Production Reflection (Factual – 3 Minute Documentary) 24th December 2014 [Blog 9/10]

by weslar

Looking back at my time making the documentary “I Guess That’s Life’ puts me in a state of joy and appreciation. Just like any project I’ve worked on and will ever work on, it’s a trip. A journey. A joyous culmination of passion and love for what I’ve been doing and what I want to do for the rest of my life. I’ve approached this way for the documentary as I have for everything else.

From the beginning I remember thinking about who I would like to make the documentary on, because it’s not as simple as picking at random, it’s more of a feeling. At one point in August I as have plenty others in Yorkshire have access to the Peak District (beautiful place, you should go there) and it was there where my mom of all people told me about this musician named Anthony Smith, who goes by the name of ‘Parasol’. So I thought yeah, I’d meet up with him, listen to his stuff. You know, get an  idea of who he is.

We talk and just get to know each other, he’s a cool dude who loves making music and appreciates it. Not that any other musician does;t appreciate the craft, it’s just Anthony had a certain affinity to performance. He knew his instrument like it was attached at the hip. Can sing, and has a knack for song writing. So I hit the jack pot because he was different, he’s more about the music and the audience’s reaction and interaction to it.

So there’s the start.

It’s always a challenge to think of what you’d like to include in 3 minutes, and let me tell you it’s much harder trying to stick to a specific timeline. So there was a lot of unused footage/audio etc. Not that it would go to waste (Currently editing a longer edit & recording more footage in the New Year).

In the process of filming I stuck to a specific set of filming shoots. The first which I planned in the beginning involved a setup where it showed Anthony in his daily life, you know, working just like anyone else. Progressing to interests and sound bites of an hour long interview session, which was as successful as it could get. All of the interview had brilliant stories and anecdotes that Anthony provided me.

And in that interview I ran into a problem, so it didn’t run 100% smoothly. I mentioned in in a previous post, talking about recording the audio and forgetting to set the channels properly. I made a mistake, but thats production on a solo basis. Something falls through the cracks and unfortunately that was the audio. Lucky I planned a back up audio recording to cover myself from something like this. Clever me.

Filming the setup gig at ‘Rec and Play’ I remember thinking, what could I get done in 2 hours. This was my thinking process before going in, to be honest I didn’t check the time at any point during the filming there. Which actually helped my concentration because I’m not notified to rush. It was a pleasant filming session, mostly for me since I wasn’t playing the same song over and over again.

Due to having a brief moment of inspiration, I thought it would be great to have the final minute be about the performance at ‘Rec and Play’ montaged together with footage of other gigs, sort of showing progression from studio to playing live, which was a good idea in theory. Not so much in the edit.

In the edit I had my time line set. Intro sorted. Interview added. Music performance closes the edit nicely. Lots of additions left to add. Not surprising to me, I stuck to my planned time line. But one thing was bugging me about the first edit of the documentary, it was structured a bit too basic for what I wanted. You know the intro, the main event and the finale. It would be too straight forward.

I had in mind to change around the finale and move it to being the main event. The music performance played along side some audio that I took from the interview and after hours of trying to think of what audio to use I found a gem, two gems! Audio soundbites that reflect the type of musician Anthony is. Playing over portions of the music performance, in that moment I knew I had something special.

It’s always nice when an edit turns out better that you had imagined it could be. It’s always the start of an edit that gives you a horrible view on your own work, I had that. I felt that it wasn’t good enough. Then you realise that you’ve hit the jackpot because you can turn it into something special, something you can be proud of, and I love that feeling. I definitely felt like that with the final result.