The Mikado theatrical trailer

The Mikado

Conceived, produced, directed and film by me Gordon O’Neill.  Find out why over 16,000 have viewed this theatrical trailer.

This production was to promote the Abbots Langley Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of The Mikado by Gilbert & Sullivan at The Watford Palace Theatre from the 3rd to the 6th February 2016.


The song chosen was “I’ve Got a Little List”. I chose this because it is one of the best known songs from the show and is traditionally rewritten and updated for every show to bring a contemporary edge. You can see an example  by Opera Australia’s twist on YouTube.

The aim was to use the song to introduce the characters and the production.  As a G&S novice I turned to my wife, Sue, to produce the lyrics. She is in the show and knows more about the plot and the characters than I do. Which to be honest would not be difficult. She produced some excellent lyrics and Geoffrey Farrer who plays Ko-Ko had the task of learning them.

The next step was to record the song. We arranged a session at one of the regular rehearsals in a local church hall. First we recorded Geoffrey’s song with piano backing and then recorded a chorus with the rest of the cast who were at rehearsal. This was mixed down and we were ready to set up filming.

The difficulty with any production is to be able to get the cast together in one place to film. We planned that none of the characters needed to be in the same shot together. If they did then I could do that in post production.

The concept was to have Ko-Ko in his study devising his Little List and the cast to be filmed in front of a green screen and then the stylised Tokyo background from the show’s publicity behind them. The great thing about choosing the green screen route is that it can be done anywhere, including my dining room. Each character was filmed responding appropriately to the lyrics about them. I also recorded them singing the chorus. Those involved quickly learned how difficult it is to lip-sync.  Still they all got there in the end.

I filmed some additional scenes. In the end I didn’t use them but it is always good to have more footage at your disposal. Although these clips were not used in this production they may be used in a future production for the show.

Ko-Ko was filmed at his desk in his study. In reality our dining room. Studios are nice and preferable if you want to record sound but it is amazing what you can do with a few props, lighting and framing of the shot.

The entire production was filmed on a Canon 5D Mkii with a Samyang 35mm prime cine lens and edited in Premiere Pro CC. The opening was filmed using a budget slider I bought on Ebay, not the lightest piece of kit but OK for this.

I love doing these theatrical trailers and it is great to see the significant numbers of people viewing the video.




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