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Behind The Scenes – Filming Lauren’s Story

Updated: Feb 16

After Trekfest, our recent fundraiser for rradar’s chosen charity Downright Special, we looked for alternative ways to support them. rradar offered access to our expert services alongside the creation of a video to assist in spreading the word of the fantastic work the charity does.

Watch the full video below and read on to get an exclusive sneak peek behind the scenes from our video producer, Stuart Wells.

‘They’ve changed our opinion on everything (…) I haven’t got any concerns now for his future. I’m quite confident that he’ll be independent, that he’ll do whatever he wants to do’

“The project started with a phone call. I spoke with Gillian, the charity manager, about what she wanted to achieve with the video and organised a pre-interview to get a deeper insight into what the charity does and what the average morning looks like. We organised a filming date and in mid-November, I attended a Downright Special Friday session, one of their regular meetings that supports children with Down Syndrome before they start primary school.

“After Gillian gave me a quick tour of the facilities, I had a few calm minutes to get the equipment set up before the children arrived and the place became filled with enthusiastic and excited little ones (apparently I was there on a quiet day!).

“It was a fantastic session to film – no matter what angle I set up, there were always at least three other shots I wanted to capture on camera, whether it was an interaction between parents over a drink or more of the children playing together. Even with an outsider’s eyes, it was easy to see the firm friendships and bonds that had been formed.

“Things got a little more structured with the children gathering for a snack (all the while Makaton sign language kept them engaged) and then splitting into groups to work with the specialist teachers.

“This gave me a moment’s breathing space but not much more. I quickly reviewed some shots to make sure everything was working properly and jumped back in, capturing a few shots of each lesson covering topics like phonics, counting and Makaton.

“It was a rush to get all of the lessons on film and set up for the first interview of the day. I quickly changed the mics, put together a pull-up banner and got ready to speak with Laura, an early years education specialist who works for Downright Special. This interview, although not used in the first video, was useful to capture and will be used in future Downright Special footage.

“Before the final activity of the day – the Magic Bag – I had a chance to speak to one of the long-time volunteers with Downright Special and a few of the parents. After a lot more shots of smiling and happy children, I prepared for my penultimate interview with Lauren – and it was so good that it ultimately reshaped the direction of the whole video.

“Lauren was, as almost everyone you interview is, slightly shy to talk to the camera at first but after a few silly questions by me and a couple of funny fluffs, we both relaxed and her heartwarming story came out. I won’t attempt to repeat it as I can’t do her words justice but she told her story about her beloved son, Toby, the challenges and worries she had and finding Downright Special. The day ended with recording an interview with Gillian and after warm goodbyes, I packed up and headed back to rradar.

“Immediately after the first review of the footage was complete, I knew Lauren’s story was too good to be just part of a general overview of the charity. Gillian agreed and was more than happy to focus the video around the testimonial – the edit was underway. Now editing in an open plan office is interesting and a lot of colleagues couldn’t help but stop when they saw the smiling faces on my screen. After a couple of days in post production, I had a draft ready for Gillian.

“It was truly a pleasure to work with Gillian, Lauren, the whole team at Downright Special and, of course, all of the families that attended. I’d heard a lot about the great work Downright Special does around the office but the chance to be so close to it was really an eye opener and it was a lovely project to work on. Thank you for the experience and for allowing me to produce this video for you.”

Stuart Wells, Video Producer


rradar is proud to support a regional charity that has such a huge effect on so many families’ lives in Hull and East Yorkshire. We are excited and committed to supporting them throughout 2017/18.  To find out more about the amazing things the charity does, visit the Downright Special website.

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