FMP: Week 4 Summary

What work was completed this week?

The beginning of this week was much less productive than I would have liked. However, in the last couple of days I made up for it with a series of unexpected developments which have made up for the initial lack of progress.

During this week I initially had two interviews planned, unfortunately both of these have had to be rescheduled to next week. I am also still to hear back from both the university lecturers I contacted the other week, I have therefore sent a follow up e-mail to both.

I was able to interview one of my contacts. I was initially concerned as to how to do the interview due to the fact that he is located in Leeds. The travel distance wasn’t possible (especially considering the lack of a budget) and therefore I had to find another way to conduct the interview. In the end I interviewed him using voice communication software called Discord, I recorded the interview using the same software I had used the previous week to stream, OBS Multi-platform. While I could not get a video of the person themselves I was able to record the software we were speaking over which showed an icon of him which lit up green as he spoke which gives a good visual representation and is reasonably visually pleasing. The interviewee was incredibly open and honest and gave much more in depth answers than some of my previous interviewees and went into different realms of discussion on the topic that had not come up in previous interviews (such as breakdown of social life and health). The interview itself was incredibly effective despite the lack of the usual format of video in person used for the other interviews. I intend to use a lot of B reel while using audio from this particular audio. Due to the interviewee being a voice actor as a hobby the audio quality was clear as he had a professional standard microphone.

The one major development I had this week that I had not initially planned on was the creation of a short 3 minute trailer using the footage I have gained thus far to use as a proof of concept. This will allow me to use it in my official pitch next week when presenting to my lecturers and class my overall idea. The main purpose of this, however, was initially to practice my editing skills and use it as an opportunity to make sure all the footage was of good quality to edit with and what factors I would need to consider for the project post production. Overall I discovered a way to integrate my video editing software (Sony Vegas 13) and my audio editing software (Audacity) to work in conjunction thus saving a lot of time in terms of cleaning up audio. It was also a very effective exercise in finding relevant footage for what was good to include and what could be missed out of the documentary. In a way it acted as a condensed documentary in terms of format which I then put to music trying to emulate the style of the 13th trailer (seen below).

(Netflix, 2016)

Problems faced

This week was the first week where I have experienced a different side of issues with creating a documentary. Previously I had experience several technical and practical issues such as audio recording trouble and how to transport equipment. This week, however, I encountered much more human related issues.

  1. Firstly I had the issue of a lack of availability for interview. The girlfriend of one of my interviewees who I was initially supposed to interview last week had gone back home for the University Easter break and will not return until mid May, by which point I intend to have completed filming. There was also the issue that despite finally having access to all my filming equipment due to having booked out the microphone I have used for the rest of the documentary, everyone was unavailable for interview until college resumes next week. This was frustrating as it gave me very little to do during the week (hence why I created the trailer). Also as discussed above two interviews with a father and son had to be rescheduled to next week at a yet undisclosed date based around their availability.
  2. Another issue was the fact that I had underestimated the effect the 24 hour gaming experience would have on me. I spent a lot of the week very lethargic and too tired to motivate myself to work and therefore lost more days to recovery. On top of this I then became ill (likely as a result of the lack of sleep) which again deteriorated my motivation and ability to work due to an inability to focus and frequent headaches. This again shows the disadvantages of creating a documentary single-handedly as production halted completely during this time.
  3. There was also the problem discussed above of the fact the one interview I was able to conduct during the week was located in Leeds and I was unable to travel to the location to film in person. I, therefore, had use other means of conducting the interview.

How they were overcome

  1. In terms of interviewees being unavailable I had expected this, I have multiple interviews lined up for next week while back at college which will make up for the lack of interviews done this week. In terms of the girlfriend I will likely try and interview her over software such as Skype of over a landline of some sort so I can at least have the audio to use for the project. Failing that I can possibly film the interview upon her return to Kent for University in May during my post production and slot the late interview in where relevant. This would show my versatility and ability to adapt to change. The other two interviews planned for this week have been rescheduled for next week but were last minute additions sparked by a conversation during the gaming social experiment. They are a bonus if I can get them and are not of a detriment to the documentary if not included. I will endeavor to work around their schedules for interviews and hopefully can do both in one visit for efficiency but since the son works night shifts at a supermarket I may need to film the two on separate visits when convenient for each individual.
  2. With the issue of being lethargic and ill I used the time to plan what work I would be able to complete when feeling better. Although I was unable to concentrate on doing specific work such as working on the production log, I was able to continue research into addiction (more so to influence the structure of the documentary than to flesh out my existing research as I feel it is more than satisifactory). I have learnt several more factors about addiction that I will be able to apply to the documentary and pick out of interviews. But for the most part I had to just rest and due to my schedule being fairly lax due to the time and speed at which I have worked to date I had the room to rest without feeling like I was running the risk of missing an specific deadline.
  3. In terms of the interview in Leeds, I have already explained above that I did this interview over Discord and was able to get a very effective interview despite being audio only. In a way I feel like the interviewee felt more comfortable to talk about more personal issues as they did not have a camera in front of them and could therefore feel more relaxed. In a way I feel like this work around actually benefitted the documentary as a whole.

Evaluation of work completed this week

The work that was completed this week I believe to be of a professional standard. My interview technique was of a good standard emulating that of Louie Theroux from my research. I took inspiration from Theroux’s technique by asking as open ended questions as possible with as little input on my part as possible and allowed the interviewee to interpret and answer the question the way they saw fit. This interview technique contributed highly in the more open and in depth answers I received for this interview over some others. The interview itself was incredibly emotive talking about how he has struggled with the addiction and condemning those who use it as a fad due to pop culture making gaming addiction considered less of a serious issue.

I feel like having gotten this perspective of someone who is self identified as an addict and wants to stop but is unable is an angle I had yet to acquire for my documentary and I feel it is one that was sorely needed in order to document the addiction justly. Many who have experienced the addiction in the past or do not identify as an addict view gaming addiction very differently than this interviewee and I feel that contrast being shown in the documentary will hopefully open up a lot more questions and enable a discussion in the audience. One of the core aims of my documentary is to have people talking about it and the topic after having watched it and I feel this is something documentaries such as 13th and Louie and the Nazis both did exceptionally well. I feel with the inclusion of this interview I am approaching this similar standard.

In terms of my trailer I am incredibly happy with the result. While I feel that as a trailer it would have benefited from more footage that I have yet to acquire, it was effective considering what I currently have to work with. As discussed above I created the documentary to partially emulate the style of the ’13th’ trailer. I feel like considering I did it in one sitting with limited footage it was very effective due to the fact it clearly had a structure to give an overall view of the plan I have for the documentary and the video compliments the music transitioning between clips with the music. I feel this gives it flow and gives a good sense of the feel for the documentary and leaves a lot of questions and encourages viewers to watch. I intend to show this trailer during my pitch to see how effective people find it and why, this will also be a good thing to show to my target audience to see if at this stage the way I have gone about the project thus far would appeal to them based on the trailer. In terms of weaknesses it may have been more effective if I had waited until I had access to more footage and the audio had not been adjusted and this comes out in one of the early clips quick obviously. Obviously this will be fixed in the final cut of the documentary but it does lower the overall quality of the trailer. Overall I am very pleased with this as it was never planned to be part of the work for my project and was initially just an editing exercise which I could reflect on in the production log.

Was work completed in reference to plan/ am  I on track?

Last week’s itinerary was slightly off as I worked my dates out incorrectly and was not in college in order to interview the gaming lecturers or gaming students, however due to the setbacks this week it is likely beneficial this was the case. Instead I did equally viable work through the editing practice and I will be conducting these interviews during week 5.

Next week’s itinerary 

  1. Conduct lecturer interviews
  2. Conduct student interviews
  3. Reschedule interviews with father and son
  4. Complete pitch of project to lecturer and class
  5. Update production log accordingly

Evidence of work completed

Bibliography

Netflix (2016). 13TH | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V66F3WU2CKk [Accessed 19 Apr. 2017].

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FMP: Week 4 Summary

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