Wednesday, 29 March 2017

DOCUMENTARY: Idea Discussion with Zoe

This was our first update with Zoe after we pitched our idea and it was really helpful in deciding what was the next move for all of us. Her thoughts were:

- Initially, the pitch was good 
- Storytelling needs to be better - need to create a better story about the gay football team
- Waiting for reply from Brighton FC - are they running a campaign?
- Homophobic abuse? Do they still have that?
- Make the statistics more real/human
- Justin Fashanu
- Initially, talk to FA press office
- Football Vs Homophobia - campaign run by the FA - research into that/possible interviewees
- Speak to gay England women players
- Email the FA
- Any other high profile footballers have come out
- Rugby player who came out last year

Straight after the session we went into completing these tasks. Jack got back onto Brighton and the FA. We researched into Football Vs Homophobia and emailed a couple of different campaigns which were advertised on their website.

The email I sent

The different campaigns I emailed

I only actually heard back from one of them, Ali Mahoney, from the actual Football Vs Homophobia page but he was only available for a chat but not an interview so unfortunately we had to decline. We really needed a representative to interview to top off the characters in our documentary. We kept researching for another campaign. 

Monday, 27 March 2017

DOCUMENTARY: Visit to Chatham Dockyard & Feedback

The Destroyer 73

Today we filmed at The Historic Dockyard at Chatham. This was an interesting place to film at with all the old ships and aircraft. Sophie, Jack, Callum and myself were given a big blue ship, called The Destroyer 73 (D73). We found this a really good location to film as there were many platforms which we had access to and including everything inside. There was also a tour guide on the boat, waiting for visitors, who knew a lot about the history of the ship. Unfortunately we didn't have time but he agreed to do an interview for us about the history of the dockyard which would have been great to put into our mini documentary. 

We took shots of the front of the D73, we made sure to get this number in the shot also to establish which ship we were on. Ferg recommended that we take some more dramatic shots, in terms of zooming in and out quickly before focusing on a specific thing for a couple of seconds. For example, the guns and cannons on the ship and then zooming out and then back in on something else, he suggested this because when the boat was in action, everything and everyone were fast paced and the camera movement can show this.

We each took shots different things in the D73, such as a couple of close up shots of bells and things on the wall of the ship. We also met an employee of the dockyard painting the side of the ship and he also agreed to us filming him. This was good because we were able to get some actuality and action into the filming which is something we didn't get much of. Most of our shots included stills of the ship and bits inside it as we ran out of time. After setting up the camera and having problems with the sound we only had an hour to get all the shots we agreed on while we walked round the ship the first time doing our risk assessment.

Nevertheless, I found today really useful and eye opening to film actuality in a real location. We learnt a few things, such as it being a pain getting the camera, boom and tripod around the inside of the ship because it had really narrow corridors and steep steps. As a result of this, we know to make sure our football documentary location is big and easily accessible for us to bring equipment through. 

Today has also taught us that filming real life is difficult because there were times when we wanted the wind to pick up to blow a flag and the bells to chime but we had to wait for these and if we missed these we couldn't just recreate them. There were workers at the other side of the boat which looked good to film but they had moved by the time we were in the correct place to film them. We shall also aim to get the interviews as soon as possible in case one of the interviewees need to leave, because the guide we wanted to talk to had to go for his lunch break and then we had to leave before he came back. I wish we had time to interview the guide because that would have given us experience in interviewing real people and not actors but I'm sure we can practise this another time before we film our documentary. We know to get the shots we want the first time round if we can to make things easier for us. 


Overall feedback for all groups 
- Pan at 45 degrees max
- Hold shots for 10-15 seconds
- Steady in/out = better edit
- Moves from A -> B
- 3 tights for every 1 wide shot
- Wide shot of an object - next shot zoom in on same object

Our feedback
- Less pans
- Hold the shot for longer
- Check white balance when in new area of location
- Only move for objects moving/a reveal
- Small pans to reveal things are OK
- Some shots were soft, check focus

Overall, looking back at our footage two days after filming I was still happy with our work. It's different to see it on the big screen to the small camera screen. As a result of this, some of our shots weren't as focused as what we thought and the lighting in some parts wasn't very good. We didn't think to look at the white balance but now watching the footage back we know to always check that setting. There were really good shots which started moving, this brought the quality of the static shot down, but we know now to always make sure we get still shots to capture the action, and only move the camera if we are following something or sometimes, a reveal. 

The shots which were still will look good with the sound behind them, e.g. we had a static shot of a kitchen and the pots and pans so this will go well with a sound of someone washing up in the background, with maybe old music from a radio, showing what life was like back then. In general, we were proud of the shots and I am looking forward to editing them into an actual short documentary piece. 

Friday, 24 March 2017

DOCUMENTARY: Commission, Sequences & Actuality

Screening - 'AILEEN: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer'

Directing documentaries
- They do not just happen
- They need to be researched, meticulously planned, scripted and set up
- Control is key throughout the whole process

SEQUENCES - What is a sequence?
- Just like a drama, we direct sequences in docs which (based on research) REPRESENT REALITY:
- 'Artistic representation of actuality' (R. Flaherty quoted in Aufderheide, P., 2003.p.7)
- Shoot with tripod wherever possible

Sequencing contributors & talent
- When dealing with a paid talent you can ask them to do whatever you creatively want for the film (within reason)
- When dealing with members of the public this is potentially more tricky
- Ensure you've talked through your plans with them prior to the shoot so that you know they are happy with the arrangements
- Gain trust when dealing with 'real' people and 'real' situations
- Research should highlight potential actuality and relevant sequences which will 'tell the story in pictures' so you can plan this in your shooting script

Sequences rules (YouTube vid: 'Video Sequencing Made Easy'):
1. Hold shots for roughly 10 secs
2. 3 close ups : 1 wide shot
3. Action + reaction = compress time
- control camera at all times
4. 'Peak moments'
5. Control the actuality with the camera

Good coverage - shoot to edit
- Art is to get as many options as possible for your edit
- i.e. shoot lots of different angles which will cut together for continuity 
- Remember the rule of 3 close ups for every wide shot - break each shot into action and reaction shots to give good COVERAGE

Always get CUTAWAYS
- To cover the edit
- GV's (general views) are a good way
- Might not always be in the right place/might miss something - cover with cutaway

In order for this to work you must ensure there is a continuity of Mise en Scene:
- Each shot matches the next
- Lighting 
- Colour
- Continuity of performance and orientation
- Cutting on actions (match action edits)

ACTUALITY - What is actuality?
- Actuality is a type of documentary filming which captures events and does little if anything to control them - REALISM
- Therefore, in contrast to sequencing, you will not direct the action but respond to it!
- Can't control action therefore controlling camera is very important
- 'Wobbly' look is expected and makes it look more real

Actuality shooting strategies
- Letting the subject enter and leave frame so we have a start and end point
- Apple the rules of sequencing by controlling what and how you shoot
- Filming plenty of reaction shots
- Filming cutaways, establishing shots and non-sync wide shots
- Always getting GV's/cutaways
- Only shoot what you need
- Plan use of sound kid carefully e.g. radio mics on main character/s
- ALWAYS get wild track (specific background noise e.g. seagull & ocean noise)/buzz track (sound of nothing)

Brief camera op.
- Keep eye on events before you, but in the way in which they are being recorded, you can maintain a degree of control without interfering with events
- You'll be juggling mixed priorities throughout a shoot

Why do we need actuality and sequencing?
Aren't interviews enough?
- It conveys a better feeling of 'real life'
- Engaging the view - pace
- Helps to edit and illustrate interview sync clips

Visible or invisible director?
- the technique of exposing the filmmaking process, thus distancing itself from the personal 'authorship' in making documentaries

- Exposes not only the process of making a film, but always the authors' own views and the journey they themselves make
- Thus the director can be part of the film itself and takes on a more active role in film

Screening of 'EILEEN: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer'

Eileen Wuornos

Death penalty 
- Mental health
- Lower crime rates with the death penalty - is it working? Does it prevent/punish in the correct way?

In terms of Eileen as a case study:
- Murder or self defence?

- Her mother - no safety net, Aileen was left walking around in the woods as a teenagers
- Friend who saw her being abused

- Music helps move the documentary along

- Goes through her story while flashing back to her past

Structure & pace
- Was not a fast paced film but keeps the viewer interested

Thursday, 23 March 2017

DOCUMENTARY: Continued Research into Justin Fashanu & London Unity League

Justin Fashanu

John (top) & brother
Justin (bottom) Fashanu
Justin Fashanu was the first openly gay famous footballer and he played for a variety of clubs between 1978 and 1997. After getting accused and arrested of sexual assault in Maryland, USA in 1997/98, Justin moved back to London and unfortunately couldn’t handle the accusations and pressure anymore and committed suicide. Justin’s story is very important because he came out back in the 90s and even after killing himself nothing big has really happened as a result of this, in terms of the acceptance of gay footballers, which is shocking.

There has been a documentary on BBC Three already called 'Britain’s Gay Footballers', which was made after Justin came out, about the lack of publicity gay professional footballers receive. The government charter against homophobia and transphobia in sport which was launched in June 2011 and all 20 Premier League clubs (at the time) joined. As Justin committed suicide in 1998, 2011 was way too late for the recognition of gay footballers to come about. The government should have done something sooner, even in the early 2000’s, this would have been a more appropriate time to put out there about homophobia in football.

Anton Hysen

“It sends a really strong signal when clubs in the best league in the world say enough is enough.” - Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone.

This is also what Anton Hysen believes in. Anton is a footballer from the Swedish league who came out to the world with the hope that someone in a top Premier League team will come out proving that your sexuality shouldn’t be a problem in what you choose to do with your life.


The London Unity League is an amateur football league based in London, designed to unite footballers from all different backgrounds in a competitive but friendly football environment. The league was formed in 2006 and is entering its twelfth season this August (2017) and it is still growing. The league prides itself on welcoming players and teams of all abilities and skills. They help make football accessible for everyone with the help of other organisations in London and the UK.

London Unity League
The London Unity League website wasn't very helpful. Under their headings 'news' and 'sponsors' it says there isn't any information available, I will try my best to find out more about them through another source of information. 

McLaughlin, J. (2012). Premier League clubs unite against homophobia in sport following BBC Three documentary. Available: Last accessed 22nd March 2017.
- League Website. (2015). About Us. Available: Last accessed 22 March 2017.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

DOCUMENTARY: Pitch Day & Feedback

Today was the day of our pitch. We decided to create a powerpoint to show while we spoke about our idea. Below is the powerpoint we presented:

Both Helen and Zoe were impressed with our pitch and were interested in the story. This was the main thing we wanted because we may have had to change the idea completely if they didn't like it. They pointed out a couple of things such as:

- We should look into the Brighton football team as Brighton is home to a lot of things for LGBT people to do (gay bars, drag shows etc) so they must have some sort of LGBT support for their football team
- Russell Tovey has recently done a gay football TV drama called 'The Pass'
- The Welsh rugby player who came out - Gareth Thomas
- Justin Fashanu - case study
- Find global statistics of who in the world is gay and then who of these are professional footballers
- Find maybe another gay teenager, just in case, who is definitely interested in playing for the team, so we don't have to pretend they are interested
- One specifically with a bit of homophobia abuse
- Homophobic abuse in sport
- Contact FA about gay campaign and receive a good story, maybe they'll give us someone to interview

Since hearing this we have split these up and were each going to look into a part. I have chosen to look more into Justin Fashanu and his brother John as he may be a part of the unity football league because of Justin's traumatic experience before he killed himself. I have already researched into Justin in my blog post 'Documentary: Final Group Idea & Research'. I will also look into the London Unity League to see what they're about and see if I can get hold of anyone through there to interview. 

Jack will be trying to contact the Brighton football team and the FA to get a representative for us to interview and Callum will be trying to recruit our gay teenager who wants to get back into football. They will also look into homophobic abuse and Russell Tovey.

Friday, 17 March 2017

DOCUMENTARY: Scripting and Storytelling


- All programming is to a lesser or greater extent
- Factual programmes face particular ethical challenges when it comes to how far they should be scripted

Working title
- Sells your film to its audience - 'tease'
- Encapsulates what your film is about 
- Focuses you as a producer/directer on the real meaning of your film

- Should be no more than a page, but anything up to 3 or 4 page, outlining HOW you intent to tell the story:
- Main characters/interviewees
- Locations
- Style/format
- Narrative structure 
- Whether using a presenter/reporter
- Transmission
- Target audience 

Documentary scripting can utilise any of the following:
- Sequences
- Interviews
- Reconstructions and dramatisations
- Actuality 
- Cutaways/GVs
- Sync
- Commentary
- Music
- Archive/stills
- Graphics

SHOW and TELL not just tell!

Shooting script
- Written before shooting
- It forms the template for the finished film
- It should be informed by your research and allows you to effectively through your film's picture and sound content and basic structure
- Write to pictures
- Start by writing commentary and interweave with a summary of each person's sync e.g. Fred describes his life in London (RESEARCH inform your comm).

Scripting conventions
- COMM or V/O commentary 
- SEQ sequence
- ACT actuality
- C/A cutaway
- SYNC interview clips
- SFX sound effects

Developing the story
- Finding a narrative is essential
- A central thread of some kind which will hold your story together e.g. Day in the life/journey of exploration
- Central thread could involve the process of investigating the answer to a particular question or theory
- The films narrative is influenced by the character, location, period of time it is covering and the events presented
- BEWARE - time based narratives cannot be fractured - ensure you check the logic of the story and keep to it

Narrative - light and shade tension
- Consider how you will inject LIGHT AND SHADE - it is important to consider the overall experience of watching your film
- Tension - key element of storytelling - should be identified during the research process if poss. 

- Facts/background
- Intros
- Helps audience form opinions 
- Help tease out tension and sum it up

Actuality driven - this is a term used to describe more observational type films who's structure and storytelling develops around what happens - the developing of events drives the story and provides the narrative e.g. 'One Born Every Minute'/'Cops With Cameras'. 

Characters are needed to make the subject less 'dry'. 

The script can then form the shot list and we can prepare for the edit!

RESEARCH: listen to and review in journal documentary-0 


Presenter - Livvy



Archive CCTV

COMM: Intro
GVs/urban land
Stats – context


Actuality - driving

Thursday, 16 March 2017

CONTEXTUAL STUDIES: Virtualism (Lecture)

What do we mean by 'virtualism'?
- In media context, the simulation of 'the real': primarily through digital construct and manipulation
- The aesthetic tension between physical and digital; material Vs immaterial; 'the uncanny valley'

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

DOCUMENTARY: Interview Workshop & Feedback & Group Idea Development

Today was our first workshop in the documentary unit. I was interested by this workshop from the beginning because we need to ask questions in an interview style for our documentaries so this was good practice for us. 

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

DOCUMENTARY: Group Feedback with Zoe & Improvements

We had our first discussion as a group with Zoe on the 13th and this was really helpful, as we have the idea and it was good to hear what a professional like Zoe thought of it. The first things she brought up were:
- Why do a documentary on a LGBT football tam now? Why now?
- Their experiences why they started playing
- Teenage character as main person, i.e. theme of 'teen spirit'
- What is new? Why not? - a couple of sentences at the top to sum up pitch

Monday, 13 March 2017

DOCUMENTARY: Final Group Idea & Research

We have decided that we will carry on the documentary unit with Callum's idea, his was about a LGBT football team in London. He chose this subject because it's interesting that there are no major footballers who have come out gay and even still to this day it can be seen as wrong for a footballer to be gay. It also aims for a teenage audience as we will be documenting the story of a teenager as well so it links in with the 'teen spirit' idea. An LGBT football team could either come under the family/relationships or the community/social affaires heading so we as a group thought this topic was a great idea. 

Justin Fashanu
Justin Fashanu was an English footballer who played for a variety of clubs between 1978 and 1997. He was the first professional footballer to be openly gay. Once he moved to America, he was questioned by the police after a 17 year old boy accused him of sexual assault. At the time of the accusation, homosexual acts were illegal in Maryland, which was the state he was in. He was charged and he had an arrest warrant issued on the 3rd April 1998. Sadly, he fled to England and killed himself in May 1998 as he feared that he wouldn't get a fair trial because of his homosexuality, according to his suicide note. (1)

- Fashanu was listed at number 99 in the Top 500 Lesbian and Gay Heroes in The Pink Paper.
- In March 2009 a football team, The Justin Fashanu All-stars, was named in his honour and was created by the Justin Campaign, which is a campaign against homophobia in football and promotes the inclusion of openly gay players in football.
- In July 2013, the French film composer Jann Halexander composed a short requiem in his memory
- In July 2014, London band Elephants and Castles released their first single, 'Fashanu' as a tribute to him. 

I found an article from Justin Fashanu's niece, Amal, stating that she knows of seven gay footballers in the Premiere League and who are all "trapped in a dark world". They are all concerned with the intensity of the media not only on themselves but their families. Amal's father is Justin's brother, John, who was another famous footballer. Amal revealed in the article what she felt like as a 9 year old school girl, under the spotlight of both media and public and fighting for a share of her dad's attention. "He used to come and present prizes at sports day. And I used to try and win them all just so that I could see him for a little while. I don't think people realise who much families of footballers actually suffer." Reading this article from a close family member of a footballer realise highlights the problems with being in the eye of the media. (2)

This is why we thought this would be a good topic to base our documentary about and we want to broadcast a message to people and footballers that it should be seen as acceptable to come out and be who you want to be.

Callum has a good relationship with some of the footballers in a LGBT team called the East End Phoenix and will be able to get access for interviews from the players and hopefully be able to get permission to film at their training ground. They also have their own website showing what they're about and their schedule of games at 

We have looked into the schedule as a group and have decided to get some early footage of the team playing a game on either the 19th or 26th of March as Zoe said it would better to have actual game footage rather than a friendly match or to have them just training.

Knowing we need to interview interesting people who relate to our idea, Callum recommended we interview a player who he knows and the manager who also plays sometimes. These people especially because the manager is straight while the majority of the players are gay and this could be quite interesting to find out why he decided to manage a LGBT team rather than a straight football team. The experiences we can get from some of the players will be good pieces of research into being gay and the problems they can come across when they were younger and during the process of coming out.

Camera position/angles

In my mind, I am thinking that the shots we have of the interviews should show the interviewee in front of an active football match or a training session. By following the 'rule of thirds', I like the idea of having the interviewee in the left or right hand side, leaving some space for us to see a game taking place behind them, even if it is blurry because of the depth of field we will still see the vibrant green grass and figures running around with a ball. Here is an example:

(1) Roads and Kingdoms. (2016). The Far Post Global Soccer Dispatches.Available: Last accessed 13th March.

(2) The Sun. (2016). Amal Fashanu : ‘I know seven gay players in Premier League all trapped in a dark world’. Available: Last accessed 13th March.

MAJOR PROJECT: Project Evaluation

Production My aim for this major project unit was to further develop the aspects of production which I had written about in the p...