A Masterclass with… The Team Behind Last Breath
Alex began the Masterclass by telling the audience how Last Breath came about.
“I first heard about the story when I was out with my family. I bumped into Richard (da Costa, the film’s Co-Director). We’d met about three years before working on another film. We got chatting and he told me about this unbelievable diving story.”
Da Costa has previously made the story into a corporate advert for the oil industry. After two minutes of watching, Alex knew this needed to be a documentary, and began working it into a feature-length film.
Alex and Richard were then introduced to Al through a mutual industry connection.
“Normally for a documentary you write a proposal, which is a couple of pages long. Alex created a whole storyboard – which was amazing!” Al exclaimed. “The guys had a brilliant story and extraordinary archive footage. For me, that’s why we had to make this into a documentary.”
When asked about how to keep viewers gripped from start to finish, Alex told the audience “You have to write a very detailed script. You’ve got to try it to see if it works, and then be brave enough to cut it if it isn’t working.”
“In film you’ve got a captive audience. If they’re in the cinema, they’re there to watch the film. In TV, you can lose them, so it’s a different kind of storytelling. Keep each episode different.”
“Archive is key in documentary. Reconstruction is a great way of blurring things together, but you need a good archive to make it accurate. If you use both together, and do it well, the audience won’t even notice because they’re following the story.”
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