(Director, Webster in Gods Own Junkyard)

We caught up with Directing and Producing Television Entertainment MA students, Robin Pagnanelli and Webster Mugavazi to find out more about their graduation project, Control, an urban-adventure game show set in the heart of London.

Produced by Robin Pagnanelli and directed by Webster Mugavazi, Control – described as The Crystal Maze meets Hunted - takes place in the city, where a team of three contestants must complete a series of challenges in order to gain clues about a secret location where a cash price awaits them. At the centre of the game is a villain type character called ‘Control’ who takes over a new city each episode. From his high-tech headquarters he sees and hears everything, manipulating the gameplay as he sees fit. ‘Control's’ sole purpose is to see if any team can beat his game.

(Producer, Robin with the contestants in London)

Robin: ““Webster and I merged our ideas to create the concept for Control. I wanted to work on a gameshow so I could create challenges, games, and riddles and Webster wanted to do something that would highlight his love cinematography and technology. We both love to travel and felt London was the perfect location to film because of its visual landmarks and great public transport - it felt like it was a game show already.”

Webster: “We were really inspired by a previous NFTS graduation game show, which was shot in the Lake District, called Against All Odds. From working on that project we turned the idea on its head and created a show that would take place against the backdrop of a hectic city like London. In development we liked to think of the city as a massive game board, like Monopoly, where anything and everything can happen at any given time, and the key to winning is to be agile, smart and survive at each stage.”

(Webster discussing the script with actor, Emmanuel who plays 'Control', in the NFTS TV Studio Gallery)

Robin: “We came at this show from a different angle. In the beginning, we were treating this project more like film, rather than TV. We would location scout different landmarks and monuments in London first, before coming up with the challenges the contestants would have to complete. We wanted to make sure that after watching the show, the audience felt like the city was well represented. This also helped me make sure each game fit well in each location, because it was created specifically with that location in mind.”

Webster: “What made shooting Control so exciting was the creative work that had to happen behind the scenes in order to bring this high-concept idea to life. Everyone involved had an amazing creative challenge and we hope this will come across on screen. It has been a pleasure working with all the various departments, it really couldn’t have happened with all the amazing minds behind Control. “

(Contestants taking a call from 'Control')

Robin: “We planned Control so that each episode could be filmed in a different city - sort of like a travel log. Each episode could be created to showcase one incredible city around the world, highlighting its landmarks, public transport, attractions, and even history. We want the audience to really get to know the city, and want to visit that city, after watching each episode.”

Webster: “We tried to get a sense of scale whilst shooting Control and hopefully that comes across on screen. This was all made possible by the iconic locations that allowed us to shoot our games. We shot everywhere from St. Paul’s Cathedral, to Emirates Cable Cars and the Monument to the Great Fire. It’s almost unbelievable that nobody has done this show before! London is such a vibrant, busy city, it was kind of a no-brainer that we’d shoot our show here. In just two days we shot seven games across ten different locations in London. Directing was a pleasure simply because of all the different spaces I got to shoot in. From shooting at height to lighting a neon sign warehouse I really enjoyed the creative challenges we came across along the way, this show has it all.”

(Contestants are watched by a minion of 'Control' while they are on the Emirates cable car)

For more information about the NFTS Directing and Producing Television Entertainment MA, please visit www.nfts.co.uk/tvent - applications are open until October 16th and the course starts in January.

The crew:

Producer - Robin Pagnanelli

Director - Webster Mugavazi

1st AD/Floor Manager - Frankie Unsworth

Production Manager - Pearl Scott

Production Coordinator - Alex McArdle

Production Assistant - Maddy Sara

AP     - William Lockwood

AP     - Pamela Sibanda

2nd AD/AFM     - Charlotte Smith

2nd AD/AFM     - Dominika Lapinska

Camera Supervisor - Duncan Unsworth

Camera Operator 1 - Briony Dowson

Camera Operator 2 - Laura Jeacocke

Camera Operator 3 - Sean McDonald

DIT/Controller Stand-in - Chris Pagnanelli

Lighting Supervisor - Lee Wooster

Sound Recordist - Josh Bamford

Sound Assistant - Alex Collin

Stills Photographer - Jared Frazer

Props     - Yasmin Williams

Runner/Driver - Matthew Allen

Runner/Driver - Freddie Heppell

Lighting Van Driver - Emma Clarke

Cinematographer (Control HQ) - Bruno Grilo

Cinematographer (Opening Titles & Beauty Shots) - Angela Neil