“Last time you blogged about me,” comedy performer Juliette Burton said last night, “it was about my mental health problems. I have hallucinated many a thing, but I don’t think I’ve hallucinated anything as enjoyable as today. All my time travelling and everything – This was much more fun today.”
I had just spent eleven hours at Tour De Force studios in London, watching Juliette record a pop video Dreamers (When I Grow Up) to promote her When I Grow Up show at the forthcoming Edinburgh Fringe.
Juliette is very big on enthusing people; Carse & Waterman are very big on CGI and animation.
“This is like a live-action cartoon,” I said to Daniel Waterman during the shoot yesterday. “You’ve got a seawoman, a unicorn and a cow of indeterminate sexuality dancing in what I think is a retro video game set.”
“I’m trying to make it as broad as possible,” said Daniel, who wore a horse’s head at one point, but no shoes.
“I’m not convinced Francis Ford Coppola directed The Godfather this way,” I told him. “And why no shoes?”
“So I can walk around on the green screen,” he told me.
“It’s blue,” I pointed out.
“Yes it is,” he agreed and blithely continued: “Doing what we normally do in CGI, it’s very easy to make everything look very clean and digital, but I wanted this video to be very physical and feel real. We do a lot of CGI and I wanted to merge the two together in this.”
“Fran Burgoyne, the girl playing the unicorn,” I said, “has been making occasional miaowing sounds all morning.”
“She thought she was going to be a cat,” Juliette explained, “but, when she arrived this morning, she found she had a unicorn costume.”
After the video shoot was completed, I asked Juliette what she felt.
“Being up at 4.00am this morning was quite a jolt to the system,” she said.
“Well you’re certainly getting ahead in publicising your Edinburgh show,” I said.
“Yes, you can download the Dreamers song from Amazon and iTunes now,” said Juliette in full promotion mode. And, up to and including the Edinburgh Fringe, all the money we raise will be going to Children In Need.
“We’ve been told by a couple of people on Facebook who have played the song to their children when they were having tantrums that it has this mesmerising effect and calms the kids down – they just shut up and start smiling. So it sounds like it’s ideal for problem-plagued mothers having trouble with children going through the Terrible Twos. It might calm down people in pubs, too. You never know. It certainly makes me happy.
“We’ve been working on the music and on the video storyboard since January. Frankie Lowe from Castaway Audio Productions up in Edinburgh wrote the music and I did the lyrics, partly inspired by a poem I wrote when I was 12 years old.
“Before I wrote the proper lyrics, I had stand-in lyrics – We’re all pufflings, We’re all lovely pufflings… Pufflings are baby puffins and I learnt that from QI on TV. Eventually I turned it into We’re all dreamers. So let’s keep on dreaming…
“The whole vibe of the song is meant to be very much what the whole vibe of the stage show is about – which is about me trying to be all the things I wanted to be when I was a child – So, in the last few months, for the show, I’ve tried to be a ballerina, a baker, a princess, a pop star, an artist, a farmer and a Muppet. Today’s video shoot was for the pop star bit… and I will also try to be a pop star by performing this song at the T In The Park festival in Scotland in July. And I’m also going to be performing it at CC Blooms, one of Edinburgh’s premier gay bars, on 2nd June.”
“And the object of the song and the Edinburgh show?” I asked.
“It’s to encourage people to keep dreaming,” answered Juliette. “Because I think we need to keep on dreaming to stay young. I know I can be an idealist but it is such an amazing feeling when ideals are realised.”
“I was rather shocked,” I said, “to see the Muppet-like puppet prince die in the video today when you’re so in love with The Muppets.”
“I was shocked too,” said Juliette. “I didn’t realise the puppet was going to die and that was quite a bolt from the blue. I was quite heartbroken… I think you saw how dramatically it affected me.
“I had my heart broken today,” Juliette laughed. “Dreams have been made and dreams have been crushed… I thought I’d found my prince and he fell apart.”
“Talking of princes…” I said.
“Ah, yes,” said Juliette. “On Thursday this week I was at the Royal Chelsea Flower Show in a bridal dress, trying to become a princess by meeting Prince Harry. I had an etiquette lesson with Diane Mather of Public Image Ltd.”
“Isn’t that the Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten’s outfit?” I asked.
“A different set of people,” Juliette reassured me. “I don’t know if they realise they’re also the name of a band. Diane Mather is very demure and beautiful and runs an arts festival and has asked to book me in May next year, which is very lovely.”
“But you did not find Prince Harry at the Chelsea Flower Show?” I asked.
“No,” admitted Juliette. “So then I went straight to Buckingham Palace in my bridal gown, but I was told by them to Please kindly go away. I asked them: Can I possibly get you on film saying that? and the Metropolitan Policeman on the gate said No, we’re not allowed to. Kindly please desist and leave.”
“And you’re putting all these videos of you trying to realise your dreams online?”
“Yes. It has been a really hard few weeks – well, months, really – preparing all this for the When I Grow Up show in Edinburgh in August… The pop song, the princess adventures, ballerina, baker, farmer, artist… And more. And writing the show itself and trying to crowdfund the Edinburgh show and all the rest. It has taken its toll, badly, on me mentally. But I do see light at the end of the tunnel.
“This week has been really hard especially. I have been feeling very low and struggled to cope each day. As you know, this is related to mental health problems. But focusing on putting one foot in front of the other, being honest with friends and family and focusing on the positives as much as I can…We got to the end of the week… and we made it through the long day of filming… and I think it is going to look amazing.”
“Me too,” I said.
“Seeing it all come together like that,” said Juliette, “makes those moments where I want to hide in a ball crying on the floor all pale into insignificance. Nothing is more important than making this show the best it can be and days like the film shoot today remind me how much fun it can be.”
“So when is the music video that you shot today actually coming out?” I asked.
“The absolutely finished music video should be the first week in July,” said Juliette, “It will be available on YouTube in the middle of July. But we still have to shoot the very last scene in the video, which will be filmed in the middle of June.
“And tomorrow I am talking to Omari Carter, who choreographed the video, about a possible stunt at the Edinburgh Fringe this year.”
“Could it be a Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award possibility?” I asked.
“Could be,” said Juliette.
“My cup runneth over,” I said.
YOU CAN SEE THE COMPLETED VIDEO HERE: