My initial proposal was “Imaginary Boundaries”. I did choose it because I have been obsessed with this topic since I arrived here. Consequently, I really had a strong motivation and the willingness to research deeply about it. Moreover, I really find documentary as the best way to persuade people of an ideology. That’s the reason I really wanted to make that film. People don’t realize the situation or even look at it as a normal thing (people from UK haven’t even stopped to think about it as we discovered in the seminar, some Europeans find it understandable , other international people was as shocked as I were…). So, what I wanted to show is that it is actually a structural problem of our current society, as well as to show all the terrible consequences that it will bring. In terms of researching I intended to go beyond it and point at who is the one that holds the ultimate responsibility (Point at the Government as the main responsible for institute the methods?). Basically I wanted to open people’s eye, my main purpose was to make people at least think about it.
However, when I had to face that process of developing my documentary idea, I did struggle to visualize all this stuff. Given the fact that I cannot use such a large archive, put in imagery my ideas turned into a very complicated duty. When I explained my proposal in class some people nodded while listening my speech which was motivating for me, but none of them gave feedback suggesting how they expect it to be filmed. That was discouraging; nevertheless it was probably my fault. Then I realized that you have to be provocative because you want people reaction, it will guide you. Although I did not get too much from the class, I kept on thinking about it, and I went through the six different modes of documentary that B.Nicholshe (2001) defines in Introduction to Documentary, and I thought it might be a solution for my film in experimental, poetic or reflexive modes.
Through all this process what I have improved most is the ability of going forward. Test out your creativity, not as a divine inspiration, but as a skill that has to work well also under pressure. I have learnt not to be afraid of failing, you have to go forward; it doesn’t matter whether each step is huge/amazing or it is not.
Finally, I joined others proposal just because work in a group seemed to me the best idea to learn in a different educational system, but as a conclusion, I would say that if it is important to believe in something and really want to communicate something to the world, but it is also important to know how to put your ideas in a film.
The next stage, when I have already joined the group, was the shoot. We prepare it thoroughly as we have already fixed the structure in order to make the documentary treatment and we have also done a storyboard so that each one would know what to do when we go to shot. Nevertheless, we made some mistakes, especially in the second day of filming that was in the fishing lake. Our first fail was a lack of organization as we did not take other camera with an accurate lens for the close ups, not even bring extra batteries or the charger with us, not arriving on time and miss the shift that initially we were going to shot. Moreover, the weather conditions were awful (apart from our team getting frozen, we had to deal with an always overexposed sky), and a fishing competition is not such an entertaining activity so as a result of both we were not patient enough. The lack of patience is what made us incapable to accomplish perfectly the “Stay with it”.
Talking about sound, our equipment was not good enough to take real advantage of the lake ambience. The recorder was not able to catch the water sounds or any weak sound, it just recorded wind and birds. Also I have to say that the lake was not a natural paradise in the middle of anywhere, in fact it was not too far away from road so we had to deal with traffic noises.
In relation to the light, we decided not to use artificial light at any point of the film, just document reality, and not make it more “attractive” –commercial. But, at the same time, we decided to take advantage of natural light, following the example of Nykvist. We wanted to film the down at the lake, and to go in the morning to his house in order to get light through the windows…but there was no spectacular down and the light through the windows was not enough, it was still dark and the result is too noisy images.
Despite everything we still have really powerful shots and strong testimony.
Editing is probably the stage I have learnt most from. Just by attending the lectures I started to realize how important is sound and silence. During the following lectures we go through the different types of editing and I did realize that editing is when you actually build up the film. The type of the movie you are making is in fact given in this step. As we heard in most of the clips from National Film Board of Canada editing is not just the act of joining clips, is a process of creativity, a meaning creation. And we definitely check it out when we had to edit our film. Editing is facing reality, the film is not in your mind anymore, now it becomes real. You already have the footage, so you have to deal with all the mistakes and unexpected stuff. You also have to check out if what you have imagined before actually works properly, and how people react to it.
We have discovered that you could do thousands of different movies with your footage. The difficult thing is to know what movie you really want to do. We went with our heart and do two locations, and make the movie work with two locations although it could be easily to do it with just one as the class recommended us. Whatever you do, once you have chosen the type of movie you want to do, you have to be consistent with that because if you mix up convections, you will probably confuse or upset the audience.
In our case, we started thinking about using some observational documentary conventions as some of us really have liked the observational documentary Grey Gardens . If you have a look at our storyboard that was our initial idea, and actually when we went to both location we just got lost ourselves with the camera and film the whole environment with plenty detail. But as we started editing I realized that it wouldn’t work properly in a 3 minutes film. We would loose strong if we put close up of details instead of him. We have such an strong character and good shots of him. In one of our versions of the film there were some cut-away, but as our lecturer told us, they took away people from action.
To sum up, I am glad I have got into this module, I have learnt many things meanwhile developing this film. Not a lot of technical stuff, but many things about facing a project, the execution of plans, and above all the importance of editing. So definitely this module has encouraged me to make my own documentaries.