Maisie Adam, Jamie Redknapp, Romesh Ranganathan, Micah Richards, Patrice Evra, Mo Gilligan, you might have existed before, but you only appeared in my experiences on Aug/Sep 2022 when I worked with the production of the TV program “A League of Their Own“.
It was a fun, exciting and wonderful time, though also very busy and stressful to make everything happens.
Looking back, I still couldn’t believe we made that happen. I had 1-2-3 video calls per day plus contacting various of people, answer many emails and messages, thinking through many things and tried to not miss anything. Not everything went as we wanted, but magically, we got the shoot done.
It was my honor to have worked with:
- Terry and Matt at Asia Film Fixers
- Wonderful team of CPL Productions (Lauren Beth Morton , Rebecca Robinsons, James Longley, Amy Billing , Charlotte Valletta , Rowena, Rebecca Hutchison, Oliver, Adi, Molly etc)
- Press officers from Foreign Press Center (Mr. Giap, Mr. Hieu, Mr. Tuan and Mr. Long)
- Great team of local fixers (Ky Nguyen, Cecilia, Lam Ho, Thang Le and Thanh Tuong), and
- Luxperia who provided transportation services (Lan Le, Marie-Anne, Linh Le, Nghia)
and many people and groups we’ve contacted and communicated with for the filming:
- Street dance Bboy Le Hieu and his friends,
- Mr. Hoang Xuan Vinh – first Vietnamese Olympic gold medalist and Military Shooting Center;
- Mr. Dzung and Ho Tay boat club
- Mr. Bach Tan, Mr. Lac and Mr. Long and 40-ish Vovinam practitioners;
- Ms. Hien, Mr. Hoang at Hoi An Memories Show;
- Ms. Tham and Yaly Couture Hoi An (tailoring service in Hoi An);
- Mr. Uy (Nickname: Captain) – Jungle Boss Tours at Phong Nha;
- Jack Tran and basket boat team at @jacktrantours in Hoi An.
Thank you all for the wonderful experiences 😊 <3
From Aug 30/31 till Sep 8th, 2022, Hieu Nguyen, Thanh Tuong and I had welcomed and worked with a filming crew of 30-ish people from UK (producers, director, director of photography, camera operators, sound recordist, researcher, camera assistant, production coordinators, HMU, talent runner and 6 talents/celebrities) for a reality TV show in Vietnam. The preparation started just around 3 weeks before the shoot. It has been amazing that we can accomplish that much in such a short time.
From dragon boat racing in Ha Long bay, learning Vovinam with 50 Vovinam practicioners, learning shooting with Hoang Xuan Vinh – 1st Vietnamese Olympic gold medalist, closing bridge at Phong Nha, Gangnam style basket boat performance on Hoai river in Hoi An, and performance at Hoi An Memories show with Jamie Redknapp play the prince role, Maisie Adams as a biking woman, Micah Richards as soldier carrying a torch, Mo Gilligan as a rower, we have done it all. And with Patrict Erva being asked for signature and picture everywhere.
I’d like to thank: Asia Film Fixers (Terry Gordon, Matt Graham) for having me (and Thanh Tuong, Thang Le) in this project; Foreign Press Center – Ministry of Foreign Affairs for processing film permit, drone permit, official letters as well as communicating with local authorities, Luxperia for taking care of transportation; Ho Tay boat club, 50 Vovinam practitioners represented by Mr. Bach Tan, Mr. Long and Mr. Lac, Mr. Hoang Xuan Vinh and the Military shooting center, Jungle boss tour company, Jack Tran tours company, Yaly tailoring service, Hoi An Memories Show, local authorities and polices in Hanoi, Ha Long bay, Phong Nha and Hoi An, and all fixers from AFF team.
Preparation / Pre-production
The recce has been done before I joined in. I started joined in on Aug 3rd and have been taking care major part of the work, except transportation was taken care by Luxperia and Matt.
There are 2 main producers for this project, in which Lauren is in charge of stories in Hanoi and Hoi An, while Rebecca Robinson is in charge of stories in Ha Long bay and Phong Nha.
There were several stories were being discussed and developed for Ha Noi. One of those is a mini competition between the talents and Vietnamese Women Football Team. In the recce, the team came and discuss directly with the Vietnam Football Federation and they were welcoming as well as giving some great ideas. However, when we contacted to schedule for filming, they said they can’t join due to their schedule doesn’t allow.
We tried to contact Viettel Football Team as well but it was the same situation that they have too much practice, competition and travel that they don’t have appropriate time for joining.
Lauren then asked me to check 2 options:
+ The story of street dance Bboy Le Hieu; and
+ The story of Mr. Hoang Xuan Vinh – 1st Vietnamese Olympic gold medalist.
Ha Long Bay
The story in Ha Long Bay was the talents would race Dragon Boat on Ha Long bay and also experiencing a cruise travelling in the bay.
The story in Phong Nha would be the talents walk onto Chay Lap bridge, getting down from the middle of the bridge by rope-ladders, then drop themselves into the river. Then they would do a hike then finish by a camping at night.
The next morning they would travel to Hoi An on sleeper bus.
Although the entire program in Phong Nha is organized by Jungle Boss, one thing we needed to do is to close Chay Lap bridge, because if they want to tie the rope-ladders onto the bridge, that means other vehicles (bikes only) can’t pass it as well as it’s very unsafe for them. Also, it’s very unsafe for the talents and equipment when there are other people passing by on the bridge.
There were 3 main stories in Hoi An:
+ The talents tried basket boat ride and Gangnam style performance.
+ The talents tried to make a suit for each other; and
+ The talents to perform at Hoi An Memories show.
29th August – Monday: Travel – Production Manager, Series Producer, Line Producer,
2 Researcher, Assistant Producer, Jr. Producer,
2 Producers, Paramedic on location
30th August – Tuesday: Travel – 2 Camera Assistant, Series Director, Executive Producer, Digital Imaging Technician, Production Coordinator, Jr , Production Coordinator, Minicam Operator
31st August – Wednesday: Travel – Director of Photography, 2 Camera Operator,
2 Sound, Talent Runner,
Hair & Make up Artist, Lead Safety Advisor on location
1st September – Thursday: Talent travel straight to Halong Bay
GV day in Hanoi + Car tracking / Split Tailgate for tracking and talent bus (Series Director + Government assistant).
Hanoi team staying behind:
1 Producer, 1 Assistant Producer, Researcher, Jr Production Coordinator. Mofa + Fixer
2nd September – Friday: RX 1 – Ha Long Bay / RX – Ha Long Bay – Opening Challenge
3rd September – Saturday: RX 1 – Hanoi / Travel to Hanoi from Halong Bay – 3
hours / RX – Tracking from Halong Bay to Hanoi / Afternoon – Breakdancing at Lenin park / Ahead team – Bex, Rowena, Noah, Adam, Ollie, Mofa + translator to Dong Hoi after Ha Long Bay.
4th September – Sunday:
- Morning: Filming Romesh Ranganathan, Micah Richards, Patrice Evra exploring Dong Xuan market in Hanoi, Vietnam and trying worm pancakes.
- Afternoon: filming with Vovinam
- Ahead team to prep in Phong Nha Jungle
5th September – Monday: RX 1 – Hanoi / Travel to Dong Hoi – all crew / RX – Shooting / Ahead team: Laura, James, Adi, Smiti & Molly fly to Hoi An
6th September – Tuesday: RX 2 – Phong Nha / RX – Jungle Trek
7th September – Wednesday: RX 2 – Hoi An / Travel to Hoi An from Phong Nha – 6 hr drive (filmed) / RX – drive from Phong Nha to Hoi An / RX – Night market/ bad suits in Hoi An
8th September – Thursday: RX 2 – Hoi An / RX – AM – Basket Boats / RX – PM – Memories show training + performance / Ollie FS to fly home with one drive.
9th September – Friday: Travel Day / Kit flies
10th September – Saturday: Arrive In London
Interview questions for Mr. Vinh
What inspired you to start learning to shoot?
What does it feel like to be the only person to win an Olympic Medal/ Gold Medal for Vietnam?
What feelings and emotions did Mr Vinh feel when he won the Gold Medal?
What impact has winning the gold medal been on shooting sport and uptake of the sport in the younger generation?
What is the hardest part in training for shooting?
Escape the cold this winter to a world of tropical water, endless serenity and fun.
A League of Their Own / Road Trip
Southeast Asia – all episodes available from Friday the 17th on skymax
https://fb.watch/m5Vut96AAD/ (Dragon Boat Race in Ha Long bay)
https://fb.watch/kgjlgvKSg7/ (Vovinam at Hai Ba Trung temple)
https://fb.watch/kgk3h6V0Fu/ (trekking in Phong Nha)
https://fb.watch/kgk7CAxvsf/ (Hoi An Memories show)
Thank you @cplproductions for crediting Vietnam Filming Fixer and Foreign Press Center, Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the production of A League of Their Own.
This means a lot to us!