All about my University work

261MC – Documentary

Synopsis of Documentary.

This is a documentary about a guy who has tourettes. He is also a tree surgeon and has found that by climbing trees it has helped him in his development of being cured from tourettes. We follow Lewis on his journey in a forest to show how he climbs trees and how he has got better over the last few months.


Reflection 4 – Evaluation

The whole edit I feel was planned however with the shoot the initial edit plan was almost thrown out of the window.
When we went to shoot our documentary we would shoot the tree scene in the morning and the rugby in the afternoon. However we only got around 40 minutes to shoot the documentary in the tree due to lewis not having the right equipment in time and him having to go play rugby. The shoot itself involved Lewis getting ready with his gear. I decided to film this even though I was told other wise by others. It proved to be an important part of the film as it set what he does and how he goes about it. Even when doing this, Sunil was walking in front of the camera standing there, getting the boom in the way as he saw no importance of it. I think if this wasn’t shot then I feel we may have struggled with visuals and the edit would not as flowed as well. Due to the time restraint we had to film after the rugby but shot in a room as we couldn’t shoot outside as it was dark by this point. The visuals for this were not good but the content was and having added visuals proved to be our saviour in the edit.

The way we wanted the edit to go was to start at the bottom of the tree and he would work his way up to show progression. However some of the things that he said were said when he was in the wrong position. This would prove hard on the edit as we couldn’t do a simple interview and show him talking. This is where the shots of Lewis getting ready proved vital. Shots of when he was in the tree were edited out n the audio track was left. This happened throughout the edit especially with the sit down interview after the forest and rugby shoot.

I think in the end the rugby proved to be a waste of time. none of it made the final edit and took up a lot of time. Sunil was really up for shooting the rugby and I wasn’t too sure. I wasn’t even sure it would make the final edit but seemed adamant about it. All that was needed was a few shots of him playing and not the whole match.

I knew since I made my last documentary that more visuals were needed as I struggled to edit it together but managed to get by on photos from a previous meeting. I shot more visuals this time round, however I still feel that more visuals were needed and also more thought into what was being shot and how long the shot should be held before going to another shot.
I think this has been just as big learning curve than my first documentary. It was a completely different style and tone. I found that with that you need different visuals and you need to show the tone of the person as something more serious than what I did last time. The edit proved harder than I thought. There is a huge difference from a 3 minute documentary than a 5 minute one. The pace being one. I found this hard to do without making it too slow and over compensated to start with and made the pace very fast.


Reflection 3: Analysis

We initially set our idea on choosing our guy we thought it would be a good idea to go and meet him before hand and get a good idea of how the was and how we would shoot our documentary. We had our initial idea of him going up a tree and how that would symbolise his journey through life. Photos of the day helped us out and gave us visuals to work on after the meeting to help us plan on how it would be shot. We also met with Lewis’s rugby coach and agreed to shoot the rugby to get another side to how lewis lives his life.

The shoot differed as we didn’t have as much time to film as we thought. We had less than an hour. This stopped us getting valuable shots to help with the visuals. I feel we just about got enough but more would have been better. We got different shots as we were going to get him around his kitchen doing day to day things. This probably saved us time in the end as we probably wouldn’t have used them. I think more planning was needed as we moved around a lot and  shoot in different places. The more places we shoot the more planning needed which I will do next time. Also more steady shots were needed. We used a tripod which was dodgy at times and went free hand this proved very hard when we had to zoom in. Also we had problems with the boom which were eventually sorted as at times it picked up everything. This shows that you should always check your equipment thoroughly.


Reflection 2 Process/Development

When meeting Lewis for the first time we just had a casual chat with him, got to know him and tried to make him as comfortable as possible. We felt that this would relax him so he would tell us more. The more we chatted to him the more we found out. His torments and how he developed tourettes. I thought that this would be a great documentary because people only really know what tourettes is and not the person behind them. I found him to be a great guy and that was something that never really crossed my mind before perhaps through naivety so I really wanted to show this. Even when he was being interviewed he still managed to laugh about his torment which really shows the character that he is and how he is just like everyone else.

Lewis looking casual, not letting tourettes get the better of him.

I think creatively we wanted to tell a story visually through the metaphor of using trees. Since he climbed trees we thought that we could tell the story of him being on the ground feeling lonely and an outsider and as the story progressed its him up a tree feeling part of the group. We felt that this would work as in the background you would see other people in trees but higher up than he was to symbolise that they weren’t outsiders but part of the group and where you have to be to not be considered an outsider.

Notice how everyone is higher than lewis (foreground).

With the interview we felt that where the camera was would help tone the documentary, We decided to have the camera on the ground the whole time using a tripod, We wanted to stay on Lewis’s level and by him moving up it moved the eye line up as well. This was show this progression from where he was to where he is now and how far he has come.


Reflection 1 Research

Nathan, Toms friend (right) and Lewis (Left)

So for this documentary we found someone with tourettes called Lewis. We managed to find him through Tom Neary, as he was friends with a guy who knew him. As soon as it was mentioned that he was a tree surgeon I could see how the story could work with visuals and how it would develop. I looked into tourettes and found out that it was more than just swearing but twitching and involuntary muscle movements. I didn’t however look into tree surgery much as I felt I had a competent knowledge of it already. We decided to spend a day a week before the shoot to go through everything with Lewis. We wanted to get to know him more and hear about his life in a very casual manner. We also walked around the College where he was in order to find where we would shoot the documentary. I had in idea in my mind before that a tree would help symbolise Lewis and his journey and the further up the tree he goes the better he became. A trip into the forest gave us a better idea of what trees that could be used and how everything could be pieced together. I think what I learned from last year was to take as many pictures as possible to help us sort out visuals for when we shot the documentary. This time it helped us out. We could eliminate places to shoot which would’ve been so much harder had we not taken a DSLR camera. Even then I felt that taking notes would’ve proved better but I decided to leave my notepad in the car as I wanted our initial meeting to be very casual and let the camera do the talking. Both would have proved a lot better as we wouldn’t of had to rely on memory as much. We did talk to a lot of people other than Lewis. This gave us a bigger understanding of our surroundings and how Lewis is perceived to other people. The meeting of the rugby coach, Lewis’s tutor and their marketing team helped us try and depict how this documentary would work.


Real Lives Shooting script

Real Lives Shooting script i

Here is a planned shooting script for what we plan to shoot on Wednesday.


A trip to Moreton Morrell

Moreton Morell

Today I went with Tom and Sunil to a Moreton Morrell to meet Lewis who has Tourettes. Having met him and his surroundings I felt it became increasingly clear how this documentary will develop. He studies to be a tree surgeon and we managed to get permission to film him doing some tree surgery as well as meeting with his rugby coach to film him during a rugby match as long as they had some highlights of the match. All this will require a lot of release forms but also we got permission from Warwick college to film within the grounds and the marketing department at the college seemed quite enthralled by what we had planned and the direction that we were going in that they wanted us to help them out by showing how well he’s coped at the college to give them a positive image.

Tree Surgeon Teacher (left) with Lewis (right)

Locations on where to shoot look pretty much sorted. Where we went today to have a look at the tree surgeon’s practical lesson. We took a few pictures to help get the feel of what we would do along with how it would be shot but was rather dark with lighting hard to get right especially with an DSLR but another place was suggested to us with a backdrop of like a manor house. The lighting would be brighter and easier for the camera to set up which would be nice as we could have the interview part based around there.

Tree Surgeon Looking on

The Manor house

Also during my time there I found that he was a very sound guy who embraces that he has tourettes. His friends call him tourettes and he is well known through the college as the tourettes guy and is happy to have that tag. He talked about how the condition developed and the emotional issues that he’s had and how he’s been on fights simply because he has shouted obscene words with out any power to stop it and people taking it the wrong way. Daily things like going to the shops can be arduous as when an obscenity is said and he tells them what he has people just don’t believe him.

His tourettes has decreased a bit over the last year or so due to medication and speech therapy but he says things like stress, peer pressure and being told what to do can cause it to take off quite substantially.  He has even been diagnosed with  ‘Super tourettes’ which I thought was a joke being called something as simple as that, but is a genuine condition given to people with bad tourettes. He now plays rugby and that has helped him a lot as it gets a lot of stress out and relaxes him so his tourettes isn’t as bad.


Anaphylaxis and how it affects your life

I followed up on the anaphylaxis story today to make a documentary about and firstly the person has agreed to let us film them, which is great. Anaphylaxis is basically the worse kind of allergic reaction you can get. Basic facts can be found here.

The angle in which I am going to go with is that anaphylaxis is something that has to be taken seriously at all times. Nut allergies are rather common but even things like buying a lettuce can be potentially life threatening as it cant guarantee having no contact with nuts from its time from the farm to the store.

At all times she has to cary an Epipen, which contains adrenaline should anything bad occur would have to be administered to save her life. Even a trip to the market could be fatal through not fault of her own.

We will look at her daily life and what she has to do everyday to avoid mishaps and try to lead a very normal life. Old pictures of  how these allergies affect her and what she looks like in a bad case.


Documentary problems

I went home to Lincoln this weekend and my brother was also there. He had had doubts about this documentary about him being made and it was my job to help sway him the other way. I told him what I wanted to do and how I would go about it. Also I would show that he was a victim of a Capitalist society and would give the impression of what he is doing in fact benefits society.

He was swaying towards this and felt I made progress and felt a great documentary idea would be followed through with. However, and this was a big however he wasn’t comfortable with a documentary crew following him around as something in which I had forgot was that he doesn’t like being on camera much. Especially when it would involve being with him for around two full days.
I’m not too sure he knew what we were trying to do but I cleared everything up and unfortunately he declined in the role. I then asked if he knew anyone that would be up for it and his response was, ‘Just dick heads who do stuff for the wrong reasons.’

I could’ve perhaps followed up on these ‘dick heads’ but with my brother not too close to them the whole thing could easily fall apart for many reasons such as communication so I decided to drop the idea completely.
It was an idea that I thought would work very well and furthermore only found out on Wednesday (02/11/11) that he was also part of the capitalist protests outside St. Paul’s Cathedral which also could’ve worked very well with more preparation and planning.

I now am now looking into my other options which include somebody that lives with  anaphylaxis and has severe allergies which are life threatening even on a trip to the supermarket.


Screen Test

I plan on documenting my brother and his way of life. i have devised a small one minute screen test, however due to my brother currently being in amsterdam I couldn’t film him so I used pictures along with a small bit of text to help show how I plan on filming him. The test it self is a bit dodgy but I see it as a nice outline in how I am going to film this and how to edit it.

My brother does dance on a regular basis and even gets free entry to clubs where he has to dance so people fill the dancefloor. I feel this is a nice aspect to cover.