work to do something that will inspire you to help with both your position and wellbeing.
Last October, I had planned to go down to London for a long weekend so thought I would take this opportunity to use my Inspiration Day and I went to the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour. As a huge fan of the series and working in Production this was the perfect day out. I’m not going to give you a blow by blow account as I don’t want to ruin it but I would recommend it for any fan or for anyone with an interest in production or film.
Although it was super fun running across the Hogwarts Bridge, hanging out the back of The Knight Bus and flying on a broomstick I did also learn a lot.
Firstly, they had a clear and engaging customer journey. From the minute you enter until you leave you are constantly engaged and there is a clear narrative to guide you through. The other take away I had from this was the level of detail in everything. In Snape’s dungeon, for example, there are tiny potion bottles at the very back which even the keenest eye couldn’t see yet they are all individually labelled with real ingredients meanwhile in Dumbledore’s office there isn’t a single book title which seems out of place. The one thing that really blew me away though was the scale model of Hogwarts. I knew it was coming but nothing could have prepared me for it. It was a lot bigger than I thought it would be measuring 50 feet in width. This model has been used for exterior shots in every one of the eight films. It has more than 2,500 fibre optic lights to simulate lantern torches and students passing through hallways and even has miniature owls in the Owlery and hinges on the doors.
I also found it fascinating how they played with perspective from filming Hagrid as giant (Don’t ask me how they do it as I won’t ever give away that secret) to hallways which are only a couple of metres deep but seem to stretch for miles.
Another area which I learnt more about was the animatronics and uses of green screen technology. A lot of what I assumed had been done by CGI in post production was actually built for filming.
I did have a fantastic day however I can’t give the studio tour full credit for my new found Inspiration. I also took a trip to Madame Tussauds, one of my favourite tourist attractions in the world having visited it in London, Amsterdam, Orlando and LA (I’m aware that this is quite a strange thing to love).
Again, from start to finish there is a clear customer journey with each room following a different theme and the amount of detail that goes into every figure is just amazing. The thing that really makes this experience so enjoyable is that it’s a fully interactive experience and customers can get up close and personal with the wax works, there is ride in a black cab through the history of Madame Tussauds and a behind the scenes experience where they show you how the figures are made.
All weekend I was finding things to be inspired by from a night in the Crab Shack, to a visit to China Town and even walking through the airport. I wondered if it was just London that had all these wonderful things however I then flew out to Mallorca – a place I know like the back of my hand – and again I was finding so many things that I was taking inspiration from
Since then I have visited The Enchanted Forest, I went to see ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ at The GFT, visited the Christmas Decorations at The Dome in Edinburgh and managed to ‘Escape the Room’ and I have left each and every one of these experiences feeling inspired!
Although my official ‘Inspiration Day’ only lasted one day it actually opened my eyes for months afterwards and I realised that inspiration is all around us you just have to look for it!
I hope you all have an inspirational 2016!