Project Evaluation/Critical Analysis

FINAL FILM:

In the grand scheme of things, I am happy with my final film. However, as it is the largest project I have ever undertaken, there is a lot that I could have done to a higher standard and a lot I can learn from the experience as a whole to move forward both professionally and creatively.

In terms of my topic, I feel that the subject matter was spot on and it was the right decision to choose the currently relevant topic of Tinder that I had a passion for telling a story about. I was able to delve deep into a topic and tell a piece of genuine human interest and reveal a grounded view of what your typical user encounters on the application.  Whilst I feel this was a good idea, it perhaps may have been better to do the experiment over a larger timespan as it would have created a larger opportunity to have more interesting developments happen.

Pre-production

When undertaking the entire pre-production job by myself, I found it very difficult but highly beneficial. As I was working alone, I had to rely solely on myself for all aspects of research and development. This became particularly noticeable when I had to keep in contact with all of my four participants throughout and arrange shooting with each of them simultaneously whilst ensuring it was all done professionally. Furthermore, I had to push myself to understand the ins and outs of every detail and ensure that every loose end was tied up, jobs such as getting release forms signed, recce forms and shooting schedules became imperative to me. This has improved my confidence in creating a production and in my own abilities to take charge unequivocally.

In terms of pre-production skills, I developed my planning skills the most. Often, I would just turn up to a location without planning in advance before this project. However, when you are investing so much of your time and money into a film you take things more seriously to ensure that you are not wasting your own and your crew’s time. Using location recce forms, equipment forms and scouting locations made everything unambiguously more organised and successful.

Production

During production, it was a very interesting learning experience. As I wouldn’t be there to oversee every part of every shoot, as some would be vlogs, I had to ensure that my vision was passed on to anyone who held a camera. I learnt a lot about communicating my creative vision and trying my best to achieve it through improving my techniques.

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Overall, I was pleased with how well I was able to adapt to new situations. However, it was quite difficult to do so when I ran into problems with the shoots. In a few shoots I had the problem of discovering issues after shooting that were one off shoots than only had one opportunity for it to work. So, it made me have a lot of issues in post production that lead to be having some less than stellar footage that I had to do my best with. Despite doing planning in advance and creating a location recce form that I adhered too, I perhaps should have planned a formal test shoot beforehand to ensure that everything was entirely up to scratch. However, this motivated to ensure I had everything perfect in later shoots and perform formal test shoots with individuals that I could not reshoot. This paid off as I was much happier with the later shoots’ footage. Although some of the footage I got was less than perfect it has been vastly helpful in improving my professional experience.

Directing

During the duration of my production, I had to direct 4 different participants and 1 cameraman, all of which had varied experiences in operating cameras and audio equipment that I had to convey my vision to, testing my skills as a director. As I wouldn’t be there to oversee every single shoot as some were vlogs, I had to be able to pass my vision onto the participants very well and show that I was confident in what I want and be able to convey that clearly and concisely. It of course was a very stressful experience as I couldn’t always see what was happening and didn’t know for sure that it was of a good standard, but I had to trust that I had briefed them enough. The footage was not always to the high standard I would have hoped, this could have perhaps been improved by either briefing them even further or by hiring a production assistant that could have helped in communicating and visiting the contributors. However, it has been very beneficial experience in dealing with documentary contributors and how to deal with them effectively.

Post Production

As I mentioned previously, I left myself with a lot of work to do in post production, leaving myself with a lot of perfecting to do to make my project and interesting and technically good. When working with the footage, it was a massive test to be able to have the patience to be able to edit the clips in a way which was interesting and technically good as some of it was not up the the standard I wanted. However, this helped in building my technical skills and my character in the face of adversity and moving past it towards the goal I intended. Whilst the entire experience of post production was given enough time if everything went perfectly, I perhaps should have respected the process more and allowed time incase everything didn’t go to plan so I didn’t have to stress and rush my edit. Sadly, I ended up paying for this error and the final product isn’t completely as good as I wished it to be. I will learn from this experience in the future and allow myself more time so I don’t have to deal with this disappointment again. Whilst it is good to be optimistic and confident about my abilities, I shouldn’t be over-confident and I should allow myself time to make mistakes.

Professional Context

Unfortunately I have not had loads of interest in passing this documentary onto any networks. Sadly,  I do not believe the shooting specifications are up to scratch into passing it on to networks. This is something I should have took into greater consideration before shooting to ensure I had the opportunity to present my project as a completed, high value piece. However, I do believe the idea is good enough. So, I aim to use this documentary as a proof of concept and try and sell the idea and perhaps reshoot it in the network’s vision if I am given the opportunity. Even if I was not given the opportunity to do so under a network’s funding, I was hoping I would be able to fund remaking the documentary on a higher budget through making profit out of the current cut. I then would be able to improve my camera and audio quality, the nature of the participants and my post production in being able to hire an editing assistant.

When looking at similar documentaries and comparing them to my finished product, there are a lot of similarities in the the two of them as I tried to base my style around theirs. Documentaries such as ‘The Secret World of Tinder’ (Channel 4, 2016) are ones which I base my style and ways of representing the subject matter around. As it is on the Tinder also, it provided a good starting point in regards to how they dealt with representing the topic which I was able to use. They only would mention the topic very briefly and instead focus on the individual and their story, something which I carried across to my production.

Like the above, my idea was being an observational, fly on the wall, type of part of my participant’s experiences. Despite following this guideline quite strictly, I perhaps did it too much so, giving too little information about Tinder and assuming too much knowledge of the viewer. I did this as a style choice so they learnt about the app along with the participants, going on a journey together, but this idea didn’t work as well as I hoped when reviewing it as they didn’t get to know some key information they perhaps should have known.

I also used the BBC documentary, ‘The Age of Loneliness’ (BBC, 2016) as one of my prime examples which I found greatly useful. This helped in using techniques which helps in offering a more grounded view of more down to earth, not extravagant people. However, whilst I used many of the techniques such as music and shooting styles, I could have perhaps improved it further by adding it more of a variety of shots to reflect moods, focusing on the emotions behind the words rather than the words themselves. By following the stylistics of these documentaries by network television, it helped in ensuring I followed a professional guideline but at the same time it limited me creatively and should have not taken it quite so seriously.

Fitting Documentary Format

When Stephen Reynolds came in to the university to speak about his film, I managed to pick his brain about the documentary format and he spoke to me about how all documentaries should reveal a truth, but it’s the truth we choose to tell so it’s partially constructed. I had this in the back of my mind throughout the production, trying to tell the truth that I wanted to tell. I felt like by including certain signs and signifiers in my edit such as certain parts of interviews, I helped lead my viewers toward seeing the truth that I wanted to tell.

I got inspired by certain other elements in the documentaries I previously mentioned, elements which I believed helped in telling the truth I wanted to tell. This included adding elements of interviews which structured the environment to get the participants to talk about the subject matters I wanted them to, guiding them to a decision on the topic. However, this could have perhaps been done better through placing them in an even more structured environment, meaning they would have to use the application more, also ensuring they would find the truth I wanted to show more naturally, helping enforce the integrity of the documentary format.

Did I achieve what I set out to?

As documentary cannot be truly planned and you can just set a framework in order to achieve success and plan to be able to adapt to the ever changing circumstances. For example, I initially planned for my documentary to just follow two people but after consideration I decided that 4 people of different genders and situations was the best examples. As I had the example of ‘The Secret World of Tinder’ I wanted to produce a documentary that had a similar style but focused on the lighter, more realistic version of the user base which was a new concept. I feel I achieved in showing how these users interact with the application through passion and studying the form and style which allowed me to present this information.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the largest thing I learnt from creating this production is how to be a professional. When looking back at the process, I am proud of the progression I have made as a media producer. Despite the fact that the end product may not completely match my vision, the experience and what I have learnt from it has been invaluable, improving my technical skills and my knowledge vastly.

Whilst I can’t speak to what the public’s opinion is as it hasn’t been publicly viewed and shared yet, the people I have shared the footage with say it is compelling and funny. Despite it not being technically the most amazing footage, I feel I definitely achieved what I set out to achieve in terms of subject matter and editing it to be interesting.

However, I think it was less than perfect in the way the footage was shot, I learnt as I went along and improved on my weaknesses. I should have perhaps hired more crew to ensure that I have a second eye on all matters and so I didn’t spread my attentions too thin.  From all this I have learned, I can definitely improve myself and move forward in a positive manner that will help all of my future productions.

References

BBC. (2016) The Age Of Loneliness – BBC One [online] available from <http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06vkhr5&gt; [5 May 2016]

Channel 4. (2016) The Secret World Of Tinder [online] available from <http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-secret-world-of-tinder&gt; [5 May 2016]

Trailer Critical Evaluation/Process

This is my final trailer, which I have posted on my Twitter, Facebook and website, http://reillyfilmandediting.wix.com/documentary which I have talked about all of their production previously.

I was inspired by trailers of similar subject matters and began creating my trailer to a similar ideal. I spoke about how I wanted to tease the audience into watching the full length documentary by using one liners. I feel I did this effectively through the use of short cuts to lines said by every participant. These one liners don’t give away much information but do ask a question of the audience that they should want to know the answer to. Whilst I did it quite comically, I could have perhaps focused on the deeper side of the documentary, also asking an emotional question to be answered rather than just a comical one.

I said I wanted to offer the character of the individuals involved. I feel this was done fairly well as I cherry picked quotes to give an idea of how that contributor’s personality is perceived in the documentary, whilst not giving too much away. However, this could have perhaps been improved by adding in a range of emotions from each individual and presenting them to be more multifaceted which would in turn ask more questions that the audience would want to watch the documentary to answer.

Furthermore, I wanted to plant the idea of the topic within the trailer. Through the use of techniques I saw in trailers such as ‘Blind Date’ (Anon, 2016) where they reinforced the topic matter through quotes from the participants, the soundtrack and graphics. I applied all these techniques; I only used quotes which were obviously about the main topic, the music used was of a tempo and genre which matched and the graphics gave key information about the documentary, including letting the audience know the release date and using relevant cuts using the glitch effect to show it is a modern topic about technology. Despite doing all this, I perhaps feel I was too subtle about the genre. When speaking about presenting a topic you’re passionate about, Barth once said “assume your audience is intelligent but KNOWS NOTHING about your subject, including jargon and tiresome abbreviations” (Anon, 2016) and I assumed too much prior knowledge of the subject matter, not once mentioning explicitly what the documentary is about. I instead offered fleeting words which hinted towards what I was creating, which whilst is teasing towards knowledgeable people on the subject matter, probably wasn’t the smartest idea for the most part.

Despite my final cut of my documentary not being available for viewing yet, I am able to judge how successful my film is due to the response to the trailer, most of which has been wildly positive. I have had various comments saying that they can’t wait to see the full version which fills me with confidence that I have achieved my previously set out aims for the trailer. In terms of my own personal development, this process has been a hugely beneficial one where I have been far more focused in the ins and outs of creating a trailer and doing far more contextual research than I would have done prior into this process, allowing it to be a greater success than usual.

References

Anon. (2016) Blind Date Facebook Page [online] available from <https://www.facebook.com/blinddatedocumentary/&gt; [2 May 2016]

Anon. (2016) Tips And Tricks Towards An Outstanding Presentation – Pimp Your Science[online] available from <http://www.pimpyourscience.org/lesson/6/Tips-and-tricks-towards-an-outstanding-presentation.html&gt; [3 May 2016]

Post Production – Process and Critical Evaluation

When editing I have to “have a deep understanding of how people think, feel, remember and learn” and use “this knowledge to build powerful, moving stories and experiences.” (Staff, 2014). So I must be close to the information I am showing and edit it in a way that shows I have empathy for the situation, creating a story which my audience will enjoy and be engaged in. In order to be as close as I can be emotionally to the footage, I will be editing it as I go along. By doing this I will still have the situations fresh in my memory and be able to engage with the materials with more emotionality. Also, it will help in slowly breaking down my workload and treating each participant’s footage differently as I won’t be overlapping often.

As it often is with interviews, the subjects often talk for minutes upon minutes about things that will sadly not improve the storyline which you are trying to show, so I need to edit it in a way which is seamless. Ted say you should “Cut on words. The sound of a word, especially if it contains a hard consonant, can make an edit feel less obvious.” (Staff, 2014) This is a technique which I used very, very often. It helped vastly in creating cuts which didn’t take the audience’s attention away from the subject. However, I perhaps overused it and could have used a variety of shots that linked in with the participants feelings and not always do the same technique.

As parts of my footage wasn’t directly filmed by me, for instance some vlogs and the screen recordings done on their phones, I had issues in retrieving the data. I learnt a lot about the reliability of people, something I should have vexed beforehand. If I have had a longer interview process for my participants then perhaps I wouldn’t have had such issues as I would be certain they would relay the footage to be in an appropriate timescale and not leave me clambering for it. This lead to me not editing to the schedule I had previously decided on, not allowing me to take the proper care and attention to detail I would have liked to. This issue could have been solved by allowing myself more time for post production in my schedule to allow for such inconveniences to take place.

As I have spoken about in my previous blog posts, I had issues with audio in certain shoots with one of the participants. Whilst I attempted to save this and vastly improved some of the audio as well as cutting around some of the unsavable parts, some less than stellar footage had to be used due to it being integral to the storytelling process. If I had hired an editing assistant, they could have perhaps improved the situation further as they would have a larger knowledge than I of how to deal with situation such as the one I faced. This is something I should definitely consider more seriously in the future.

Doyle speaks about how as a producer/story editor you are expected to “act like an exec until you can produce results like an exec” (Freedman Doyle, 2012). So, this means I need to be confident in my footage and my truth that I am telling and be sure in the decisions I am making and keep making them until the final product resembles something of a high quality. I tried to do this to the best of my ability, however I feel this is something I lacked, I didn’t experiment enough in the way in which I edited the footage in fears that I would ruin it. This is something I need to work on in the future and be more headstrong and experimental.

An aspect I found particularly enthralling was creating the title sequence. I wanted to create something that was sleek, said a lot about the topic and introduced the participants. I followed guidelines by PremiumBeat on how to create a killer title sequence. (Premiumbeat.com, 2015) These tips included having a slick font, easy to read titles and to have fun animations that matched your genre. I feel I achieved all of these aspects, using logos and the book opening effect (to signify the diary like aspect of the film) to show the genre, a slick font to show it is modern and professional and easy to read titles by not over animating them and putting them in capitals.

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Another piece of advice from TED was to “Keep things moving. The web audience has a short attention span.” (Staff, 2014). So, I ensured that one situation wasn’t drawn out for two long, changing between what the subject was doing and the subject themselves. Whilst this was effective, I could have perhaps cut to a larger variety of camera angles to keep it more visually interesting. This is something I aim to improve in the future.

As I had four participants filming over a week as well as various street interview sessions, I ended up with over 4 hours of footage to cut down to a fifth of its size. This is a task that cannot be understated of how difficult it was. You become attached to your footage and want to tell the whole story in and out, so you have to be ruthless and really know how to edit a documentary. VideoUniversity speak about editing a documentary and say that you should “look for and collect those magic moments of truth and beauty. Then you can begin to string them together and see what flows.” (VideoUniversity.com, 2015) So that’s exactly what I did. I looked through the footage and cut anything that didn’t add towards creating a magic moment or pointing towards the truth I wanted to show. Then, from there I further edited it down to only footage that flowed in the story arc. Whilst this was difficult, I feel I did an excellent job in cutting off all the non integral parts of the story and the entertainment I want to provide.

Despite post-production being incredibly difficult at the best of times for this production, it has helped me grow as a film editor and producer undoubtedly. It’s shown me all the things that can go wrong and how to plan for them and/or prevent them from happening in the future as well as how to push myself to better myself professionally and technically. I feel I can move onto my next project with buckets more confidence in this field.

References

Freedman Doyle, B. (2012) Make Your Movie. Burlington: Elsevier Science

Premiumbeat.com. (2015) 5 Easy Tips For Creating An Awesome Title Sequence [online] available from <http://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/5-easy-tips-for-creating-an-awesome-title-sequence/&gt; [3 May 2016]

Staff, T. (2014) 10 Tips For Editing Video [online] available from <http://blog.ted.com/10-tips-for-editing-video/&gt; [3 May 2016]

VideoUniversity.com. (2015) How To Edit And Structure Your Documentary – Videouniversity [online] available from <https://www.videouniversity.com/articles/how-to-edit-and-structure-your-documentary/&gt; [4 May 2016]

The Secret World of Tinder

The Secret World of Tinder – “This eye-opening documentary reveals how smartphone apps have revolutionised dating” (4oD, 2016) This documentary is a particularly helpful one for helping me understand the subject matter and form I will be tackling. When watching the documentary, I made some key notes about the style I noticed:

  • Focus on the deeper questions when interviewing participants

  • Shallow focus/close ups during interviews.

  • Introduction about new documentary participants.

  • Lots of emotional scenes due to subject matter

  • Ends on an ending thought to leave a memory with the viewer.

  • Filler music used often

  • Humour used often

I will be looking to implement these key points within my documentary to allow my project to have more of a professional feel to it.

When looking at the biographies of the two main participants they have for their documentary we can see these:

“Self-confessed sex addict John, 42, turned to various dating apps when his marriage ended after just 20 months, and he claims to have had over 200 dates thanks to the technical revolution. Half of those dates appear to have been a success as he also insists he’s slept with over 100 females because of such applications, and boasts he once slept with NINE women in one week.”

“Pete, 38, who is into animal role-play, specifically puppy-play. He meets up with men who he can play animal-style games such as fetch, roll over, and have belly rubs with. While his partner of 16 years, Mirza, DOESN’T share his puppy love, he doesn’t object to Pete sniffing around others with similar tastes.” (Leyfield, 2015)

These biographies focus on the extraordinary, they show the crazy stories about the individuals. They try and show the unique points of the documentary they are creating. I will apply the same style for my production and highlight the fact I am providing more of a grounded piece of material that focuses on real situations that happen every day that you don’t get to see.

References

4oD. (2016) The Secret World Of Tinder [online] available from <http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-secret-world-of-tinder/on-demand&gt; [30 March 2016]

Leyfield, J. (2015) The Secret World Of Tinder: Meet Puppy Play Enthusiast And Sex Addict[online] available from <http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/secret-world-tinder-documentary-explores-5698502&gt; [30 March 2016]

Distribution and outreach plans; Project Management and Audience Research

Whilst in the post production process, I have looked further into how I am going to distribute my film. I need to look into how I can meet the requirements of different festivals through different factors such as film length and other technical and physical requirements. I have set myself a few ideas of how to work towards furthering myself and my project through the distribution process:

  • Build up an interested audience through the social media outlets I have created to create a buzz around the film.
  • Use the film as a personal portfolio piece to show my prestige as a documentary film maker.
  • Get some form of involvement in a festival to help give my film and myself a coup.
  • Get some of the money back that I have invested in the project/make a profit from the production so I can reinvest in making new and exciting projects.

When looking at the film festivals survey in 2013, there were currently around 3,000 active film festivals. (Follows, 2013) This number is likely to have risen even more in recent years. This statistic shows that it clear that film festivals are very much a viable and smart option to distribute your film. However, with the popularity incurs a significant cost, as I will have to pay to enter any film festival with any level of prestige. As I am working with a very low budget, allocating money for distribution is something that will be taking up a large part of my budget. However, festival entry will be imperative in helping achieving my aims of being successful in this project so I must scrutinise the choices I make to make the right decision in terms of cash allocation and matching my project to the right festival.

 

A lot of acclaimed festivals are not in the United Kingdom, for example Sundance is in the United States, Venice Film Festival (Italy), the Cannes Film Festival (France), the Toronto Film Festival (Canada). Whilst it would be incredible and prestigious to be involved in any of these, it isn’t financially viable for me to be travelling out of the UK. So, I must narrow my vision to those based locally. Sadly, only 5.5% of film festivals are based in the United Kingdom, as represented in the graph below.

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(Follows, 2013)

The three main festivals I am targeting to enter are Sheffield Doc Fest, London International Documentary Festival and Open City Documentary Festival. These 3 festivals meet the criteria of being local, all being based in the UK, and of being in the documentary format.

Creating an online presence for my project is a free option of marketing my project, and with the use of Google adsense, (Google, 2016) I could potentially make money from the use of adverts that get placed before my documentary. This could be a very helpful tool in helping regain some of my investment in the project. A short 15 minute lesson created by YouTube themselves details how you can make money from your content. (YouTube, 2016). They go into detail of how successful this money making technique can be, giving relevant examples, and this has assured me that this is a worthwhile marketing route to go down. However, they say that the more popular the video gets, the more high value your adverts will become. So whilst it is important to focus on maximising your revenue via this platform, I need to raise interest elsewhere to get more viewership visiting my project. So I have signed up to this service so I can maximise my earnings on both YouTube and Vimeo from my documentary. Whilst this is a good idea in terms of revenue, it may hinder my entry into film festivals as 28% do not accept films that are available online. (Follows, 2013) So I must way up the pros and cons of this move before deciding.

As my documentary offers a topic which is prevalent in popular culture at the moment, I can look at reach out to groups that already exist and ask them to spread my documentary out to their audience. Twitter and Facebook groups on Tinder are numerous and I will be reaching out to the ones I deem to be professional enough so their sharing will be beneficial to my cause. After being aware of my audience that I will be distributing to even further, I feel confident that my editing style will match the intended distribution audience.

References

Follows, S. (2013) Film Festivals Pt 1: The Truths Behind Film Festivals [online] available from <http://stephenfollows.com/film-festivals-pt1-the-truths-behind-film-festivals/&gt; [26 April 2016]

Google. (2016) Make Money Online Through Website Monetization | Google Adsense – Google[online] available from <https://www.google.com/adsense/start/#?modal_active=none&gt; [30 April 2016]

YouTube (2016) Make Money With Youtube [online] available from <https://youtube.com/creatoracademy/page/lesson/revenue-basics&gt; [30 April 2016]

 

EPK Evaluation

My electronic press kit has now been produced and is available on my website, here it is:

ModernMobileDatingEPK

In a previous post, I spoke of the things in which I wanted to add to my EPK after doing research of other similar press kits. I did adapt and include all these ideas that can be seen on the post, such as an FAQ, behind the scenes photographs and a synopsis. In terms of adapting my work, I wanted it to be designed in a way that matched my genre and target audience, conveying the subject matter was dating and doing it in a sleek, modern way to attract the younger target audience. I feel this was achieved through the use of the graphics, colour scheme and font that I used.

I reinforced this theme by having the tinder logo as the page marker on each page and a range of logos from the app as a stylistic choice at the header of each page also. I kept it sleek through the light and simple silver background as well as the use of simple and stylish font and colour. Despite doing all this, I still tried to mimic the spacing and structure of other popular EPKs to keep it professional. I also paid particular focus to the FAQ section as this is a section I feel added an extra something to the EPKs I saw and made you have a connection to the production.

However, during my production, I neglected the need to get behind the scenes pictures, getting a very minimal amount of them. If I had taken more time to think about it, I could have perhaps created more images that could be of a high interest to the audience by planning and executing this aspect more effectively. I should have made it a higher priority and realised the importance of evidencing your production as you’re creating it.

However, I feel this experience has been beneficial as a whole and I have created an EPK that focuses well on the main selling points of my documentary and offers a varied look at various aspects of the production. I will take all of these experiences forward to improve myself professionally and creatively.

New Participant Shoot Process and Evaluation

After evaluating my first shoot, I took forward what I learnt from that to my latter participants to improve my shooting style and ensure my end product is more professional and well organised. As I was shooting in a very similar circumstance as I was prior, I was able to apply these lessons directly to improve myself and my product.

After having previous issues with insufficient planning in terms of doing formal test shoots, I made this an absolute priority. As I was shooting stuff that could not be reshot, I had to ensure that all my equipment was set up to a standard which would be acceptable and that I could be happy with. I did a couple of quick test shoots with the new participant and found slight concerns with the audio being too loud. Having this found out early on was a massive help as trying to recover distorted audio would have been a painstaking, almost impossible task to make it sound professional.

As I foresaw in my location recce form, the room had quite an echo to it as well as being quite offset in a strange colour. So, I planned prior to ensure I would be able to deal with this. I made sure I had two microphone options to allow for mistakes. Due to the echos, I brought along a directional mic to not pick up the echos and a clip on mic as a backup. The backup wasn’t needed as the first option came out clearly. However, it was good to have a backup and I felt prepared incase. However, I should have perhaps done a more thorough location visit and tested this beforehand so I didn’t need to bring additional unneeded equipment. In terms of the colouring, I spent extra time white balancing and ensuring that the subject was well lit. The use of the location recce form was invaluable to be throughout this process.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 15.43.52

As I have met with these participants and kept close contact with them as we approached the shooting, I am always comfortable with them which leads to a very friendly and open environment in which we can discuss topics freely and get the most out of the shooting situation. A documentary interview tip is to keep the interviewee comfortable. (Desktopdocumentaties.com, 2016) This is something which I never faltered with and went out of my way to achieve.

I am happy with the fact that I wrote up a production schedule with lengthy topics on it and gave it to the participants early on as they were always prepared to answer them when it came to shooting. It is said that two of the key elements to documentary interviews is to “prepare and avoid yes or no answers.” (Desktopdocumentaties.com, 2016) So, by preparing the subjects and myself prior to the interview and giving meaty topics that we can dig our teeth into I could create an environment for the interview to thrive in. However, it’s also said that you should “prepare but be spontaneous“. Whilst I feel I did this by going off topic and leading the conversation down new paths when the opportunity presented itself, the interview could have perhaps been more spontaneous and genuine if the interviewee didn’t know the topics beforehand.

In an effort to be even more prepared, I tended to brief my subject on what questions I was going to be asking. In theory I thought this would help the subject feel calm and confident in what they have to say, which it did. However, like Raindance suggests in their documentary interview tips, you should “never do pre-interviews… your interviewee might tell you an incredible story off camera and when asked to repeat it might be unnatural and forced.” (Raindance, 2015) This is something I had to deal with as often they would try and answer the questions off camera as they would say what they would respond to the question to check its alright and then when on camera it didn’t appear natural. This is something I will improve in the future by not giving them the questions beforehand and to always be rolling when I am speaking about the subject matter so I don’t lose the perfect response.

Overall, I feel I have developed as a director, producer and professional since my first shoot and learnt a lot more in what it means to create a successful environment to thrive in. These latter shoots have been far more successful and has inspired me to be even better in future shoots and take forward what I have learned in a constructive manner to improve myself and my production.

References

Desktopdocumentaties.com. (2016) Top 10 Video Interviewing Tips For Documentary Filmmaking [online] available from <http://www.desktop-documentaries.com/interviewing-tips.html&gt; [15 Apr 2016]

Raindance. (2015) 10 Tips For Shooting A Documentary Interview – Raindance [online] available from <http://www.raindance.org/10-tips-when-shooting-a-documentary-interview/&gt; [15 Apr 2016]

Trailer Research

Having a killer trailer or work sample may not guarantee your film’s success in the funding lottery or land you that coveted distribution deal, but it does ensure that your film will cause funders, distributors and other decision makers to stand up and take notice.“(International Documentary Association, 2016)

On the back of this advice from the IDA, I knew I had to create a trailer ensures that the people of interest would take notice in my project. To sell my film to the ‘funders, distributors and other decision makers’ . It should also be used to “show all the people who’ve been helping you out a glimpse of what they produced.” (Film Shortage, 2012) As I have been undertaking an IndieGoGo campaign, this process is even more necessary to give back to those who have been supporting me. On reflection, I should have perhaps started this process earlier so I could have provided my audience with a trailer earlier. They also state that trailers are “often not showing the creative depth of a good film“. So, I have to show the creative depth of my production within my trailer. I aim to show all the different aspects of my production within the short time I have.

When looking at the length of the trailer I should be making, I can look at the National Association of Theatre Owners’ (NATO) guidelines on the subject:

teaser trailer = 15-30 seconds, trailer = 1- 1:30, theatrical trailer = 1:30-2 minutes. (Natoonline, 2016)

As I am doing a piece on human interest, I should not give away too much but still give a sense as to what the film is about. So, around the minute mark should be an ideal marker. The MPAA (2013) states that a trailer must be no longer than 2 minutes & 30 seconds, so my trailer will be within this limit easily if I aim for that marker.

Whilst having this in the back of my head, I chose to have a look at some example documentaries that are from successful projects to aid me in creating a professional trailer. I analysed the way in which they are successful in presenting their subject and getting the interest of the audience.

  • Quick cuts between scenes that are interesting and display the participants and subject matter in a riveting fashion.
  • Music used to set the mood of how you should be feeling about the subject matter.
  • Titles used for key information.
  • Music to help with the pacing of the trailer
  • Relevant graphics used to feed information to the viewer
  • Short snippets/quotes to help establish the participants and the subject matter.

These are all aspects which I feel would carry over well into my documentary trailer and link well in presenting the subject matter and the participants. But how do I present these styles to the audience? When reading a paper on what makes an effective film trailer, they state that “another main purpose in film trailers is to leave the viewer with a feeling of anticipation and the urge to want to see the film.” (Anon, 2016) This allowed me to believe that I must tease my audience of the main footage but give them them enough so they are left curious and wanting to see more.  So if I use these styles to edit around my subject matter to create this effect on the audience then I should have a successful trailer.

One thing that is apparent is that you need a hook to get the viewers to help stick in the minds of the viewers. You need a ‘memorable one-liner that everyone will tell their friends the next day after seeing your movie.’ (Screenwriting.4filmmaking.com, 2015) So, I will be looking through my clips and finding a few funny/deep moments which help in establishing the the subject matter and the individual whilst also being memorable and attract and audience that want to see more.

To summarise, I want my trailer to be a minute long, establish the participants and the subject matter in a meaningful and entertaining way, provide the audience with a reason to come back and see more by teasing them and use professional techniques that I have learned from other trailers to ensure that it is of a high standard that I can sell to potential gatekeepers.

References

Anon. (2016) What Makes An Effective Film Trailer?. Masters. Greenwich

Film Shortage, (2012) The Art Of The Trailer [online] available from <http://filmshortage.com/the-art-of-the-trailer/; [25 Apr 2016]

International Documentary Association. (2016) Doc U: Making Your Trailer Stand Out [online] available from <http://www.documentary.org/event/doc-u-making-your-trailer-stand-out&gt; [20 April 2016]

Mpaa.org, (2015) available from <http://www.mpaa.org/; [1 May 2016]

Natoonline.org, (2016) [online] available from <http://natoonline.org/; [2 Apr 2016]

Screenwriting.4filmmaking.com, (2015) Finding Story Ideas – Film School Online [online] available from <http://screenwriting.4filmmaking.com/find-ideas.html&gt; [2 Apr 2016]

 

Building a Website

Now that I have created social media presences, and reached a stage of post production, I will now creating a website for my production so I can have a more professional online presence. I will be aiming to transfer audience across from the social media platforms to my new platform whilst also having a platform to market to others, perhaps more professional individuals. Even though I will be creating on a new platform, I will look to stick to the same stylistic choices I chose before to reinforce my brand and retain my audience.

When reading an article on how knowing your audience impacts your website, it said you should try answer the following questions: (Harstein, 2014)

  • What do you want to accomplish:  To be able to market my documentary in a professional manner whilst reaching out to my potential audience and other professionals in a meaningful and effective way.
  • Who do you need to visit your website for this to happen: Ideally I would have journalists visit my website so they might report about it, festival organisers so that they can see my film in a professional light and members of my audience so they engage further
  • What would they care about: They would all want the information to be clear and easy to access and they would want further information about the production, including perhaps behind the scenes footage, extra information and an electronic press kit.
  • What do they already know about your project: They will possibly have information through either social networking sites or from festival submissions, but they may have none which means it’s important I cover all the key information.
  • Any important/defining demographic information: As my production is targeted towards a young audience, I have to create my website with that in mind whilst also being aware of creating it with the possibility of older journalists/festival organisers seeing it also.
  • What’s the reason you give them to visit your site: To gather more information about the documentary.

When taking all this into account, these are some of the key points I will be looking to check off when creating my website:

  • Modern design that still keeps true to the genre and isn’t too distracting to the information being presented.
  • The site will be very easy to read and be sleek and professional, using modern and professional fonts and pictures etc.
  • I will include extra knowledge that isn’t found on social networking sites, for instance videos and the electronic press kit.
  • Show basic information about the film, including the logline and synopsis so that new audience members are aware of what the documentary entails.
  • Link to the social media pages to reinforce our network

References

Hartstein, D. (2014). The Ways Knowing Your Audience Impacts Your Website. [online] Wired Impact. Available at: http://wiredimpact.com/blog/knowing-audience-impacts-website/[Accessed 15 Apr. 2016].

Making an EPK

Before creating an Electronic Press Kit, I did various research into what is expected from the format and how I could make mine good. To do this, I looked at various examples of Electronic Press Kits online and applied features of them to my own.
What is the use for an EPK
When looking at the Raindance website, ‘A press kit is used to send details of the film to journalists and acquisitions executives.’ (Raindance, 2013) This means that the main purpose of the EPK is to be a readily available resource that I could send to journalists so that they receive the information they require.

The article states that the key steps are these:

Step 1: Create a Folder – these will be useful when you need a copy to hand at events

Step 2: Write a Synopsis – “A synopsis is a summary of the story of your film told in an engaging way that captures the reader’s interest and makes them want to see the film

Step 3: Write Cast and Crew Bio – “You should include brief biographies of the key people you worked with on your movie”

Step 4: Create Ten FAQs – “Creating hype and publicity for your film means that you have to give precise direction and guidance to the people who hear about your film” This could perhaps include audience members or executives or people in similar gatekeeper positions.

Step 5: Get Publicity Stills  –  Having a good collection of stills can help massively in marketing as it can be used for various promotion methods such as posters, dvd covers, etc. 

Step 6: Include Reviews and Third Party Endorsements – “All commercial enterprise uses third party endorsements.” This will help in creating an air of legitimacy around my production.

Step 7: Create an Electronic Press Kit – “An electronic press kit (EPK) is a set of videos and photos, interviews with the principal cast and crew, duplicated and distributed to appropriate people” So, this covers the format of how I should add all of this information together. This could be in the form of a dropbox, usb stick, etc.

(Raindance, 2013)

By using these headers, I should have a fairly concise idea of what to put into the content of my Press Kit, should I apply all the ideas to the correct areas of my production.

Examples

When accounting for these factors, I decided it best to look at a few examples so I can break down how they have interpreted what their content should be.

 Bag It – EPK – A documentary environmental waste. Useful example due to the documentary format.

  • I liked the colour scheme and design they used for their pages. The light blue and grey really matched the theme of the documentary and wasn’t too distracting away from the information on the page.
  • The question and answer section was particularly effective. I feel adding a different twist on the FAQ section definitely helped in making the EPK seem more personal.
  • The length of the EPK was a good one. It went into enough features and with each feature it told what it needed to with clear and concise detail. This makes it particularly easy for the audience to clearly manage the information they are being fed.
  • I feel the layout perhaps is a bit too clustered however. The pictures and words are perhaps too close together which makes the information look a bit intimidating. Larger spacing would help deal with this issue.

Adult Life Skills EPK (Tribeca Festival, 2016) – A film about a woman’s coming of age. Useful example as it follows a person’s emotional journey.

  • The layout of this EPK is very inventive which I like. They have really tried to capture the genre of the film within the layout and have done it effectively. However, despite admiring the creativity, I feel the execution is lacking and I would like to show my genre more subtly so it does not take too much attention away from the information I’m presenting
  • The information was short and sweet. They sold the film and presented their ideas without being overbearing by writing too much and oversaturating.
  • They definitely invest you in the concept by making it seem very personal which is definitely a good thing. However, they overdo the unique style which becomes frustrating and overwhelming to read all the little notes they make on the page.

When taking all these points into consideration, I am going to to ensure I create an EPK that isn’t overly saturated containing useless information, that gives clear and concise information and is formatted in a way which the person reading it will be interested in the information i’m presenting. I will include the following information:

  • A brief synopsis of the idea.
  • Technical information on the production process.
  • Participants/Crew information.
  • Promotional Poster
  • A slightly longer synopsis.
  • Behind the scenes shots
  • Director’s notes.
  • Contact details
  • Biographies
  • Stills from the production
  • Third party comments

Creation

To put together my EPK, I will be using the PDF software in which I can edit together all of my information. PDF has been the format in which next to all of the EPKs I discovered are formatted in and I want to maintain my project to the industry standard.

I will be stylising my EPK around the subject of love and mystery by using imagery that they use on Tinder such as the hearts and the like and dislike symbols. Furthermore, I will be downloading the custom font that they use for Tinder to further enforce this branding. Colour ‘creates meaning and influences behaviour’ (Arnhheim, 1974) So I will be using reds and other homely/romantic colours to show my documentary’s format.

References

Arnheim, R. (1974). Art and visual perception. Berkeley: University of California Press.

BagitMovie, (2015). Bag it Movie Press Kit. [online] Available at:http://www.bagitmovie.com/press_kit/PressKit_11.17.11.pdf [Accessed 13 Apr. 2016].

Tribeca Festival. (2016) Adult Life Skills EPK [online] available from <https://s3.amazonaws.com/tribeca_cms_production/uploads/document/document/56fc08b1a270e591ea000004/ADULT_LIFE_SKILLS_Press_Notes.pdf&gt; [13 April 2016]

Raindance, (2013). 7 Essentials For A Press Kit – Raindance. [online] Available at:http://www.raindance.org/7-essentials-for-a-press-kit/ [Accessed 3 Apr. 2016].

Hot Topics With Tinder

To break up the main segments about the four participants, I had decided I will do street interviews with people about Tinder’s more sensitive subjects and see if the majority agree or disagree that these issues are perceived as such.

To start off the interview, I should ask a lighter question to ease the participant into the process. In an article by Bloomberg, they state that Tinder is “The fastest-growing dating app in America is a tale of corporate romance”. (Summers, 2016). But how many people do or have used it? I will be questioning this with my initial query will be whether they have.

For my second and third question, I will be prying slightly deeper into the subject matter and asking about the perceived romanticism with causal relationships the application is said to promote. In the article entitled “Tinder And Humanitarian Hook-Ups: The Erotics Of Social Media Racism” (Mason, 2016), they speak in vast context about the causal relationships that are formed and how it is based on a type of social media racism where you treat individuals as sexual objects. They speak further about how this type of new age way of thinking is throwing out old ideals of dating. So for question 2 and 3 I will be asking whether they think that Tinder promotes an unhealthy way of dating that involves treating others superficially and whether Tinder upholds old ideals of dating.

For my final question, I will questioning the security of the mobile dating app. It is often reported the dangers of releasing your personal information online. The article named “Dressing Up Tinderella: Interrogating Authenticity Claims On The Mobile Dating App Tinder” discusses various security and privacy concerns involved including not using your own identity, passing on too much of your own information and not knowing/consenting to the ways in which your information is being shared. All of these ideas are reinforced in the paper labeled ‘The Security of Tinder’(Feltz, 2015). With the author adding a real honest and scathing view on the lack of security the application offers with your personal information and how willingly we give it up. So my final question will be is if they are aware/think there are any security and privacy issues with using tinder and if so what.

References

Duguay, S. (2016) “Dressing Up Tinderella: Interrogating Authenticity Claims On The Mobile Dating App Tinder”. Information, Communication & Society 1-17

Feltz, M. (2015) The Security Of Tinder [online] available from <http://www.cs.tufts.edu/comp/116/archive/fall2015/mfeltz.pdf&gt; [30 March 2016]

Mason, C. (2016) “Tinder And Humanitarian Hook-Ups: The Erotics Of Social Media Racism”. Feminist Media Studies 1-16

Summers, N. (2016) Dating App Tinder Catches Fire [online] available from <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-09-05/dating-app-tinder-catches-fire&gt; [6 May 2016]

Contributor Release Form

For legal purposes, I knew it was imperative to create a contributor release form that I would get everyone to sign whose image I was using to ensure I had myself legally covered and so my contributors were aware of what they were agreeing to. I looked at a couple of examples online:

Whilst this first one is a very nice template, it doesn’t quite cover all of the legal basis’ I want it to. However, I found one from ScreenHi which very much does so. (Anon, 2016) So, I combined both of these templates to make my own which works well for my production. I have had all of the contributors sign this release form to ensure mine and their safety.

contributor-release-form-page0001

References

Anon. (2016) Consent [online] available from <http://screenhi.co.uk/production/consent&gt; [4 May 2016]

Location Recce Forms

I checked with a few examples online in terms of what to include in the location recce forms and this is the best example I could find in terms of it being useful for my type of shooting and form:

 

So, I altered the questions to fit my production and locations and created this template:

recce form 1-page0001

Here is an example of a filled out form after visiting one of one of the locations of one of the subjects:

recce form demi-page0001

Using Social Networking For Marketing

Marketing via social networks

When thinking of the promotion of my project, I tried to go from my past experience of how I have promoted my projects in the past, which has been largely through social networks. Due to the fact I am doing a crowdfunding campaign, this step needs to be treated with a large importance. So, I did research into what makes a campaign like mine successful.

When researching similar documentaries who undertake crowdfunding campaigns, I came across two documentaries, Saving Capitalism and Barney’s Wall, which I will use as an example. I have used both of their Facebook’s to break down how they have marketed themselves. (Saving Captilism Facebook, 2016) (Barney’s Wall Facebook, 2016). Both of these examples will be very helpful, Barney’s Wall has 390 likes and Saving Capitalism has 2917 likes. So whilst  Saving capitalism will show me what a heavily successful project will do, Barney’s Wall can show me more of a grounded view of how a lower audience production gains more of a following.

Barney’s Wall mixes up posts about popular film culture to gain a greater audience as well as behind the scenes pictures/footage and updates about the fundraising campaign.

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 15.45.13

Saving Capitalism’s Facebook page is very similar and is constantly updating their audience with news on the indiegogo campaign, how the project is coming along in general and other relevant news if they think it may be applicable to show to their audience.

When reading a book on social media marketing, it claims that “Social media marketing plans, like any marketing plan, must target the audience in a meaningful and relevant manner”  (Tuten and Solomon, 2013). This is something that both of these facebook pages do in abundance. They both are always speaking about their campaign, which is something the backers will want to know if they are investing their time and money into the project, and they both speak about relevant topics that their audience will be interested in, such as film, television and current events which are applicable to their project.

As I do not have a marketing budget, I need to consider social media marketing as a matter of paramount importance as it allows me to reach a large audience for free. “With a minimal promotional budget, Raceway’s leadership recognizes the value of incorporating social media into its communications program“. (Tuten and Solomon, 2013) By this, we can see how top companies are resorting to social media marketing due to low budgets. So, this is definitely something that is worthwhile that I should be exploring.

As my documentary is about dating through a social network of sorts, marketing through social networks makes sense. Also, I have themed my page around dating, love and tinder in a modern way to help show my genre and target my young audience. I will make stylistic decisions with this in mind, reinforcing my genre and target audience.

When you sign up to Tinder “you simply log in through Facebook” (Bilton, 2014). Which shows quite how synonymous the two companies are, as everyone who has a Tinder profile, has a Facebook. So, marketing through Facebook will be very beneficial in reaching the right audience.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 14.48.41 (Modern Mobile Dating Facebook, 2016)

As well as my Facebook page, I have created a Twitter account for my production. This is so I can engage with my audience and other professionals/productions that would be helpful for the advancement of my project.
Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 14.55.15

(Modern Mobile Dating Twitter, 2016)

In order to keep my audience updated, I will be constantly updating both my Twitter and Facebook pages with information regarding the indiegogo campaign, the project development, sharing relevant information and engaging with professionals and projects.

References

Barney’s Wall Facebook. (2016) Barney’s Wall Facebook [online] available from <https://www.facebook.com/barneyswall/?fref=ts&gt; [2 April 2016]

Bilton, N. (2014) Tinder, The Fast-Growing Dating App, Taps An Age-Old Truth [online] available from <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/30/fashion/tinder-the-fast-growing-dating-app-taps-an-age-old-truth.html?_r=0&gt; [2 April 2016]

Modern Mobile Dating Facebook. (2016) Modern Mobile Dating Facebook [online] available from <https://www.facebook.com/Modern-Mobile-Dating-1066647800063127/&gt; [3 April 2016]

Modern Mobile Dating Twitter. (2016) Modern Mobile Dating Twitter [online] available from <https://www.twitter.com/ModernMobileDating/&gt; [3 April 2016]

Saving Capitalism Facebook. (2016) Saving Capitalism Facebook [online] available from <https://www.facebook.com/SavingCapitalism/?fref=ts&gt; [30 March 2016]

Tuten, T. and Solomon, M. (2013) Social Media Marketing. Boston: Pearson

 

Documentary Ethics

As my film can cause emotional distress in people due to it’s sensitive nature and perhaps put people into physical danger due to speaking to strangers, it is a project that is of a medium to high risk. This is assessed using the ethics guidelines provided by Coventry University. (Ethics.coventry.ac.uk, 2016) With regards to ethics in the documentary format, there isn’t an official set of rules to abide by. However, the IDA talk of a need to ‘protect the well-being of both film subjects and actual viewers’ (International Documentary Association, 2015). being the primary guideline. They go further into the meaning  behind this and say you should “do nothing that would violate the humanity of your subject and nothing that would compromise the trust of your audience.” As these guidelines are quite vague and don’t go into specifically what it means to avoid these actions, it made me question in what ways these ideas can be applicable to my project. So, I did research into how other documentaries have abided to these guidelines whilst also creating an entertaining piece. 
When looking at the silent documentary film Nanook of the North, (Robert Flaherty, 1922) it shows a lot of stereotypes of a culture and has been criticised for that. However, I wish to do very differently in my documentary. Whilst stereotypes often show the extreme for entertainment, I wish to show the grounded view and make an informative piece on what an actual opinions on Tinder, both through new users, old users, and through recording real events as they happen, thus not perpetuating the stereotypes. Although I appreciate that at the time Nanook of the North will have been incredibly insightful, I want to be able to create something that goes beyond stereotypes and offers new information to my audience. People may just live up to the stereotypes within my documentary, but it is of paramount importance that I am there to record the truth and not take away from what is the reality of the situation and delve as deep into the situation as possible.

 

When looking at the film Born Into Brothels (Zana Briski, Ross Kaufman, 2004) we can see how the producers form a relationship with their subjects as they have a large ethical responsibilities for the safety of their subjects and through the intervention they have allowed the children to be able to express themselves in the best and safest way possible.

In terms of my documentary, I will be taking numerous aspects from Born Into Brothels into my own production work. They had to cater their camera crew to encourage the subjects to act in a certain way. So, I will be doing the same and having a very small crew, often just myself, so I can connect personally with the individual to extract the most personal details possible. Also, by being very close to the subjects, whilst definitely being able to pass on my creative vision, I can ensure that I “do nothing that would violate the humanity of your subject”. However, by taking such an involved role, I must ensure that I do not “compromise the trust” of my audience by pushing my vision on the subjects too much and instead just guiding them to a safe and entertaining outcome without making it structured reality and having it still capture the truth.

 

Can Tinder Be a Sensitive Subject?

As Tinder is an application where you are speaking to strangers and deals with dating, a subject that can be very emotionally affective to people, it can be a very sensitive subject. In the media, it is often shown only through very negative circumstances. Therefore, people are often very passionate against the use of the application. So, I must respect this and protect the people who are passionate against Tinder through methods to keep them anonymous if they wish to be so.

References

Born into Brothels. (2004). [film] India: Zana Briski, Ross Kaufman.

Ethics.coventry.ac.uk, (2016). Low Risk Ethics Checklist. [online] Available at:https://ethics.coventry.ac.uk/about/Low-Risk-Ethics-Checklist.aspx [Accessed 4 Mar. 2016].

International Documentary Association, (2015). What to Do About Documentary Distortion? Toward a Code of Ethics. [online] Available at: http://www.documentary.org/content/what-do-about-documentary-distortion-toward-code-ethics-0 [Accessed 4 Mar. 2016].

Nanook of the North. (1922). [film] Artic Circle: Robert Flaherty.

Running An IndieGoGo

INdieGoGo

My IndieGoGo campaign has now been made and is currently underway. I have decided after doing a budget plan that a goal of $500 (£350) will cover the costs of what I need. This includes money needed to create the perks, the cost of using any and all the equipment I need, distributing the film to festivals and my travel costs to get to shoot locations.

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 11.33.54

(Reilly, 2016)

The first couple of days have been fairly slow. I have had contact with people who are claiming they will be donating in the near future, but no donations have been made yet. This is something I expect will change soon. When looking at a couple of popular campaigns that are that are currently going on and are popular; like Pair of Aces (Pair of Aces IndieGoGo, 2016) and Car to Farm, Italy tour documentary (Car to Farm Italy IndieGoGo, 2016). You can see they use various perks to incentivise people to donate. When looking at the types of perks they offer, I have created my own:

$2- Our Thanks

$7- A signed picture from all of the cast of the documentary poster

$15- Your name in the documentary credits

$20- Digital download of Modern Mobile Dating with behind the scenes footage

$50- DVD of Modern Mobile Dating with behind the scenes footage

When looking at a video on 3 tips of sourcing money for productions (Inc.com, 2015), they claim that reducing costs for perks is a key idea to prevent yourself from channeling all your money back into the fundraising campaign. So, I have stuck to a lot of perks that require minimal costs and have digital deliveries or cheap postage and packaging. The picture will be very cheap to mail and the dvd will be cheap to produce compared to the $50 cost. As I am close to all members of the cast, it will be easy to get their involvement in the perks I offer that involve them.26

References

Car to Farm Italy IndieGoGo. (2016) CLICK HERE To Support Car To Farm Italy Tour: Documentary & Cookbook[online] available from <https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/car-to-farm-italy-tour-documentary-cookbook/x/13835322#/&gt; [21 March 2016]

Inc.com, (2015). Indiegogo CEO Offers 3 Pro Tips for a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign. [online] Available at: http://www.inc.com/danae-ringelmann/playbook-3-crowdfunding-pro-tips.html [Accessed 7 Apr. 2015].

Pair of Aces IndieGoGo. (2016) CLICK HERE To Support Pair Of Aces – Short Film [online] available from <https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pair-of-aces-short-film/x/13835322#/&gt; [17 April 2016]

Reilly, A. (2016) CLICK HERE To Support Modern Mobile Dating – A Tinder Documentary[online] available from <https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/modern-mobile-dating-a-tinder-documentary/x/13835322#/&gt; [17 April 2016]

Treatment

“Whereas a proposal presents its argument rationally via categorized information, the treatment evokes how an audience will experience the film on the screen. Write in the active-voice in present tense. Tell the reader what they will see and hear on the screen. Describe the story and introduce any characters.”  (Filmandmedia.ucsb.edu, 2016)

The documentary follows four people through their adventures using the mobile dating app, Tinder. We get to experience their experiences, feel their feelings and peek into their lives as they try and navigate and traverse the world of mobile dating, some with more experience than others. Two of our participants have never used Tinder before, so they will be learning as they go! However, the other two use Tinder regularly. So, you get to see their antics on the platform, showing what it is like in the normal week of a user! It shows a more grounded view of dating apps, unlike the documentary The Secret World of Tinder, which shows the extremes. By showing the grounded view, it will show more of a raw documentary and get into the brass tax of the morality and meaning behind the prevalence of Tinder. In a paper named It’s a match! : Exploring dating apps and the self-presentation of users, it claims that “dating apps have become increasing common in the last few years. As the popularity of online dating increased, the associated level of negative stigma seemed to shrink“.(Ranzini and Lutz, 2016) This idea will be explored throughout this documentary and evidenced either positively or negatively through experiences that the chosen users encounter. This documentary will further explore old truths of dating and see if they still pertain. Is it just a superficial app? PhD Ms. Carbino discovered “that Tinder users decoded an array of subtle and not-so-subtle traits before deciding which way to swipe” (Bilton, 2014) The documentary shows closely just how the participants go through their matchmaking process. The same study also found that “While Tinder seems to have done a lot of things right, the company has also made plenty of mistakes. For example, some women have complained of being harassed on the service.” (Bilton, 2014) This documentary also explores the morality behind the application and whether it adds a platform for superficial behaviour and harassment.

References

Bilton, N. (2014) Tinder, The Fast-Growing Dating App, Taps An Age-Old Truth [online] available from <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/30/fashion/tinder-the-fast-growing-dating-app-taps-an-age-old-truth.html?_r=0rs&gt; [22 March 2016]

Filmandmedia.ucsb.edu (2016) How To Write A Documentary Treatment Or Proposal….. [online] available from <http://www.filmandmedia.ucsb.edu/people/faculty/portuges/papers/How_to_write_a_documentary_treatment.pdf&gt; [12 March 2016]

Ranzini, G. and Lutz, C. (2016) It’s A Match! : Exploring Dating Apps And The Self-Presentation Of Users – Alexandria [online] available from <https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/246131/&gt; [22 March 2016]

Call Sheet

In terms of a call sheet for a documentary, I found a relevant example online and modified the template to suit my needs.

call-sheet-template1-page0001

(Chapman, 2013)

Here is an example of a call sheet I gave to a cameraman I had working on one of the days with one of the participants:

CALL SHEET MMD-page0001

I modified this template and sent it to each person involved a few days before they were required to help to ensure they had all the key information handy.

References

Chapman, M. (2013) Call Sheet For My Documentary [online] available from <https://markchapmanmedia.wordpress.com/year-1-moving-image/unit-27-factual-programme-production/call-sheet-for-my-documentary/&gt; [4 May 2016]

Being a Documentary Producer.

BEING A DOCUMENTARY PRODUCER

Being a producer for film can entail a lot of similar responsibilities, but being a producer of a documentary means you have to capture truth. I have undertaken research into the key responsibilities it takes to be a filmmaker in the documentary format. I have then further analysed what I believe to be my strong and weak areas are and how I can work to these strengths/strengthen my weaknesses.

According to Creative Skill Set, these are some major points on how to be a producer: (creativeskillset.org, 2016):

Pre-production

Before production begins, the producer has a key role to play. “In pre-production, Producers bring together the key members of the creative team.“(creativeskillset.org, 2016). So, to be successful, I need to work very closely with all members of my team in order to ensure that everyone knows their role and how they will be contributing. This ensures that I know my production inside and out and gives my team the opportunity to produce to the best of their abilities.

Funding

Also during pre-production, another key element of my role is to help in the funding, producers “help the Executive Producers to raise money for the production“.(creativeskillset.org, 2016) As I am the only producer on the production, I will take on the entire responsibility for raising funds. Despite not using it before, I have heard numerous success stories using the fundraising site IndieGoGo (IndieGoGo, 2016) and will use it as the main source for funding. To be able to get people to part with their money, I will have to be creative with my marketing techniques in order to sell my idea to them. Whilst this puts a lot of creative pressure on myself, it allows me to have maximum creative control over the image I present of my project in marketing.

Logistics

In terms of logistics, “Producers also approve locations, studio hire, the final shooting script, production schedule and budget.”(creativeskillset.org, 2016) So, I would be in charge of ensuring that all of these sections are being taken care of. Whilst a scripted film will deal with these sections in a certain way, you have to view it differently for documentary and take special account for each section and how it’s applicable for the documentary genre. For instance:

Shooting Script – Have a good treatment that I can work towards as a goal.

Locations – Scout the possible locations for interviews and areas the subject is often in terms of acoustics, possible camera locations and lightings.

Budget – Work out how much money you need for each aspect of the production and ways of funding it.

Production Schedule – Create a schedule in terms of when each aspect of your production will be undertaken.

 Production

Something that doesn’t change from scripted film and documentary film is the fact that “once the film is in production, Producers are responsible for the day-to-day smooth operation of the team.”(creativeskillset.org, 2016) So, throughout the production, I must either undertake the responsibility for a certain aspect running smoothly first hand or ensure it is second handedly.  The Nest offers further insight into producers, especially for documentaries, saying that ‘stories can evolve and take on new dimensions throughout the interview and shooting phase’. (The Nest, 2016)So in order to be successful, I must be able to constantly be able to adapt to new circumstances as they arise.

Post-Production

According to creative skill set, a producer in a typical situation would; “During post production, Producers are expected to liaise with the Director and post production department.” (creativeskillset.org, 2016) Sharing ideas with all of the post production team is a key part in creating a project in the producers eyes. However, as I am working on a very low budget, and fancy myself as a decent editor, I will be editing the documentary myself, whilst getting a second opinion on certain aspects when needed from other professionals. This will be a very lengthy process but also it ensures that everything is done to the creative vision I have, both stylistically and sending the same truth that I want to show, whilst cutting out any excess that is unnecessary information.

Distribution is also a category that falls into the realm of the producer’s responsibilities. (The Nest, 2016) I have done this on smaller levels before, this will be much larger due to the nature of the project. However, I feel I can definitely upscale my efforts, putting more importance into my promotion campaign in terms of time, resources and imagination.

References

IndieGoGo.com, (2016) available from <https://www.indiegogo.com; [21 April 2015]

Creativeskillset.org. (2016) Producer [online] available from <http://creativeskillset.org/job_roles/757_producer&gt; [21 Apr 2016]

The Nest, (2016) Responsibilities Of Documentary Producers [online] available from <http://woman.thenest.com/responsibilities-documentary-producers-12471.html&gt; [10 April 2016]

 

 

Logline

The logline is truly an art form of its own. It’s the one or two sentence summary of your film that not only conveys your premise, but also gives the reader emotional insight into the story as a whole.” it should “efficiently represent the story and get the potential reader interested.” (Kroll, N, 2016) So, I want to create a logline that shows all of these features.

When looking at the Raindance website, it gives 10 tips on creating a killer logline which I am going to try and follow:

1: A logline should have the following: the protagonist, their goal, the antagonist/antagonistic force

4 daters try to traverse the tough world of Tinder

2: Tell us something interesting about the character E.g. “a sous-chef”.

4 young daters.

3: Use an adjective to give character depth.

4 young, single daters.

4: Quickly present the protagonist’s goal.

…in order to find a partner.

5: Describe the antagonist very shortly.

… the mobile dating platform

6: Make the protagonist pro-active. They should drive the story.

in order to find a partner covers this.

7: If possible, include stakes and/or a ticking time bomb. E.g. To save his reputation a secretly gay frat-boy must sleep with 15 women by the end-of-semester party.

n/a.

8: Setup. E.g. In a world where all children are grown in vats…

in an increasingly technological world…

9: About the ending. Do not reveal it.

10: Don’t tell the story, sell the story. Create a desire to see the script as well as telling them what’s in it. (Raindance.org, 2013)

Which comes up with this: In an increasingly technological world, 4 young, single daters attempt to traverse the the tough world of Tinder, a mobile dating platform, in order to find a partner.

Whilst this logline seems quite good, it perhaps might be following a fiction guideline too tightly. So, I must find loglines of documentaries and see if it fits well amongst them. When looking at the filmdaily.tv website, I found a bunch of loglines for very highly rated documentaries:

America: Imagine the World Without Her: A story that questions the shaming of the US through revisionist history, lies and omissions by educational institutions, political organizations, Alinsky, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other progressives to destroy America.

Catfish: Young filmmakers document their colleague’s budding online friendship with a young woman and her family which leads to an unexpected series of discoveries.

The Act of Killing: A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

The Imposter: A documentary centered on a young Frenchman who claims to a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years. (Filmdaily.tv, 2015)

My logline looks very similar to a lot of these. They show and describe who the protagonist(s) are and the context in which they are placed. However, they tell the form also. Which is something my logline doesn’t include. Here is my revised logline:

“In an increasingly technological world, this documentary follows 4 young, single daters as they attempt to find a partner as whilst traversing through the tough world of Tinder, the mobile dating application.”

References

Filmdaily.tv. (2015) Top Box Office Documentary Loglines [online] available from <http://www.filmdaily.tv/documentary/top-box-office-documentary-loglines&gt; [17 March 2016]

Kroll, N. (2016) How To Write The Perfect Logline: And Why It’s As Important As Your Screenplay [online] available from <http://www.indiewire.com/article/how-to-write-the-perfect-logline-and-why-its-as-important-as-your-screenplay&gt; [17 March 2016]

Raindance.org. (2013) 10 Tips For Writing Loglines – Raindance [online] available from <http://www.raindance.org/10-tips-for-writing-loglines/&gt; [17 March 2016]

Proposal

Usually a proposal will contain the following information, shown in each heading (Filmandmedia.ucsb.edu, 2016) :

Length of work, format.

The documentary will be a 30 minute long documentary that will follow four people’s adventures with Tinder, two of which will not have used it and two that use it regularly, it will also have filler segments with interviews on the street and facts etc.

Who is the intended audience?

The core audience for this documentary are 25-34 year olds. Almost half of the Tinder users fall under this age group at 45%. The secondary audience is 16-24 year olds, with 38% of Tinder’s userbase falling into this category. When focusing on these audiences, we hit 84% of Tinder userbase.

However, this is still quite a broad spectrum. So, we will further narrow this down to urban people, which make up 76% of Tinder users. We will apply this to both our primary and secondary audiences. Furthermore, we are going to also add the condition of them being male. This is due to the fact that the majority of Tinder users are male over female. Also, I feel aiming it towards men would be more interesting stylistically as I feel there would be more varying opinions on aspects of mobile dating.

Primary audience: Male, 25-34, urban.

Secondary audience: Male, 16-24, urban.

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I will be catering the participants I choose to be on the documentary to fit the intended target audience.

Goal or intended purpose(s) of the film

“The pleasure and appeal of documentary film lies in its ability to make us see timely issues in need of attention, literally. We see views of the world, and what they put before us are social issues and cultural values, current problems and possible solutions, actual situations and specific ways of representing them” (Nichols, 1991). These are the general purposes of a documentary, all of which will be an intended purpose of my documentary in one sense or another:

Social Issues: I aim to convey current social issues that the application causes, such as promoting treating people as objects and becoming more separated from the individual you are talking to.

Cultural Values: I will be representing the cultural values that individuals who are informed on the subject and how they have developed through interview situations.

Current Problems and Possible Solutions: Through the participants experiences, it will unearth issues which they encounter with Tinder and thus they will go through possible solutions to these issues.

Actual Situations and Specific Ways of Representing Them: As the documentary will be focusing on the reality and the norm of Tinder users, rather than the extraordinary, it will represent actual situations and represent them in a homely manner so you feel genuine connection with the individual on screen.

Has any media work already been produced on this subject? If so, what is new, different, interesting, engaging about your approach?

The Secret World of Tinder  – The secret world of Tinder is a documentary that follows a few of Tinder’s more extravagant user base as they regale us with their stories of the experiences they have had on the app. – Whilst this is an entertaining concept, I am for my documentary to be different in the way that it will be be more informative of a typical user’s experiences, being a fly-on-the-wall perspective as they let you into their dating lifestyle.

Style (Any key stylistic elements in writing, shooting, audio, editing, etc.)

As it’s a documentary, the writing style will be fairly lax. I don’t wish to create it as a structured reality. So, I will ensure that I give them enough subjects to dive into should they lack inspiration and give them the correct direction in the technical side of it all, to ensure that the footage captured is of a high quality both in subject and technically.

When shooting, I want it to be appear informal, like the subject is talking to a friend, so the subject will always been engaging with an individual behind the camera so it helps in creating this atmosphere. Thus, the subject will have a better relationship with the camera and in turn the audience.

In terms of audio, there will be ambient music used for filler between subjects, during title sequences and when it is necessary to create more emotion out of a scene, to keep in line with the documentaries I researched and match the style.

When editing, I want to stick to a similar style throughout, making sure all the cuts stick to the same fashion in the same situation, the titles the same, the font the same and the soundtrack to be consistent. This is so I don’t draw the attention away from the subject matter whilst still appearing professional.

What about the soundtrack?

I will be sourcing all of the music through royalty free websites where I can find a sound that can suit my film for free, minimalising expenses.

Who is working on the project? What similar projects have they done in the past?

I will be spearheading the project whilst having a cameraman with me on certain shoots who has been with me on a few other projects before. Both of us have been involved in various documentary shoots before and are aware of the fly on the wall type angle we want to achieve.

How will this work be distributed?

It will be distributed through film festivals, online platforms such as Vimeo and YouTube and shared through social media. I aim to research much deeper into the subject before deciding completely on distribution methods.

References

Filmandmedia.ucsb.edu (2016) How To Write A Documentary Treatment Or Proposal….. [online] available from <http://www.filmandmedia.ucsb.edu/people/faculty/portuges/papers/How_to_write_a_documentary_treatment.pdf&gt; [12 March 2016]

Nichols, B. (1991) Representing Reality. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, p.4.

Production Schedule/Style Sheet

During my pre-production, I decided to create a style sheet/production schedule to give the contributors an idea of the work they will be undertaking. Furthermore, it will serve as a reminder to myself as to what type of events I wish to capture and what progression I will be showing.

I created one schedule for people that have used Tinder before and people who have not, as they will need to be recording different things. Obviously, these are just a rough idea and have to be adapted for events as they happen. Here are both of the filming schedules:

MMD(NT) Contributor Production Schedule-page0001 MMD(NT) Contributor Production Schedule-page0002 MMD(T) Contributor Production Schedule-page0001 MMD(T) Contributor Production Schedule-page0002


Representation Development For Documentary

When thinking of my idea, as it is quite grounded and similar to everyday life, I want the audience to feel this. “In the making of Nanook, the real Nanook has a relationship with the camera that is part of his reality.” (Grant et al. 1998)  I want to convey this type of relationship in my film. I want the contributors to treat the camera as part of their reality. Like it is a friend they are speaking to about their experiences. When analysing Nanook of the North further, we can see that; “Nanook is not a mere “persona”; he is a human being of flesh and blood” (Grant et al. 1998) I want to avoid creating a structured reality esque documentary. I don’t want to create something fake. I want it to be real. So, whilst I will be creating a “persona” around them in order to make an entertaining and relatable character, I will be also taking Nanook’s approach and showing more about them. I will be showing how they are a real person, with real feelings that the audience can hopefully indulge themselves in.

Documentary has the ability to “open our eyes to worlds available to us but, for one reason or another, not perceived”. (Barnouw, 1993) Even though people are generally aware of the idea behind the app Tinder, they will have not had the experience of having such a fly on the wall, behind the scenes look at how an average user interacts with the app on a regular basis. Through the use of having my a week using tinder segment, I hope to show this viewpoint well. When creating my documentary, I should think carefully about what I wish to convey. Through my documentary, I want to show how a new and regular Tinder interacts with the application and their thoughts about the morality, security and dating potential of using Tinder. “We know already that documentary sources do not transparently describe or reveal state of affairs. They help construct them”.(Silverman, 2005) So, when I am showing these messages I should stray away from trying to transparently describe them and instead allow all these issues to arise naturally to help construct the state of affairs in a truthful and productive manner.

References

Barnouw, E. (1993) Documentary. New York: Oxford University Press. p.4.

Grant, B., Sloniowski, J. and Nichols, B. (1998) Documenting The Documentary. Wayne State University Press. p.25

Silverman, D. (2005) Doing Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications. p.85.

First Draft of a Script.

I created a very rough first draft of a script. As I will be creating a documentary about people’s experiences that I cannot completely control, it is hard to create a completely nailed down script. Throughout the script, I mention certain topics I wish to cover with them. However, these might not be applicable or other things may take precedent at the time. This script does give a good structure to how the documentary will be edited, defining clear sections.

However, I have felt that using a script in this format has not necessarily been all that helpful, as I am producing in the documentary format. “Scripts are often not used in documentary films—because you cannot predict what will happen when the camera is rolling. In place of a script, filmmakers use treatments, proposals, or even outlines–to describe and help plan a documentary project.” (Filmandmedia.ucsb.edu, 2016) From this information, it leads me to believe I should carry some of this information over to and focus on creating a good treatment/proposal  from my initial outline.

 

Modern%20Mobile%20Dating%20Script1 Modern%20Mobile%20Dating%20Script2Filmandmedia.ucsb.edu (2016) How To Write A Documentary Treatment Or Proposal….. [online] available from <http://www.filmandmedia.ucsb.edu/people/faculty/portuges/papers/How_to_write_a_documentary_treatment.pdf&gt; [12 March 2016]

Budget

To ensure that I will be able to viably create this documentary, I have researched into what would be a realistic overall cost for all the potential expenses. To do this, I looked into what it would cost in the industry to hire certain equipment and crew I would require. I have also taken into account other expenditures such as travel and catering.

Below there is the costing information I have retrieved from the Coventry University production rate card and broken down the expected costs for each individual item.

 Cast & Crew:

  • DoP (Cinematographer) -£674
  • Camera Operator  £468
  • Sound Mixer  £469
  • Editor  £674
  • Sound Editor  £674
  • Actor  £400
  • Boom Operator  £377

Equipment Hire:

  • Canon 60D  £60
  • Sennheiser ME66 Rifle Mic  £30
  • Sennheiser Radio Mics  £15
  • Headphones  £5
  • Boom Pole  £4
  • Cables  £4
  • Manfrotto 501HDV Tripod £15

Other:

  • Catering – £50
  • Distribution (Festival Entry Fees) – £100
  • Travel – £100
  • Total = £4119

If this equipment wasn’t already available to hire due to being a student at university, this is realistically how much this would cost to produce the documentary per day. This should help in reducing the cost largely having access to equipment and crew. This will be my new budget:

  • Travel – £100
  • Contributors – £400
  • Distribution (Festival Entry Fees) – £100
  • Catering – £50

Total = £650

This budget is a lot more viable, realistically I would not have been able to raise £4119+ in this small time period. However, the £650 should be a realistic target to achieve. To fund the money, I am going to set up a funding page through Indie GoGo. On this page I will outline the major details of the documentary I will be producing and tell the investors to what their money will be going towards specifically.  I will provide artefacts on the page to show potential suitors that the project is viable. Furthermore, I will offer rewards for certain levels of investment to encourage larger donations.

Evaluating My First Shoot

I have just undertaken my first day of shooting for Modern Mobile dating. This included setting up a Tinder profile and filming one of my contributors initial reactions and feelings about the application. These are the notes I have taken from the day, decided what strengths and weaknesses I had and how I can create more successful shoots in the future. 
Positives
I was able to engage my subject well. As I have had previous interactions with this subject, it allowed them to feel comfortable around me and perhaps reveal more of their true emotions, which allowed for a more interesting shoot. She was more willing to divulge more personal details and offered more of a complex analysis of matters as a result. Because of the relationship we have, I will be able to maintain this high level of discussion with the subject throughout filming, which should hopefully lead to more entertaining and successful footage.
The shooting wrapped up fairly quickly, lasting between 1 and 2 hours. I feel that the pre-production planning played an integral role to ensuring that this happened. By providing the shooting schedule, including topics to discuss, to the subject ahead of time, it allowed her to be prepared. This day of shooting highlighted the paramount importance of planning in a professional manner and how it can greatly affect the quality of your footage. Moving forward, I will continue to be diligent in my pre-production to ensure that my subjects are fully aware of all aspects of the role so that they are comfortable and confident. 
Negatives
Despite making notes about how I was going to set up on location when making my recce’s, set up went slower than I would have predicted. As there are 6 people that live in the same house as the subject, it was difficult ensure that all noise was kept to a minimum and that they weren’t interfering with the shoot. This lead to myself making errors with the microphone set up, leading to the audio being too quiet. As this is a segment in which my subject is experiencing something for the first time, it is impossible to reshoot whilst still staying true to the documentary format I wish to pursue. So, it has lead to me having to put a lot more work into the post production sound edit to save the footage, something I could have avoided.

How can I improve this?

Unfortunately, reshoots aren’t a possibility without getting into a grey area of truth in documentary I do not want to be involved in. So, my only option is to run with the footage and salvage the audio as best I can. Luckily, sound was being captured from the microphone, the phone audio and the onboard camera microphone, so I feel I can definitely make something work.

In terms of improving for the future, whilst I did check the area for its acoustic properties before shooting, I should have still taken the time to properly test the audio on the day. As I allowed myself to get flustered by having to set up so quickly, it made me forget some key components that I had set myself to do beforehand. This is something I aim to work on in the future to ensure I keep a level head throughout. Whilst this is a setback, it is something I can salvage and improve on.

Moving forward, I will learn from my mistakes and head this quote from William J Clinton: “If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit” (William J. Clinton, 1992)

References

William J. Clinton (1992) William J. Clinton Quotes At Brainyquote.Com [online] available from <http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/williamjc454937.html?src=t_mistakes&gt; [10 February 2016]