28 April 2014

A month in the life of a Documentary student

By Cassio | Categorised in News
Weeks 1 & 2 
It’s incredible to think that I’ve only been studying Documentary Filmmaking with Met Film School for two weeks!  Taught by our award-winning tutor, our class has already developed an idea of the kind of films that we want to make as well as having a broad knowledge in the history, techniques and sub genres of documentary filmmaking. 
 
In our first week we viewed numerous film excerpts in order to discuss how they were shot and the decision making process behind each scene. This was a huge learning curve as there were several key issues that hadn’t occurred to me to think about before shooting: how to make the best use of natural light, advantages of shooting with a low budget and how to approach our subjects.  All of these concepts will help to bring our projects to a professional standard. Later in the week, things got very exciting as we were introduced to the cameras and started shooting the first exercises!
 
Our first project required us to shoot a basic interview in two different locations. First we interviewed our subject in a pub, where we had no control over the lighting conditions and the noise around, followed by a feedback session where the tutor corrected our mistakes and we could exchange ideas about each others techniques.  It was was so helpful getting that feeback from Industry insiders!  As well as directing our own interview, we took it in terms to be the camera-operator, sound recordist and interviewer on each other’s projects. Because of this, we all had a chance to experience different perspectives in the process of directing a documentary and how to work with a crew. Once we had the necessary skills to make our first short, we began our assignment to shoot outdoors and in situations we couldn’t control (it was left up to our subjects to decide on that!) We were trained in professional editing software and we went on to produce a short video.  My short interview “My Name Is..” is below:
  
 
 
Week 3
This week we had our difficulties- our assignment was to shoot 2 short films in 48 hours wduring the Tube Strike!
In the first project, we had to document and express a place, using only the location footage and the recorded sound. So we strolled up and down Ealing High Street, filming in random locations ranging from a car park to an indian dresses street stall. We had one day to edit final footage and deliver an engaging two minutes short film.
Filmmaking, as we know is all about multitasking!  We simultaneously visited potential participants for the second assignment, in which we had to portray someone performing their job. Seems simple, but having someone agreeing to be filmed is a craft in its own right! This time I worked with the people running an independent local charity shop and was surprised on how with the right approach, one can uncover a different world that lies under what can seem so ordinary at first sight. London has such unique characters!
Have a look at both my short films produced this week:
Watch:  For Children ­
Week 4
Very excitingly, I’m shooting a documentary on the gentrification of Brixton as my latest class project. I’m telling the story of two local members of the Brixton community: Emmanuel, the jamaican owner of a small juice shop, and Bertron, who runs a newly opened champagne bar located in the local market.
Brixton, in south London, is a place with a reputation of crime and urban decay; Brixton is known locally as an area which attracts the unemployed and crime rates have been high in recent years. However, it is also a diverse area, from the well-established West Indian community, through the long-term African residents, to the recently arrived Eastern Europeans. Brixton boasts significant Irish and Portuguese populations; a lot of French, Italian and Spanish; plenty of Indians and Pakistanis; and an underground scene of artists, fashion designers, poets and pop stars.  There is debate regarding whether Brixton’s recent renaissance is regeneration or gentrification.Some believe the area has slowly undergone a process of gentrification since the 1990s and has resulted in many wealthy middle class individuals taking advantage of the area’s location and the thriving Bohemian art scene.
Hailing from Brazil myself, the area reminds me of parts of Rio de Janeiro, as a similar process of gentrification is happening to the area. Contrasts exist everywhere, but London definitely has it’s unique mixture.
I will use this 10 minutes short film as a proposal to help me to raise funding towards the production of a feature documentary. Having the support of a tutor with vast experience in the industry is proving to be priceless. The course is a great way to develop an idea into a documentary and further develop a portfolio and snapshot of the work that I want to go on to produce.
During the making of this short documentary, I’m very glad that London has an efficient public transport system, allowing the three person crew to move around the city with a lot of equipment without the use of a car.  Check back in soon to see the final product!
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We run two short courses in Documentary Filmmaking: Part-Time Documentary Filmmaking and Documentary Filmmaking (Full time, 8 weeks)
If you are interested in finding out more about our short courses in Documentary Filmmaking, please visit our website.
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