Documentary Diary: Super Size Me

The first time I watched Super Size Me, my knowledge of documentary film making was incredibly limited but I still found it entertaining and thought-provoking. I think that is because Morgan Spurlock developed a great hook for the film.

Now that I have gained more of an insight to the film making process, documentaries in particular, I can appreciate how great Spurlock’s debut film actually is. He appealed to a mass market and it carried an important message about the ‘obesity epidemic’ to people’s attention. He had support throughout from health professionals and experts and because he used respected and educated individuals it helped reinforce the statistics and dangers related to the fast food industry.  The use of animations and stills helped keep the attention of audiences after sharing quite heavy medical information and lighten the mood of the documentary. Super Size Me is the 12th highest-grossing documentary of all time which is an undeniable success for the independent filmmaker who tested his physical and psychological well-being during the course of the 30 day experiment.

Morgan Spurlock’s honest and informative technique allows the viewer to empathise with him. You worry for his health when he experiences heart palpitations and at his lowest points throughout the film. It brought the dangers of fast food to people’s attention and it helped make shock-umentaries as popular as they are today.

Super Size Me appeals not only to film lovers but to everybody because it targets an issue we are all facing. It is dealt with in an honest and captivating manner and it’s a must watch for all!

 You can watch Super Size Me on Netflix now! 


Documentary Diary: Dreams of a Life

Taking the advice given to me during the Second Light Documentary Lab, I decided to watch Carol Morley’s Docudrama, ‘Dreams of a Life’.

The film tells the tale of Joyce Carol Vincent, a londoner who died in her bedsit and remained there for three years, undiscovered. It begins with interviews with her long-lost friends and colleagues that narrate the story or Joyce’s life as the filmmakers begin to piece together this woman’s untold story. It was revealed that she was beautiful, popular and had three sisters, it is mind-boggling how her death went unnoticed. The re-enactments are haunting and the documentary is incredibly thought-provoking.

Progress Post: Telepresence

Things are looking up, we have already cast and done the majority of the paperwork for our short film. All that is left to do is make the final script revisions and get them out to the actors to familiarise themselves with their roles.

The audition process was something new to us all however we were happy with the turn out and some very talented people applied to be part of the production. After the auditions we were able to slightly adjust the characters because we were able to visualise them better after putting a face to the name.

The final cast and the Kristal Vision letters giving the actors the news.

The story went through several re-writes to make it tighter and easier to understand  in a short period of time. The initial underlying message dissolved somewhat because it’s quite a large topic to explore in just 10 minutes but I am happy with the final result.

The first story board..

Now we just have to prepare for next week’s shoots.

Inspiration: Noé and Manson…

After rewatching Gaspar Noé’s ‘Enter the Void’ I began to search the internet for interviews with the boundary pushing director. I stumbled upon one conducted by rock legend Marylin Manson in which they discussed what drives their art.

I reinforced my desire to produce films that make viewers question the world around them. Manson raised a very valid point, not to over think things or they will become contrived.

It is something I hope to keep in mind during the production of the single camera dramas we are starting to work on.

The Balcony Sessions…

This is the first acoustic session I filmed on location with fellow BOA student Matt Sheehan. It was a massive learning curve for me in terms of filming an artist without a crew behind me. The weather made it so much harder, as it made lighting an issue and we had to avoid the equipment and instruments getting wet. It took me a while to sort out the sound because we were filming on a balcony. Which meant we had lots of background noise from the city streets below. We overcame this by plugging the microphone and Matt’s guitar directly into the external microphone (Zoom H4n) and recording as a 4 Channel track. The video was shot on my new Canon 550D with an 18-55mm lens.

I’d like to thank Matt for his patience with me and it was a pleasure to work with somebody as talented as he is.

Check out the video.. any feedback is welcome.

Birmingham City Football Club Awards Evening

Friday marked the end of our commission with BCFC, We attended the awards ceremony to watch our finished product on the big screen. We even managed to catch a few interviews with some of the players before and after they received their awards for BOA Radio.