It was important to me that my documentary sat within the Channel 4 remit. I feel my documentary sits in with Channel 4, the platform I wanted my film to be shown on. My film offers alternative views, and cultural diversity. I feel it could stimulate debate, as a lot of people in society do not believe disabled people should get special treatment or financial assistance. I also think my film will inspire change once you watch it and realize just how hard daily life is for some disabled people. I feel I was able to portray the story of my film in a way that is compelling to the viewer. I think the viewer will want to keep watching to hear the stories of the discrimination disabled people have faced and still do face today.
I feel I effectively used visuals to portray my story in my documentary. I used imagery that was relevant to what my contributors were discussing.
Having experienced using stock footage from the Internet, I now think that in the future, I will use reenactments. This is because, stock footage is not easy to obtain for free or without licenses and where it is available for free, like the sites I used, footage is very limited so I found it difficult to get the cutaway I wanted. I realize reenactments are time consuming and can only be filmed dependent on content received during filming so on this occasion to reach deadlines, I used stock footage from the Internet. I also had the problem that one of my main contributors didn’t allow me to have personal photos of her due to her bad experiences in the past with the Media so this also limited the amount of cutaways I had. As a practitioner, reenactments would better my work and skills so I would ensure I could get contributors that are willing to share their whole lives. This would also follow Channel 4’s remit of diversity and difference and telling a true story and the audience would get a more realistic view into the lives of others. However, despite the setbacks I feel I used the stock footage effectively where I could.
For me, the most useful element of my documentary was adding subtitles. I did this so my audience can understand what is being said and also so it makes my film accessible to a wider audience including those worldwide who can read English better than they speak it.
I have significantly developed and improved my skills in using lighting in a documentary to create emotion. I learnt how to create lighting that sets the tone of suspense or sadness such as the interviews on PIP and I also demonstrated using more light that enabled me to give my subject a happy feel as I felt that low lighting would affect her personality. I did this by ensuring the key natural sunlight and the LED lights I used were about the same intensity so the scene was less dramatic. By doing this I think I highlighted her comedic personality. I learnt how to use natural light rather than manufactured light to create a more natural look to my subjects and I think I did this well. I also used lighting to enable the background o my subjects to be seen. I wanted to show my subjects in areas that they live or work so again I was giving my audience a true image.
Expert opinions were important to my documentary because I wanted to highlight important events and real evidence that is happening right now regarding disability and campaigns. Expert opinions in my film mean that my film is unbiased and can be believed by the audience. It was important to me that I dealt with cultural difference in my film. I wanted to show how members of different cultures face the same difficulties as non-disabled people. I did this my interviewing a diverse range of subjects from all different areas of the UK, all with a different story to tell. I took the risks of travelling so far because I wanted to get diverse interviews and it paid off.
I demonstrated problem-solving skills throughout the production of my film. When a key, professional contributor let me down last minute, I had to think fast to get someone to take the place. Due to timing I wasn’t able to get another professional contributor but I did manage to get two more contributors to fill the place. I had a personal connection to the two new contributors, (My siblings) I was weary that this could take the emotion away from my film and that their stories wouldn’t be as effective as the story and information the professional contributor was going to give. However an editing decision I made in post meant I used my two siblings stories in contrast with each other. What I liked about this was the audience could quite clearly see and hear that they both have almost the exact same problems yet one difference means one can’t claim personal independence payments. This could perhaps cause the audience to react and sympathize with my contributors, which is what I wanted.
From a professional practice point of view, I felt like I behaved professionally and communicated very well to my contributors. Having applied all my knowledge of a production manager I dealt with my clients in a professional manner ensuring they were kept up to date with call sheets and questions. I ensured I kept in regular contact via email in the run up to the scheduled interview. I now know how important client communication is. By doing rehearsal run through I learnt how communication stops awkward conversation when it is time to film and puts the client at ease. However having experienced working with my siblings, I feel like I won’t do in the future again as this has an impact on what they say and how they react on camera. My brother was very nervous and I felt like a lot of his interview sounded like he was reading from a script! I had excellent time keeping, especially travelling all over the UK to carry out the interviews. Furthermore, the ability to find contributors from all over the UK, shows my ability to take risks by interviewing non-local people and also keeps in the with Channel 4 remit of diversity. I have remained reliable in helping other members with their production, and sharing the skills I have learnt. This will benefit me as a practitioner as a skill I need is to be able to share and learn new knowledge.
I made my film look like a documentary by using stock footage, archive footage and real footage from my contributors. I ensured my story had a problem to solve which was the investigation of why disabled people have to campaign and I ended it with not a solution to the issues but an opinion which means my audience can also make up their own minds about what they think the outcome should be, thus using another remit point, education. I think I have improved my continuity of films. I ensured my film flowed and was in an order so each person links to the next. The hardest part was analyzing all the footage and outing together clips that went together without it looking like a film of short clips. I feel like I handled this very well and my film makes sense and sounds like a documentary. I feel I used the mise-en-scene effectively also, except in the initial interviews with the white background walls. I showed just enough background so you can tell where my subject was but not too much that it overpowers the shot and takes you away from the subject.
One area that didn’t go well for me was sticking to the schedule due to contributor’s availability and cancelations. This meant I was behind schedule and meant I had little time to get my interviews. As a practitioner, time keeping and sticking to schedules are a very important task. Next steps would be for me to ensure I spend more time planning my contributors rather than on the organizational paper work. Interviewing the clients earlier would have given me time to go and shoot re-enactments to use as cutaways for my film.
I did not develop my skills in two camera shoots as my assistant let me down on a few occasions and wasn’t very skillful. I wanted the two different camera angles to try and be innovative with my film but unfortunately I couldn’t operate two cameras confidently so unfortunately forfeited the use of two cameras and shot on a single camera. I now wonder how different my film would have looked with various different camera angles.
Having experienced shooting in a noisy public place, a museum, I now realize how important location Recce’s are beforehand. I trusted my client that this place was quiet and suitable but when I got there It wasn’t and as I had no external sound equipment, much of the footage taken at this interview was unusable due to the high levels of back ground noise. In the future I will do a recce of each location to make sure the location is suitable for my film and to avoid wasting time and money.