Documentary Reflection

Research

When I started this module I knew I wanted to explore the ideas of fiction and how it affects us as individuals, I believed that fantasy be it fiction and/or the romanticism of the truth could influence in profound for good or for ill. However this did not truly dawn on me until after completing the summer task for this module wherein I created a video about something that interested me. In the video I used a clip from the Hogfather that I believe illustrates my thoughts on the relation between fiction and us.

Humans need fantasy

This inspired me to explore what fantasy meant to individuals and it encouraged any ideas that they hold dear. I knew I wanted to shoot the documentary in the same style as Michael Moore because I believe his participatory style is very good at engaging with the audience, as he gets involved it feels we’re involved.

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The most difficult thing for me was finding someone not from the university to interview for the documentary. I found it difficult to reach out beyond my circle of friends to find like-minded individuals, which I feel may have hurt my documentary.

Process/Development

From the beginning I was very enthusiastic about exploring my idea however I feel that one of the biggest problems I faced was my own low self-esteem, which contributed to the less than stellar performance in the early weeks. I also found myself comparing my idea to those of the other students whom I always felt outmatched mine. Combine this with the fact that the project was a group exercise in which the best idea would ultimately be chosen was disheartening for me. Unfortunately I allowed this affect my work, as I was hesitant to contact anyone to star in my documentary. When it came time to join groups I found myself unable to find anyone to work with, in hindsight I could have done more that posting on the university’s facebook page.

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I was allowed to use members of my anime society in my film, which made it much easier for me to arrange meetings and interviews, it also allowed me explore whether fiction from different cultures would have the same impact on the consumer as something from their own culture. Knowing the anime society members are familiar with many forms of entertainment would yield some enlightening results in the documentary.

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Analysis

I started filming relatively early with my flip video camera, these shots were meant as a intro that would set the tone for the documentary, although in hindsight I wish that I had reshot these scenes with my Cannon 700D camera due to the grain effect in the footage. For this individual project I was assigned to work Nawaz Noah Shelkh whom would provide technical support with his equipment whilst I arranged everything else. When it came time to shoot the interview Noah really helped with getting good answers from our character as he really connected with him and really allowed him to open up as opposed to my more formal questioning. From this I’ve learned the importance of being loose when interviewing characters and try to connect with them personally to get the best answers from them.

In hindsight I wish that I could have booked more recordings of the anime society as I don’t the documentary represents them as much as it could and I wish I could have gotten more footage from the MCM Birmingham comic con as there was so much there that could have worked in the documentary but didn’t think to record them in except hindsight.

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Evaluation

Overall the documentary turned out very different from what I originally envisioned. I didn’t use any scenes of myself reflecting on the interview because I felt they weren’t necessary as I believe the footage conveys it’s own ideas and I found myself wanting to leave the ending open to interpretation so that the potential audience would be able to draw their own conclusions. Although I still regret not getting more footage of the anime society and the MCM comic con for more variety in the footage.

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One thing that I take from this editing exercise is how time consuming a single edit can be when there are so many factors one must consider when structuring the footage in order to convey a comprehensible narrative. With so much footage it was difficult to pick what to use within such a limiting time frame of 3 minutes, many of scenes are cut and pasted from their wider context in order to cover as much information while avoiding bogging down the film with relentless banter, which was one of the downsides of the loose interviewing methods and also explains why some of the audio sounds like it’s being cut off midway through a sentence.

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When editing I couldn’t help but think about Werner Herzog’s ecstatic truth when I was cutting the interview footage and selecting witch parts best conveyed the ideas that I was looking illuminate in the documentary. Of course none of the out of the context of their respective questions I just a sieved through in order bring out what I believe conveyed what my documentary was about best.

I wanted to ensure everything said was relevant in advancing the narrative and answering the questions I asked at the beginning of the film. I took interview questions and answers out of order so I could arrange the structure in a way I believed to be the best for the story to flow naturally. For Example the question regarding Locky’s views on personal fantasy and the anime society were swapped in order to escalate the scope of the story, which is illustrated when the film transitions from the society meeting to the MCM convention. I believe this helped to reinforce a grand scale to the question as opposed to the original order where I don’t think it would have had the same emotional impact on the potential audiences.

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