I did blog in December but have since realised that I didn’t address the reporting questions thoroughly so here is my December blog (slightly!) delayed.  All the information in this refers to December; I will blog about January next week!

What’s happened this month?

This month has been all about filming.  December has its limitations as far as creating footage for a film goes but the weather was kind to us and we got several sunny days, however lack of daylight hours was restricting.  Ed and I created two film plans for Prickwillow and Tydd and in doing so followed a similar format to the Pidley film i.e. a series of interviews themed around the various issues which arose from the initial consultation work and then some action points to suggest how these issues could be addressed.  We met with Tim from Young Lives and talked this over and asked him if he could edit the film so that it was more than just ‘talking heads’; he suggested a split screen effect of images on one side and interviewee on the other along with a ticker tape of facts along the bottom of the screen.  We also wanted to embed some genuine clips taken by residents themselves into the film and asked a few young people and their families if they could manage this.  Two girls in Tydd came forward and were very keen to get involved. They borrowed a camera from us and filmed their views on village life.  Two families in Prickwillow were going to do the same but unfortunately the children in one family came down with flu and a baby arrived very early in the other – we wish them well. 

Roma and Caitlin from Tydd St Giles: ''Thank you for watching our film''

 What have we learnt this month?

  •  It is not easy to get community members to appear in a film about their village. We had to do a lot of persuading and develop a very relaxed, informal interview approach.
  • Many village residents do not want to express their views on film as this is not an anonymous approach and there are often fears that identification with a particular issue could lead to bad feelings within a village.
  • Successful engagement in filming relies upon having developed good relationships within a community if you are an outside agency.  Presumably if you live within the community you are filming this is easier to achieve however this situation brings other problems such as the potential accusation of bias.
  • You cannot rush the editing process – it takes time to get the results you want.

What’s been challenging this month?

  1. Encouraging people to get involved in a film about their community
  2. Learning how to schedule filming  – in particular in the middle of winter
  3. Creating two films in a short period of time, not having as much time as we would have liked to try different approaches on order to get more community involvement in their creation.
  4. The initial edits from Young Lives needed some extra work on them and we couldn’t send them to NESTA.  I suspect that we all of us (ACRE and Young Lives) underestimated the amount of time it would take to create these films.

What are you proud of this month?

Considering these were the first films we had full control over I think we did well to plan, schedule, film and get to first cut (picking up a bit of film terminology here!) two films in  two weeks.