Behind the scenes of filming for my no. 1 fan

Last updated: 30 Nov 2023 Topics: Safeguarding children

Listening to young athletes about their experiences in sport, helps us to be child focus and better protect them. 

In this blog, we hear from CPSU colleagues Mel Nienartowicz, Senior Digital Content Editor and Cerri Dando-Thompson, Senior Consultant. We go behind the scenes of our latest video, My no. 1 fan.

Mel and Cerri supported our production company, Brickwall with the making of this video. The aim of the video was to capture children’s and parents’ experiences of sport and what this means for them.

Were there any take away points that stood out for you from the day?

Mel said: ''It struck me just what a commitment parents and carers make to children for sport! The parents we had involved are so passionate about the sport their children took part in. A few of them were up at the crack of dawn or, travelled for hours to be with us. They felt so proud of their child’s enjoyment in sport they’d sacrifice time and money to come to speak to us about it.

''Also made me realise that all families are familiar with poor parental behaviour, whether directly, through friends and other families. We didn’t scout for families with experiences or poor sideline behaviour, however once we chatted to each family, it became clear that it’s so commonplace.’’

Cerri said: ''It was an amazing experience to meet the parents and children, get to know them a bit more and see how much sport meant to their children and to them. Ultimately the enjoyment their child gets from taking part in sport, as well as the life skills they have and continue to develop. It was quite emotional at times, and I could relate to many of their experiences due to my own career within sport and the times I had with my parents.

''Without parent’s support, love and care their children would not have the experiences in sport that currently do, the effort and sacrifices they make for their children was very humbling. Their passion shone through and also the children's love of their sport was just as strong. Their children’s welfare is paramount!’’

How did you find the filming process?

Mel said: ''I was impressed with how prepared the young athletes came to the shoot. They hardly ever stumbled on their responses to anything we asked, and they were generally so confident in front of the camera.

''We went through a process with families pre-filming to see what they were like, how they interacted with parents and how they came across on camera which was a really interesting process for us.

''All the families we received submissions from were brilliant, which made it really tricky to select the 4 we needed for our short film. We thought carefully about how much representation of sport, including elite sport and grassroots we could get across just 4 families. We also wanted to make sure that the families we worked with were representative of real-life families in the UK, including challenging gender stereotypes in particular sports and seeing positive parental involvement from both mums and dads.’’

Cerri said: ''It was a great experience, having never been involved in developing a short film before. It was a fascinating learning process. The families involved were the best part. We ensured that everyone understood their role and that all their needs were met throughout the day…. I think the pizza delivery at lunch certainly helped too!

''All of the young people involved were more prepared than the adults, it was like they were ready for game or competition day and took every bit of direction in their stride, they were real superstars, and I am sure they will go on to do great things in and outside of sport.’’

What worked well during day?

Mel said: ''We couldn’t have done it without the help of BrickWall. They were so organised with the filming process it really put the young people and families at ease.

''We staggered the families arrival so that the children were not there all day long or waiting around for too long of a period of time in between being on camera. We recruited a chaperone for the day too, that made sure that children and families were comfortable and had someone to talk to about any concerns or needs.’’

Cerri Said: ''BrickWall were integral to helping us achieve the fantastic short film that we have. Mel and I started with an idea on paper, then after a few consultations between us, BrickWall and the families it all came to life!''

Take a look My no. 1 fan to see the film come to life and hear about young athletes’ and their parents experiences of sport.

Further information

For more on this subject, see our guidance on promoting positive parental behaviour on our information for parents pages.

We have also developed our Parents' hub which is full of guidance and resources for sports parents and carers.

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