Handing in project 3 was a great feeling. I’m really proud of the films we made! Although at first I was really unsure of documentary form and how to approach the topic poetically, I think through working I have better understood documentary as a broad topic and not something that has to have a narrator, main protagonist, etc. but something that just has to be truthful, and in our case, offering a social critique of the real world.
The film I initially had the most trouble with was the live action documentary. I couldn’t figure out how to plan for a film without it becoming fictional or too much like an ad. My problem wasn’t so much with the video itself as it was with learning what documentaries are, and what documentary form really is and can meet for us working experimentally in the medium. I think it just took me watching some other people’s films and taking on board feedback to find that middle-ground where my film was taking on staged elements, but was truthful and could be defined as documentary.
With the found footage film we had more technical problems, like figuring out how to edit the clips together and what music to use. For this it was really helpful to have the class’s feedback, since I did get very stuck at one point in deciding what music to use for the second half, and whether or not there should even be a second half since the tone changes so dramatically. I think the best bit of advice in the end was to ‘play with it’, because it added an element of humour to the documentary and painted Lyle Shelton as a bit of a caricature, which worked to show just how negative his views are and lightens the tone of a film which really has quite a depressing message. It makes it easier to watch, and people more likely to engage with the film. Humour is a form of poetics I didn’t really think about, and we achieved it here through editing and I think it’s really effective.