3/07/19 | Stylistic Approaches and Professional Interviews
So there has been a lot of reworking and planning on the internal side of this documentary. The weeks before had mainly just been scenery shots which ultimately gave us a better idea on location. We have over 200 shots of scenery which I think is a good place for us to be in. The biggest hardship for us over the past few weeks was to figure out the kind of documentary we wanted to shoot. Originally, we wanted to be completely observational. Acting as a fly on the wall with this subject and letting the interviewers do all the talking to tell the story. But as time went by, we realized that that simply wasn’t going to work.
Observational documentaries are extremely hard to do and we just didn’t have enough people, to interview or were passionate about gentrification, to work with. Now, we are deciding to go more with a Participatory style where my roommate and I will take a role. It will still be observational, but observational in the sense that we did our research and now we are looking at the effects. Also, originally, we intended for it to be 30 minutes, but I think that’s an impossible feat as of now. We are shooting now for a 15-20 minute length piece that has the look and feel of a buzzfeed documentary episode. Each one of these episodes features a narrator that acts as a fly on the wall, but also participates to get information from the subject matter. I really like the idea of engaging with the interviewers since, I think it will bring the viewer closer to the subjects in this case.
Script Writing Process
Because we have decided to go down a more traditional route in the documentary process, it was only natural to start writing a script. This, honestly was inevitable, but there was a small part of me that thought it could be done without one. There are just so many thoughts and angles for this doc and having it all down and organized better on a script is making my life a lot easier. It’s a little over half way done, but still has a ways to go. However, I am basing it off of the shots that I already have and once it’s done, we really just have to go out for a few days and film the shots and get the pictures that we need. All that will be left is to film the interviews.
So far we have three off-the-street style interviews that, while were sprung up in the heat of the moment, two came out really well. But we obviously don’t want all of our interviews to be this style. We really want to sit down with some people and engage that way. Doing this, however requires a lot of equipment and creative outlook so instead of stressing myself out more, I decided to hire a film crew with the budget I have towards this project. I was able to get in contact with Spencer Haberman, a UT alum who has his own film company. He agreed to do it. I sent him an email about a week ago stating everything he needed to know about the doc and that we were just waiting on our interviewees. Once that’s done, all that’s really left is to film some extra shots and then go into music and then post. There’s still a shit ton that needs to be done, don’t get me wrong, but I think now, at least we have a way better idea on where we are with this thing.
For sit down interviews, we have about five people (So far) and these people are going to be the main interviewers so to speak. Basically, as I narrate, these interviewees will support what I have to say. There are a few more that we haven’t asked yet, but should be willing to do it.
Spring Break Plans
Over spring break, I plan to finish the script first. That is my main priority. Once that’s done, I’m going to review it with Patrick to see if he has anything else he wants to add and then we’re going to take most of spring break to film what needs to be filmed, scenery wise. Also, we plan on going to the library to find archived pictures and videos of Tampa since the first part of our documentary is going to be explaining the first boom Tampa went through in the early 1900s.
2/14/19 | Scouting Locations
During the last few weeks, my partner Patrick and I have started the process of filming for this documentary. While, we have been able to get some interesting shots, we’re still far from even coming close to getting everything we need. I think one thing that we underestimated before going into this was the whole process that filming requires. With neither of us being film majors or having much experience for that matter, there is a lot that is still new to us and has it has taken some time to adjust. For one, there is a lot of equipment that needs to be brought around with us everywhere. That was kind of known before hand, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a pain until you end up walking out of the cage with a Camera, Tripod, microphones for the camera, and microphones for the interviewers which also comes with receivers and a full kit.
As of right now, we haven’t had the chance to do any interviews. I think we’re still getting a grasp on the angle we want to capture. However, we definitely have a good idea on who we want to interview when the time comes. There are some people in the non profit that Pat is a part of (Urban Progress Alliance) that would be great to interview. In addition, we have been informed of some employees at the library who would also be good candidates.
What we have been mostly filming are scenery shots of some of the locations in West Tampa that are big topics of discussion. We are experimenting with different angles and a bunch of trolly shots inside our cars.
This weekend, we plan on going out with the drone and start filming our landscape footage. I think this will have a huge impact on the documentary. One of the aspects we really want to get on one of these shots is the division of the city set in place because of i-275. I don’t think a lot of people really understand the difference until they go out and see it for themselves. I sure as hell didn’t and when going over there and really experiencing west Tampa for myself, it was like another world. Having a drone shot that goes over the city where you can clearly see that divide would be an incredible shot in my opinion. We also plan on going to the library and finding old pictures and videos of the city from when it was in its prime.