Busuu: Bringing Language Learning to LifeBy Jonathan English | 4:17 PM on June 22, 2015
Filmed in London in just one week, our mini TV-style drama for language-learning site Busuu helped students all over the globe to perfect their English skills.
Busuu is the world’s largest social network for language learning, helping over 50 million people grow their language skills and confidence online. Their award-winning approach removes the expense and arduous hours of study normally associated with learning a new language. Registering is free and courses are engaging and interactive, with opportunities to meet and chat to native speakers.
Making learning engaging means keeping course content lively and varied, and Busuu are always looking for fun ways to bring languages to life. Like us, they knew video was a great teaching aid (when we were at school nothing lifted the classroom mood like the arrival of the AV trolley). With a core audience of college-age students, Busuu asked us to produce a soap opera-style mini series aimed at those studying English.
It’s fair to say this wasn’t our usual sort of project. One of the main challenges was coming up with a storyline and script that would work for non-English speakers, so we assembled an expert team including scriptwriters with TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualifications. We sourced actors and, understanding the lure our capital holds for foreign visitors, we scouted locations across London.
Staying within budget meant filming whole series within a week, so we used a 15-person crew to meet the deadline. We also produced a short trailer advertising the series. Released as ten separate episodes, London Central followed Leo from Brazil as he arrived in the UK and got to grips with making friends, balancing study and part-time work, and chasing love – all themes our audience could relate to.
Production was completed on time and on budget and Busuu were really happy with the finished result. The final episode finished with a cliffhanger and dozens of YouTube users have requested more installments of Leo’s story.