Sunday, 7 August 2011

MBC UK Auditions - The Aftermath!

Yesterday was the MBC Auditions in London, and I have to say I can't remember the last time work was so much fun!

As a big K-Pop fan, I was delighted when I was asked to help out with the project. It's been a bit stressful at times; calling people around the UK and Europe making sure they're still attending, writing e-mails, not hearing back from people, trying to sort things out a.s.a.p, organise some filming... it's been one hell of a ride! I thoroughly enjoyed helping out with all the organising though - a massive thank you to Martin who trusted me enough with the job and gave me the chance. I hope I did you proud!

August 6th seemed so far away when I was asked to help but all of a sudden it seemed to come round in a heartbeat. Excited, I jumped on a London bound train and arrived at Westminster Central Hall at quarter to nine in the morning.

There was hardly anyone there and for a while I was the only English person around! More Korean workers came in after some time and Martin gave us a tour around the building...all in Korean I might add! After the tour he explained a couple more things in Korean while I just kind of stood there trying to stifle my giggles. I really had no idea what was going on! Eventually he went silent and looked around the room, so I assumed that the last thing he said was "Are there any questions?" so I sheepishly put my hand up and said "Can I have a translation in English please?" which made quite a few people laugh! Thankfully some of the Koreans knew English!

It was exciting watching all the cameras being set up, and looking around me I couldn't believe I was part of such a big production. Bit hard to believe I was working for a Korean TV channel and that all of this was going to be aired in another country! And the fact that I helped organise a few bits too. It was just really special to work behind the scenes and see it physically come together, and come together so well! 

Some of the crowd outside
My post was on the registration desk where I would sign in the English and European contestants. We had an excel sheet on our laptops that had a list of all the contestants who applied; we had to find their application, staple their consent form to it and then give them a number. I'd like to say it was easy,  except that we often had trouble with the application forms! Sometimes they weren't in a folder so we had to print it off instead, or sometimes their application wasn't on the system at all so they had to fill out a new one. I think a lot of pens mysteriously went missing...

Anyway, after a short while everyone was gathered onto the top balcony so they could film the contestants chanting in Korean. (Martin was great at getting everyone's attention -  considering he's so little it's surprising how much his voice can BOOM. Mind you, it was a bit echoey...anyway...!)
Shortly after they gathered everyone into the waiting room so they could watch Shayne and Hyung Woo-Cho perform a duet together. They were both contestants on the previous series; Shayne's from Canada and Hyung is from Korea, although he did live in Surrey, England for about 4 years if my memory serves me right, so his English was very good!
I watched some of the performance and a camera man clocked me. He said he knew who I was, which was very bizarre! Turns out he knew of the videos I took at Abbey Road Studios when SHINee came, and said he'd like to interview me! He gave me his business card so I need to get in touch with him at some point...very cool and very weird at the same time...In fact, I had a couple of Korean TV camera crew people saying they recognised me. I'm really not sure how! One said he thinks he saw me on TV...I did appear on Korean TV for like a split second once, but that was it! Very, very bizarre!!
After that the signing in commenced! It was a real buzz, really loved it. Everyone that was working on the desk was so lovely and friendly too which made the whole experience that much more awesome, so thanks everyone! It was fantastic to work with you all.


Folders upon folders...

Contestants on balcony!

Contestants in waiting room watching Shayne and Woo-Cho sing

Shayne and Hyung Woo-Cho
Soon it began to die down as most of the contestants had gone into the waiting room. We decided it was time to grab some lunch so we went to the staff room (Shayne warned us that the vegetarian sandwiches were "horrible", haha! Thanks Shayne. Maybe next time you should try the non-vegetarian variety as you're not a vegetarian?! Funny boy! I personally thought the ham sandwiches were quite good...)
The MC - Sang-Jin Oh - was in the staff room at a table on his own playing his guitar (although I didn't know it was actually him until I saw the orange jeans. I was teasing and saying to the girls how he was just attention seeking because he was playing guitar - jokingly of course - and then I saw it was him and realised he understood English perfectly. I hope he didn't hear me and think I was being serious...!) Eventually Hyung came in and sat down with us to have a chat, and then the camera man who knew of my videos came in too and joined us. Turns out he actually got my videos from SM ENTERTAINMENT THEMSELVES?!? I think I nearly died!

After that it was more work time! More signing in...and after a while there wasn't really anything to do at all. Shayne came to reception and sat next to me, laughing at all the British expressions I kept coming out with and used a laptop on the desk to surf the internet!

I began to wander around to see if there was anything to do elsewhere. I found some co-workers in the waiting hall, where I also saw Hyung and Sang-Jin. The girls convinced me to have a picture taken with both men (I was shy - can you blame me?!) so I did! Sang-Jin put his arm around me and did the peace sign, and Hyung lent in and put his head close to mine as we posed for our photo. Many thanks to the girls that took the pictures for me!

Me and Hyung Woo-Cho
Me and Sang-Jin Oh

Major LOL at the Korean dudes behind us!

Soon after I got to chat with Sang-Jin for quite some time, about 15-20 minutes! He's a very nice, approachable man who loves his job - he's been to the UK about 4 times hence the good English skills! He said I should have auditioned...well, maybe I would have if I could sing in Korean!!

After more milling around, more banter with Shayne and more snooping at all the behind the scenes stuff, it was time to clear up!!


Hyung being being filmed with an auditionee
A massive thank you to all who attended, it was a very successful day! And it was great to finally put a face to a name too with some of you! Thank you to the team for all your hard work and enthusiasm, thank you to Martin for, well, everything!! And a massive thank you the Shayne, Hyung Woo-Cho and Sang-Jin for coming over; it was a pleasure and a privilege to meet you all! I hope to see you again in the future and stay in touch!

Me and Shayne
Congratulations to those who got through, and for those who didn't...better luck next time!! ;-) Hopefully the MBC Auditions will come again next year!!

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