This week of my Wildlife Film-making course has been particularly exciting for me as we had a lecture on drama! Being a drama graduate, who has struggled to bring my qualifications to the table so far, I found it really fantastic to look at how drama and documentaries go hand in hand. As it turns out they are not so very different things...
This week kicked off with a fantastic talk from BBC Production Manager Lisanne O'Keefe: a power-woman who keeps head-strong producers in line. Her job is to work on a program from it's very beginnings figuring out the budgets, schedules and keeping creativity under control. She has worked on some of the top recent programs such as The Polar Bear Family and Me in which she described having to work with ideas such as a large glass box in which to put cameraman Gordon Buchanan and hope that a polar bear doesn't tear him to pieces! She gave us a fantastic insight into how programs work from start to finish and how elements of the budget are distributed. The bigger the program the bigger the costs: the smaller the costs the harder it is to budget!
Our second speaker of the week was UWE's own lecturer in screen writing and video production, who has worked in television previously for 25 years. She was to give us a talk on how drama works in documentaries. This was a particularly insightful lecture for me as my brain works separately as a dramatist and a documentary maker: Abigail allowed me to bring the two together and realise how important drama is in documentaries. We looked at all the qualities that make drama, and then watched a couple of documentaries and saw how the drama elements were used. It is amazing to see how these elements that I studied for three years are so important for natural history film making too!
Our Workshop class this week was about following action: if you are filming an event that you cannot stop and re-shoot you must learn to film in a completely different way! We tried filming as a crew following a person around and realised how difficult it is: trying to get shots of them walking ahead of the camera, keeping sound and cameraman together, trying to walk backwards! This is definitely something I need to practice... A LOT!
Overall it has been a great week, but with a lot of work piling up towards the Christmas holidays I am starting to feel the strain! However we have plenty still to look forward to over the coming weeks and lots of filming to be done! Hopefully soon I will be able to post some here on my website!