I thought it would be a good time to talk a little about what really inspired me and us throughout the shooting experience. Something that is very close to me and that I really loved was 8K Radius. A mini-doco series that screened at the CLassic Cinema in Elsternwick before feature films. The idea was to show 8 ordinary peoples lives in an 8km radius from the Classic. It was all about community and giving the locals their moments of fame. The way it was shot was really exactly how I wanted to shoot ‘Cubbies’. Very much about the visuals. Lovely depth of field, blurred focus, in and out of focus and strong colours. There was no face to face, conventional interviews but rather we heard the subjects as we saw what they do in their day to day lives.
THIS is the link to all the docos
And check out my favourite one from the collection that really shows what I mean when I say I wanted my doco to somewhat replicate these ones…
One of our interviews with a volunteer at Cubbies – Wol.
I feel like documenting where our group stands at the moment and outline our journey so far…
For the past 4 weeks we have been going to Cubbies (Fitzroy Adventure Playground) and shooting. Looking back at our footage so far it looks quite special. A problem we came across, however, was that we didn’t really have a direction. We were shooting aimlessly which meant we were getting great footage but it didn’t help us what so ever. We seriously needed to find some sort of direction.
A few days a go our entire group got together and we brainstormed potential routes we could take and by the end of our session we finally had some sort of frame work to work with. We found a solid, intriguing character in ROR and other side characters and themes to carry the narrative along. We created a shot list for when we were going to go out and shoot again so we knew exactly what we had to do and so we wouldn’t waste time. Things are looking up!!
And so we did. We went out yesterday to Cubbies (just three of us) and we worked so well and productively that it was potentially our last shoot as we got such good stuff. We went there with a real purpose. We met ROR and took the walk to his place – commission flat 95. It was out first experience in a place like that and it was great to see it and work within it. He let us into his home and introduced us to his mother. We got some great shots of him leaving his home, walking down his corridor and through the streets on his way to Cubbies. We shot out opening sequence which we believe is a great way to introduce Cubbies – through the eyes and through the journey of someone who was brought up by the place. ROR raps and he has an incredible one that we are going to use in our doco and it will also be playing in this opening sequence. A nice touch we thought of was to have ROR put on his headphones and as he does that his rap kicks in as if he was listening to that song at that particular moment.
After getting those shots we felt very good as we were finally able to tick something off our list. Next up we wanted to conduct a couple more interviews with the volunteers. We did so in a nice, quite, colourful corner where we heard some stories about both Cubbies and the lives of these two special people. After that we got some more observational footage and we went over some shots that didn’t quite work out last time around.
After 4 hours of hard yet productive work, we had completed what we set out to do and we finally felt that we were headed in the right direction. We left high spirited but still knowing he have a long way to go in the edit suites. We plan to have a rough cut done by next week which will hopefully display some sort of similarity to our final product. It seems like editing will be a much easier task as we have footage and we have a structure that we all feel comfortable with. Let’s hope we never return for more shooting at Cubbies again!
Until next time…
Here is some footage I put together after our first day of shooting. I was using my DSLR, Cannon 550D. This footage was like a test shoot. I want tog o over all these shots and shoot them again making sure everything is perfect. I want to use a tripod and make sure the white balance is ready for the shoot.
This sequence is not necessarily the style we are intending but it is a start. I think it is a beautiful piece that really captures what we are trying to go for.
Take a look…
Just finished watching the inspiring, heart-warming documentary ‘Being Elmo’ – A puppeteers Journey. Its the story of Kevin Clash, the man behind the iconic and much loved muppet – Elmo.
Probably one of the most rewarding documentaries I have watched. As Kevin puts it, the story gets much bigger than himself. What starts out as a story about a man following his dreams eventually comes to the point where Elmo is the worlds source of love and happiness. Sick children would come and watch Elmo. All Elmo wanted to do was give hugs and kisses and spread his love across to everyone.
In terms of how the doco technically worked – it was great to see and learn from it. One of the main reasons why it worked so well is because of the way it was made. The story flowed very smoothly as they chose the right pathways to lead from one element to the next. For example, Kevin would tell a story involving his parents which would lead and cut to his parents talking. We would hear the world New York and suddenly we were in the big smoke.
The music played a very big role in the film success as well. There were very few moments that didn’t have music. The music both moved and created an upbeat mood throughout the film. While thinking about my documentary, I would love to have music for the majority of the film as I feel without it a documentary can get very bland and continue in the same way with very little feeling.
Above everything though, was the interviews and the way the camera was set-up. There was a lot of re-creation and archival footage and photos but when an interview was taking a place it was so intriguing and gripping because of the way the camera was set up and where the director got the subject to look towards. The interview that stands out in my mind is the main one with Kevin. It is not set out in the conventional manner but rather his face is on one side of the frame while there is nothing on the other side. He stares at the camera. It’s a very interesting creative choice…but it really works. I need more time to think about why it works so well but I think it is just pleasing to the eye while being very simple and slick.
The film is structured so well that it takes you through the ups and downs. At first i didn’t feel connected with the stroy and what it was trying to get across. The problems and conflict seemed a little forced and questionable. But as it went on and as Elmo became “bigger than Kevin” – so did the issues, conflict and structure. The film suddenly turned from an upbeat cute sort of story into a heart-warming, inspiring piece of work. One could almost cry listening to the motives behind such an incredible character – love and happiness.
All in all, a fantastic piece that really taught me a lot and inspired me to not only make documentary film but to go out and do what I really love and want to do creatively.
Take a look at the trailer…