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Shooting this weekend...


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#1 NClarke

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 05:11 PM

Wow, there have been some intense questions asked in some of the newer threads. Pretty cool stuff and perhaps I will pipe in although I find myself clamming up in such conversations. Perhaps because sometimes they feel detached from my experience. When I am trying to get a crew together I am often times more worried about getting free gear than the nature of my audience. I am sure this is to my detriment as such conversations usually lead to a deeper understanding of one's craft that will hopefully influence me subconsciously.

Any ways. I thought I would post about some work I am doing this weekend. My interest and skills tend to lie in observational documentary. A lot of the work I do is about the intersection of faith and culture. This project doesn't really fit into that last category but it is observational. I am working on a short doc intended for film festivals that is about an event here in rural Wisconsin - hog wrassling (and yes, they spell it "wrassling'). The event is this Saturday and then we intend to pick out about 5-10 participants to profile for a final product that cuts back and forth between people wrestling pigs in a mud ring and what their lives are like outside of this event. It's not religiously oriented, but I would say the project is directed by some of my biblically formed values about the dignity of each person and the importance of story - in other words, something that might seem "weird" to me, can usually be understood in the context on one's story and experiences. This is a little overstatement in regards to this project (it is more true on past projects that involve "weirder" behavior.) I guess what I am trying to say is that I think it's important to treat the subject with respect and interest as opposed to mocking and snootiness.

Some technical notes. I was able to gather together some friends and gear (if anyone lives around Wisconsin / upper midwest and wants to help out, please let me know !!). The shoot will involve 4 cameras and we'll shoot the majority in HDV. I was also able to get my hands on a Sony EX1 free of charge which has different frame rates. So we'll shoot a lot of the actual wrestling in slow motion. In addition I've got a great still photographer that will be doing some portrait work that I hope to build into the piece.

In the end, I hope the project is about 20 minutes or so. We'll see where it ends. This is the great thing about observational docs - no matter how much I plan, I don't know where they might end up.

#2 Thom

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 06:08 PM

Your shoot this weekend sounds very interesting, so much so that I think it almost automatically finds an audience - especially in this urban centered world which seems to be following the idea of story and narrative in order to learn more about one another. The Sony EX1 frame rates would be fun to 'wrassle" with. I am interested to see how recording slow-mo, or even fast rates, on camera will benefit the ends result, as opposed to using a frame rate/speed change in an NLE. BTW - I grew up in an area where there were enough older folk called it wrassling that it passed down to enough kids where one could tell your family lineage from that one word. Of course, it was always explained that "wrassling" is what you did with a pig or a girl but "wrestling" was a man's sport.

As a side note, I think a separate thread talking about observational documentary would be great. In the past couple years I have become engrossed in a form of observational documentary that is more specific to the practice of ethnography and ethnographic documenting. Introducing the aspect of the spiritual and faith only enhances my interest in approaching projects from this ethnographic perspective.

#3 NClarke

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 04:01 PM

The shoot went well this past weekend. I have posted some production pictures on my blog here. It has lead to some further ideas on how to expand the topic and wed it to some ideas and footage that I already have of a different event. Perhaps creating an Errol Morris style doc like Fast, Cheap and Out of Control that looks at several different examples of a similar behavior.