In a dark room, screens lined the walls and lit up with various editorial and production professionals telling their stories of how they first came across JK Rowlings manuscript. The hairs on my arms had risen and so had my excitement for what was in store. Of course, we all know the story, a struggling single mother wrote a book which happened to become a worldwide phenomenon, but being reminded that her unprecedented success all came from imagination, and hearing from the various publishers that read her manuscript, and hearing about how these words on paper were developed, was incredibly inspiring.
Our tour started at 6.30 at Warner Bros. Studio, formally known as Leavesden Aerodrome, a local airfield and factory where fighter planes were produced for The Ministry of Defence in World War 2. It is now best known as the filming location of the biggest film series in history, where hundreds (if not thousands) of skilled craftsmen and production staff called home for 10 years.
I have never given too much thought to the production of Harry Potter. A book was written, and made in to a film with lots of special effects. I won’t give away too much because after all, if I tell you exactly what’s in store then what would be the point of visiting yourself? But lets just say, when you watch the films you do not necessarily consider the fact that 25,000 costumes were made, or think about the 200 oil and acrylic paintings that were aged and inspired by real portraits at the National Portrait Gallery and painted by classically trained painters, or even the 17,000 wand boxes that were hand painted for Ollivanders wand shop.
We passed through several sets such as The Great Hall, The Boy’s Dormitory, The Common Room, and Dumbledores office. We passed through rooms that demonstrated the special effects, visual effects, and the magic of greenscreen, and we even got to see Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 ¾. Visitors will soon be able to step inside the forbidden forest too (although I get scared by my own shadow and HATE spiders so this may remain ‘forbidden’ if I return).
There are so many other incredible things to see, which really make you appreciate the amount of work and effort that went into every element of the film and its production, with the thousands of people involved. But it would never have happened if it were for one woman. One woman with determination and imagination.
JK Rowling, you are not just a lady who happened to write a book about wizards. You are now my absolute idol and inspiration to prove that anything really is possible…
Head to the Warner Bros Studio Tour London website now to book your tickets: