After the first part of Visual Literacy (learning), I found it really difficult to decide on a project to utilise the skills I’d learnt. I struggled to find something that was meaningful to me, but that was also a realistic project to undertake in three weeks.
I had the idea to structure the documentary in a way which recorded a main interview, illustrated it in filler shots and then I wanted to show an edit of this mini documentary to an audience to raise awareness about the issue. I thought it might be interesting to film them watching the mini edit, to capture their reaction and possibly collect voxpops of their response the the issue. This was inspired by the 4Thought series which showcases different ideas or opinions on the same issue through interviews with people, showcasing a different issue each week. The programme aims to inspire a discussion between viewers about the issues via social media particularly twitter. In a similar way, I wanted my documentary to focus on this dialogue between people, and their different opinions on an issue.
The problem I then faced, was that I was still no closer to pin pointing an idea that was personal to me, which was part of the brief. I searched the internet but couldn’t really find anything that I wanted to focus on. Here are a few of my rejected ideas:
1. Crime in Hyde Park – I considered documenting different peoples experiences of crime in Hyde Park through a series of interviews, and combining these with visuals of the area and crime statistics. I had found an online resource which showed different crimes that had taken place during each month on a map, and though this could be interesting to include as visuals.
- I was unsure what the purpose of the documentary would be, not really raising awareness because everyone seems to know that Hyde Park has a high crime rate.
- It also wouldn’t fit easily into the structure I was interested in.
- It sort of seemed like a cop out, because I had collected an interview in my learning stages about the issue of crime and knew it would be rather easy and slightly boring to do again, so I rejected the idea.
2. Misogyny in students – Recently the Leeds nightclub Mezz and its ‘Tequila’ Thursday night event has been accused of endorsing rape culture, and degrading women in a promotional video titled ‘Freshers Violation‘. I though the issues and opinions surrounding this could be interesting to explore as, although the majority seem to agree that ‘Tequila’ should be banned, I knew of several people who have been arguing that if people didn’t like the evening, then they shouldn’t go. These people seemed to think that the video was light hearted and would not actually influence people to commit sexual offences; I strongly disagree with that view, and so I felt personally involved with the issue. Rape culture seems to be a very relevant topic at the moment: Leeds University recently banned the Union from playing the song ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke because it objectifies women, additionally The Sun newspaper has been banned from the Union, due to its page 3 feature.
- I planned to contact the femenist society at Leeds University, to collect an interview showing their opinion, however I struggled to find a person with an opposing view who would be willing to share this in an interview. This would have resulted in a very one sided documentary, which would make the structure based around a discussion redundant.
- I felt that most people at Leeds College of Art would share the same view against misogynst themes in nightclubs and music, so filming their response to my interview with the femenism society would probably be like preaching to the converted. For this reason I rejected this idea for a documentary.
3. Homelessness – I considered exploring the story behind Leeds City Council’s ‘No second night out’ scheme that they had recently become part of, in which they claim to offer every person sleeping on the streets access to a bed in a shelter. Part of this scheme includes a hotline for people to call if they know of anyone sleeping on the streets. I was drawn to this idea because of my own personal dilemma about what to do when you see someone who seems to be living on the street: do you give them money directly? I am often unsure of how to react, and this scheme seemed to be a beneficial way of responding without giving money to someone who may not put it to use actually finding shelter.
- This was unfortunately a bit too similar to the documentary I made last year for Visual Exploration. Although it was exploring the issue from a different angle, the people I would be contacting for interviews would be the same.
- This also didn’t seem to fit my original idea of basing the documentary around a discussion.
- I decided that it might be too much of a challenge to create a good representation of the homeless situation given my limited time and resources. I would like to explore this topic more, but maybe for a project where I have more time to investigate it more thoroughly.
I decided to go back to the drawing board, and keep looking for an issue which was more personal to me, and was achievable to convey in the short space of time I had to make the documentary in.