So yeah, I’m shooting a doc about the month-long event. My ideas of how best to cover it have been changing. After some great nights of conversation – one with Jefferson and Julie and another with Chris, Thea and later Andrea, I’m settling on a format that I think will work better than the traditional approach of practice viz, artist interviews and talking expert heads. The challenges are to keep the film unified (as we’re dealing with a large number of potential subjects) and to provide a broader context for the events portrayed. The broader context – the collapse of an industrial city – is especially important for this project because it provides the conflict narrative so loves. I’ve also found the artifice of the one-on-one interview doesn’t sit well with some artists (people in general, really. The outgoing sorts are fine but it can force some more introverted types [myself included] into a defensive posture).
The possible solution is to stage conversations between the artists and Broken City Lab members. All of these people are thinking about the broader context and expressing aspects of it in their work. By doing this we get a more natural and lively result. By excluding traditional experts we limit the cast of characters to something possibly comprehensible by an unmodified human.
I say ‘stage’ because I think the initial, informal stage of just plain-ass chattin’ with people is important and pulling the camera out can ruin it. It is perhaps the wrong word, as the filmed conversation isn’t scripted or anything.
We’ve tried it once and the results were good. Picking the people who should talk is interesting. We had Michelle (BCL) talk to Julie (resident artist), but I can see situations where two artists’ work are both about, say, Indian Road, so getting them to talk would probably be fruitful. I’m in the process of mapping out the different paths between people, their work, issues in the city and the broader issues, and it will certainly be an interesting (read: horribly complicated) task to sort everything out in the edit).
I’ll be heading back for like two weeks on the weekend and will try and post a lot more. It has been tricky balancing the work between shoot – log – edit – other things, but I’m getting there.