When I set out to complete this film, I had completed an Ethics Charter to help assist me in the filming process. This, however, was created before the COVID-19 restrictions were put in place, and we moved to online learning, which changed the entire project – including the way that I set out to approach filming and putting it together. I had to find a way to create a powerful film, without actually being able to leave the house or see anyone to film – which I did through the use of voice-over narrative, stock footage and interviews that I had collected via asking people to participate and record the interview themselves, with whatever technology they had available. This didn’t make my Ethics Charter obsolete, it just meant that I had to apply these ethics differently. This was the charter I had completed, below:

  1. Turn the camera off at the request of the participant (Rachel Boynton, DOC NYC, 2018).
  2. Show the participant the finished film before the public (Rachel Boynton, DOC NYC, 2018).
  3. Love the people that you film. (Rachel Boynton, DOC NYC, 2018).
  4. Respect the participants wishes at all times, it’s important to have a positive relationship with the participant – and that they don’t walk away disappointed or unhappy with you
  5. Always offer the participant food or beverage if the participants are in your space.
  6. Ensure their facilities (i.e. Toilets, Change-rooms etc.) are acceptable if the participant is in your space.


DOC NYC PRO: Casting Case Studies 2016, streaming video, DOC NYC, New York, viewed INSERT DATE HERE 2019, <>.

Because of the new nature of my work, ethics two, three and four became paramount. I had to love and respect the participants at all times, to maintain a positive relationship to ensure that I would get the best work out of them possible. I was relying on the participants to take my instructions clearly and compose a film worthy piece from whatever they had available. Usually, this was an iPhone, however, which meant the standard quality was (mostly) good. I made sure to inform them well of the project I was creating, what it was for (University, portfolio and possibly film festivals), how I was intending to use their children in my film, and the logistics of how it would all work (i.e. how I ideally picture the videos, what kinds of questions they should ask their kids, where they were to send it, release forms etc.). Finally, I was sure to show each participant the finalised film, or promised to show them it, if they should become interested in seeing it. So while I wasn’t able to film anything directly myself, it’s clear that having an Ethics Charter and ethics in place is important – regardless of the kind of project you are completing. I think the only thing I would add, if I was to write this charter again, is to consider the representation of other peoples stock footage (i.e. credits at the end, the message you are sending by using their footage).

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