The first half of class today was focused on learning more about interview techniques.
In The Thin Blue Line (1988, Errol Morris) Morris asks open ended questions so the participants can answer the questions in their own time and not feel rushed. He invented a machine to use during interviews to avoid having a camera in the room as he didn’t like how participants became aware and uncomfortable around the camera. Instead Morris would project an image of his face onto a screen so the participant could make eye contact with Morris, looking directly into the camera and therefore the audience.
In Geri (1999, Molly Dineen) the style of interview is far more informal and dependant on the relationship between filmmaker and subject. Filmmaker Molly Dineen doesn’t turn the camera on herself but is still very involved with the subject, offering her own perspective in order to build trust and encourage her to delve deeper.
Unfortunately my groups first choice for a documentary subject has declined our offer to participate, meaning we’re back to the drawing board. Instead of getting stressed out I’m looking it as a learning curve, as in professional practice this sort of thing will happen all the time. The groups have done a little reforming and Clare and I will now be working in a group of two. During the lunch break today we went to the market to scope out a new participant. We spoke to a man named Ariel who has worked at the markets selling Coogi sweaters for over 30 years and he has agreed to participate. The super vibrant Coogi jumpers he sells will hepl to make the film visually dynamic and I’m pretty optimistic about getting Ariel to conduct a good interview.
The Thin Blue Line 1988, video recording, Umbrella Entertainment, Texas, USA. Directed by Errol Morris
Gerri 1999, video recording, Channel 4 Television Corporationm, UK. Directed by Molly Dineen