Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why we need mavericks and thought-provokers

Scene from Bane a' part - Goddard. Tarantino liked it so much he lifted the dance and the name for his film, Pulp fiction and Resevoir and his production company
The net's main goal as seen by those prescient lot in the 70s and 80s such as Gene Youngblood  was an opening up of conversation, the delineation and devolvement  of power to you.

It's worked. Here are you and I talking - something we couldn't do a while back. Yet no one quite banked on the fight corporate dom would stage to colonise this discursive ground.

In every walk of life, just as soon as that thing emerges that spawns new thoughts, ideas, rationale, at some point it is enveloped and consumed by large bodies. If you can't own it buy it!

This is capitalism and this post is not to espouse the pros and cons of this system, but to take a more skewed position that perilously these lower organisms, by food chain distinction rather than intellect, disappear at our huge loss.

Everyone creates, but occasionally someone creates better. We stop, look, say "hwum" - in that release of breath way and move on. Then we see them again, sometimes years later - if we're lucky!

This is the maverick. We all know one from any profession. They do not seek fame per se, but that their voice and what they want to say find an audience. Paradoxically, today that is tantamount to fandom. Though there is a difference, in seeking an audience and attention.

The maverick is so left field, that you'd be forgiven for thinking he or she needs help, in an institution.

Which leads me to the core of my debate: education. In the next year, in fact in the next couple of months, British education is about to be radicalised, with new fees and presumably new gene of a student.

The result perhaps is the loss of the experimenter, the left-fielder. Because when you're forking out 9k for any university across the land, chances are you'll be looking for a specific experience.

I hope I'm proved wrong, because I rather like the left-fielders.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ozwald Boateng effect - creative thinking for future storytellers

The line in the trailer worth reflecting about is "its intuitive".

How do you know what you're doing works?

Just because you have the power of thought doesn't mean you can think said the philosopher Husserl. And the kind of thinking Ozwald or many other creatives refer to is highly deceptive.

Intuition sounds spontaneous, but its based on deep seated knowledge. Call it grounded knowledge and to get there you've got to go through intitially a tortured thinking process that is active, considered, doubtful of tradition, questioning of the status quo in a quest to build a new belief system.

Ozwald did it by disputing a venerable tradition of UK tailoring.

In one of my performance lectures in a couple of weeks time, I get under the bonnet of reflective thinking for storytelling and social networkers.

Something, which yields itself through experience or the interogation of supposed facts. A method of thinking in which a thought causes another thought, which urges scrutiny of the first.

Where to quote Kant a process of synthetic reasoning apriori is first set in train; concepts formulated by inductive as opposed to deductive reasoning. And then, they're tested further.

DW Griffith falls into this catergory having made up film making without a lexicon.

Here's an example of questioning knowledge? Why do British television News shows launch with two presenters. You could argue it's for aesthetic reasons. I would then ask you how you know. Because you do, would be your response.

But that ignores the fundamentals of reflective thinking.  As it happens according to the figure who was behind the launch of the double-headed system Cox, the double headed was a safety net towards the avoidance of on air technical faults.  As one presenter was reading, the other could be sorting out problems.

I have looked at this further with subsequent doyens of the TV world.

There's a lot of visual skill thinking or creativity I come across which is born of superficial thinking, rather than reflective and its compounded by a sign of our times and that repository of new knowledge: the net.

That is if it's not on google it's not worth knowing, which suggests a more worrying trend of the long term decline of reflective thinking.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New realities in Cinemajournalism - Imareality

Almost, if not all, film and visual making concerns reality; an attempt to engage you into believing the unreal.

For a moment or more you're transcended into a world, where whether its goblins or police you're there. Reality is the drug, which we imbibe from our pharmacological in-house store. Yes we're walking chemists.

In the film Matrix (1999), reality is heightened, but first co-opted. Will it be the blue of red pill sir?  Even in the mindwarping film Inception (2010), reality gets a literal kick up the rear.

Reality, without going completely philosophical dense, has been massaged via neo-realism and more recently remodelled in hyper-realism. One an attempt to make use of something almost real, the other an attempt to take you beyond what we usually accept as real.

The film 300 (2006) is a good example for me, with its maxed out contrasts of the photovisual image and violent deaths as is Wong Kar Wai's 2046 (2004).


Whatever it is we're doing, reality-overload, which is tautological, means we search for new ways for representing what impacts upon us.

It's akin to unearthing a new environment  e.g.  a sort of C-celebrity syndrome for some,  where you find it seductive, appealing.

In many ways then film takes us out of our own reality and places us in make-believe new one.  Film makers whether its docs or videojournalists are aware of our addiction, or at least should, which is why they constantly search for new ways of representing the visual image in style composition or mis en scene.

The question becomes how can I make you believe this? Or at least it should be. This question is not about a prefigured technique, but however much you the director can create the impression.

Here's an interview with one of the UK's most electrifying new directors, Turner Prize winner Steve McQueen talking about Hunger (2008) his award winning film.

It's obvious that there is a trend now in video making into the purposeful manipulation of the image for effect. One in which an honest video maker wants to convey something more through the image. I'm inclined to call this imareality or imereality ~immanence or immersivity of the image.

This neoligism takes care of a growing appetite to want the film to have Bresson-like -fingerprints. The moving frames are stylistically composed, the image saturated, yet somehow unnatural, and as such they have an immanence -  a trace that stays with you. You remember the film momemt or event way after its gone.

I'm minded of this trend in relation to documents telling of the first time colour tv ceded black and white and news executives could portray blood as red to the viewers. Today in cinema journalism films, that shock requires greater intervention.

It's no one's fault. Turner did it with his paintings, followed on by the Impressionists. We're just finding more visual literacy from the audience and more visualists looking to push the form.

 ‘The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken up’,  by J. M. W. Turner, 1838

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Social Video (visual) technique begets social behaviour


The screen said download Mac cleaner and install for free. I rarely do. Hoax sites and viruses you see. But this time, given my mac's been acting like its on crutches, I gave it a go.

It installed, cleaned my Mac a third of the way and stopped. Purchase the rest if you want this benefit.  Because, yes, the company had made it a benefit.

The ensuing site made that clear, buttressed by favourable online comments ( tweets and facebooks), a reduced price from 400 UKP to 40UKP and a countdown clock. I now have 2 days and counting to take advantage of this generous, no, very generous offer.

Advertisers have name for it. A national UK bank once disparagingly had its tellers mark cards of its customers: sheep and bulls.

Something you don't need, it's not particularly on your radar is sold to you with palpable tension and drama to heighten the buy and you, me, the sheep buy it.

There is the cinematic in this when we turn to the visual narrative craft - an illusion which invades the psyche that causes a reaction.

Video journalism's anti-aesthetism short from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

Social Motivated
Many of the films you'll watch online you did not intend on watching; you browse and then sometimes you're stuck.

Whether by serendipity or design the film maker has got your attention and sold you the visuals/narrative for your time (the currency). They heighten the visual affect through a whole series of techniques.

Hollywood has packaged this as an elixir. Hitchcock could read the audience in his sleep. Horror movies at their visceral best have the measure of us. We're hardwired you see. But the thing is we can learn these techniques.

Newton summed up one of his laws of motion as an action causing an equal opposite reaction; cause and effect in our daily lives. We do something and nature gives us something back in return.

Film making an artificial pursuit in practice, but an intrinsically mental activity obeys this law in spades, but it's incumbent on the practitioner to understand what that is.

To many film makers, and good ones, it's stating the bleeding obvious. A good film causes social reaction. We all talk about it. The cinema is a social space - we all gather to watch a film, albeit in non-conversation circumstances.

But the real work for social is predicated before we get to the movie theatre or your website in question.
Make the film, cut the promo, sell the promo and with the use of social wares get it out there.

Some do this for a living - commercial advertisers and public relations. Others attempt it in their films as a course of good storytelling. In news the explicit is eschewed.

Getting it right
I had three different groups email me recently to deconstruct their films. In each case the news piece resplendent with information, forgot, or discarded the affect the film could potentially have.

This is not a flaw per se, for both reside on differing semiotic approaches.

BUT, and it's a big one, the philosophy of our times calls on a differing approach to consider. Firstly what are you covering. Secondly what's likely to be its effect, and then here's the hidden issue.

If the latter question is answered it'll be spoken about.

But a word of caution social video technique is not a bolt on. It's film making intrinsic to the subject. It's an ephemeral, cerebral, poetic, didactic quality. It's also behavioural in its outcome and its not new.

Leni Riefenstahl knew exactly what she was doing, when she produced the epic documentary Triumph, which galvanised the Germans and other nations with differing effect.

Social video, and mind you we're prone not to call it that is more affective around the ecology of what's now acceptable, yet on the other hand as the former boss of ITN news would say, Geoffrey Cox, the public don't know what they want until it's given to them.

Now, do I go and download that file?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tahrir Memento - Sheffield Doc Fest

Tahrir Memento from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

Egypt's Uprising. I'm back in Cairo a couple of weeks on, but nerves are still raw. I have six hours after presenting at a conference for videojournalism and through my friends Salma and Ahmed, make this -  15 minute film.

This is my latest project; the trailer for Tahrir Memento was shown at the Sheffield Doc Fest recently in line with my interests about memory and consciousness - Bergsonian.

Though something you'll pick up on in the film is how Egypt's young are loathe to tell their parents they're involved in the revolution.

I am interested in beyond the news ( meta). I have been a journalist since 1987, starting with radio for four years with the BBC before Television again BBC, ABC News and ITV, . Then in 1994 I combined this with videojournalism and being an online journalist. In 1998 I worked for an Ad company and doc coms.

For me a segment of news making has not kept up with current philosophy - after post modernism.

When it captures an unfolding event of value news tends to come in to its own, however beyond that when the issues become complex, the propensity is too often to distill the narrative and construct to make simplistic the affairs - TV's Achilles from the 60s (Neil Postman).

Poster for Cairo Videojournalism programme

Though self-filming is the norm now, I'm more keen on the creative directing of a story. That means everything from the filming, creating the posters using (photoshop), building the site using CSS and Flash for interactivity and SEO-driven write ups. In principle I don't have to do it all, but I understand the language to communicate intra-discipline.

As an Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre that helps me conceptualise and see through projects; as a senior lecturer at the University of Westminster I pass on this knowledge. I shot this on a Canon 5D Mk II and there were aesthetic as much as practical reasons ( See Pics and last post: media methodologies).

Firstly, I'd been stopped previously by the secret police with my JVC cam and escaped any consequences by producing a letter ( I have kept) that gave me permission to film a 5 mile shooting radius.

With the stills camera, though it was inspected, I was left alone to take pictures, except I was shooting video.
Filming on the Canon 5D behind Tahrir Square. Really wanted to be inconspicuous so the Camera helped

There is a further backdrop to this story. For the last three years I have been training young grads from Cairo and the American Uni to videojournalists iat the state broadcaster Nile TV. I have filmed rare footage working in their state broadcast complex and am looking to put on an exhibition of that work and the videojournalists work too. If you're interested do get in touch here. 

Here too for post on Sheffield doc fest: why we'll be talking about Danfung Dennis for a long time Filming in War Zones.
Filming and training Videojournalists on the JVC GY100 with lens adaptor Dec 2010

Filming on the Sony A1 in 2007

Training State TV Journalists with the Sony EX3. We had to get special permission to film on the streets

VIEWMAGAZINE.TV PUBLIICITY IMAGES FREE USE BELOW  (Creative Commons) for blogs, twitter and other publications referencing the blog and If you're interested in 300dpi images please email david(at) stating re:Image use in the title. The use of images does not waive moral rights of owner and therefore warrants being used for purposes described above.

Image size 500 px x 245 px 

Image size 500 px  x 245 px

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hell and Back Again- Sheffield Documentary Festival and why we'll be speaking about Danfung for a long time

Danfung Dennis in conversation with Beadie Finzi @SheffieldDocFest

Why do you wanna be a soldier?
Because I wanna kill people.

This and other mind-gnawing exchanges emerge from  Hell and Back Again (2011)   one of many memorable days at the 2011 Sheffield Documentary Festival. Thus far the film has punched through the independent cinema festival circuit garnering accolades and awe, as well as awards.

The World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Award and World Cinema Cinematography could just be middle-layer, because you suspect the topping could be the Big- O, though Hollywood's predilection to narrative -issue NIMBYISM, doesn't bode well.

Twenty-five year old Sergeant Harris says in the film the army's recruiting team said that was the best answer they'd ever had.

(Fade to black - Sheffield Documentary Festival Day four closes )

Hell and Back Again clip
  Danfung Dennis on Vimeo.

Off limits
There is a conversation that resists being shared when going into conflict. Individually, it weighs on your mind, but you don't speak about it. In any case, skill, experience, maturity and providence are meant do their job.
Reporting from Ghana on US Forces training ECOWAS forces for Liberia campaign 97 and South Africa reportage from Townships in 1992
I believe I know this because I grew up in a country which was shaken by military coups: Ghana, in the 1970s and 80s and that much later I would re-locate to South Africa, reporting at the time of its taut transition from Apartheid to democracy.

David reporting from the troubled townships of South Africa. A freelance report broadcast on the BBC World Service circa 1992.

Yet, comparisons to Danfung's Hell and Back Again, though relative, are diametrically starkly different.

At the Sheffield doc fest, in conversation with Beadie Finzi of C4s BritDoc Foundation Danfung is peeling back layers of the "how" and "what" for Hell and Back Again and the result gives rise to liminal thoughts about "this conversation".

The audience learns how Danfung, a photojournalist already embedded with the US army is looking to be dropped with Echo Company going the farthest into Taliban territory.

The soldiers were destined to be there "for a long time", and the intel and hollowing emerging from later  arms exchanges suggested they had little idea of the Taliban's strength. Electricity and water would either be absent or hard to come by. Danfung with all this knowledge is set on going.  Beadie's pensive look and sharp intake of breath could be an acknowledgement to "this conversation".

Just before boarding the Chinook Danfung's tells us his camera button jams. His inner voice poses the question, what is the point of me going, if I can't shoot anything. Weaker minds would have capitulated.

However the malfunctioning button is resolved by the same ingenuity and tenacity that's become Danfung's trademark in either his camera set-up, the rig, or Condition One - the new immersive viewing screen he's pioneering. This time it was his finger nail digging out the dirt to set him back in course.

Inside the Kill Zone
There is a scene in one of my most absorbing war movies: We Were Soldiers (2002), starring Mel Gibson as Lt. Col Hal Moore in which a young photojournalist Joe Galloway boards a chopper to the LZ zone - the kill zone.

The soldiers have been been stirred by their Colonel. All of you will be coming back, but not all of you alive. Joe Galloway played by Barry Pepper witnesses a deeply horrific mind-numbing assault on the unit by the People's Army of Vietnam.

The morning after, pool photographers and TV camera crew are flown into a sanitised kill zone. As a gaggle, they search for motifs to relay this bloody battle and then come across Galloway.

That conversation now!  Galloway has become the story doing something the rest of his colleagues could either not do or would prefer not to. Forty six years on, Danfung has become Galloway.

When the audience applauds, I find myself doing so not just because of his film which is shot with the hand of Malick, the eye of Lelouch and coruscating brutality of Lu Chuan (City of Death 2011), but that he also had the kwai to tread into the unknown - the kill zone.

That is the conversation. Invariably it's one FOCs (Foreign Correspondents) talk about when the beers are flowing, when they might also light-heartily joke about near-misses. It's all about trust, says Danfung in relation to the unit he was with, which was reciprocated by Sergeant Nathan Harris et al - who would become his main character.

Self belief and trust can be endemically unwavering. In 2002 when I was assigned to be Lennox Lewis' videojournalist, I entered camp with a a hint of doubt. What if Tyson actually won. I was chastened not to think that away. Two weeks in camp I was a convert. There was no way I now thought Lennox was every going to lose his heavy-weight crown to this bruiser.

The Art of War
At the Southbank Centre, where I am an Artist in Residence, last year about this time I'm spell bound by a clip online called Battle For Hearts and Mind*, later changed to Hell and Back Again. I email the photojournalist and he promptly replies.

For two and a bit hours given the bent of my research  my questions to Danfung have a specific line of enquiry. His answers are illuminating and in my guise as artist, journalist and academic, I'm continually digging and documenting precious responses.

Then Charlotte Cook, one of the most erudite, social media practitioners I know, who is part of that august outfit, the Front Line Club emails to request whether I wouldn't mind being part of Sheffield Doc Fests debate on Cinema Journalism.

She's looking to Danfung as one of the panelist. She's hardly finished the sentence and needs no convincing before I nonetheless weigh in: "You gotta get Danfung, You gota get Danfung".

The Cinematic discussion
Restrepo (2010), by the the brilliant Tim Hetherington, whose life was cut dramatically short showed war as the new breed of photojournalists would realise it. The Bang Bang Club (Carter et al) painted South Africa behind the news headlines in 1990s. Yannis Kontos I have had the privilege of working, a World Press Photographer Award Winner and some 18 other international prizes, continually delivers on the immanence of the image.

PIXELS WITHOUT BORDERS from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.
Yannis Kontos Promo I produced for his 2006 World Photojournalism Award. For more go here

Yet, Danfung, many affirm, has done something quite different, so different.

 Hell and Back Again and the small team that shaped it: Roast Beef Production Producers Mike Lerner and Martin Herring; the editor Fiona Otway whose Felliniesque intercut and parrallel editing weaves silk through the film. In addition, Sabotage films, Thought Engine and the Britdoc foundation are contributing to Gombrich's schema plus correction model for narrative-art film making.

The cinematography is lush, the characterisation indelible, its narrative reflexively beautiful, the finished product - a must see.

Academics, and I am one of them in film will reflect on the frenzy. We're not being priggish. In wars gone by (WWII) many photojournalists and cinematographers assigned to the US Army's photographic unit shot with small Bell and Howells.

In contemporary history, Vaughn Smith of the Front Line Club covered wars with his Hi-8 in the 1980s; Inigo Gilmore a one-man-band whose work I deeply respect, also a panelist has too covered conflicts; Veteran film maker Bill Gentile, now of Washington State who is pioneering Backpack journalism has the eye of Odin.

So what's changed? The reconstitution of cinematography and full-feature narrative (parrallel storytelling) designed for the cinematic space.

A profession whose technical and creative efficacy would traditionally have tapped many skills and which points to an uncompromising epistemology of non-fiction movie-making is problematic to emulate.

For Hollywood et al to approve of Hell and Back Again, as it did giving a nod to Restrepo is to acknowledge finally the world is no longer flat; civilisations of DSLR technology exists beyond the horizon and they're coming. Oh Yes they're £$££@@% coning. And they debunk the Fordisation structure for professional film making.  Woops!

Danfung, in his calm and collected way refers to it as Immersive film-making. Immersive for the viewer in its aestheticism, yet the embodiment of its filmmaker in hostile territory to get the story is overwhelmingly impressive. That conversation!

+++ END

* thanks to Saeed Taji Farouky for pointing out

Coming Soon: What camera to use where and visual hallucinations on film

Tahrir Memento from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

David Dunkley Gyimah was a contrributing panelists to Cinema Journalism at the Sheffield DocFest. He's been a journalist since 1987 freelancing for BBC, ABC News, and C4 and has covered conflicts. As a dedicated one man band videojournalist since 1994, he now teaches videojournalism and cinejournalism to clients such as the FT, PA, in  the UK and around the world. His film Tahrir Momento - about Cairos revolution was previewed at Sheffield. He is an Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre and is completing his PhD in film and news. He publishes

P.S to comprehend more on cinematography study Turner 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Great Maysles

He needs no introduction in the documentary world.

He was one of the pioneers and remains highly influential. His films have been cited amongst the top twenty five documentary films of all time in the US.

Tomorrow I'm looking forward to attending his masterclass. His film -  a must see for all doc makers- Salesman is a studied and torturous obs doc on door-to-door bible salesman.

His name is Albert Maysles

Thursday, June 09, 2011

A Masterpiece and flawed original movie - Louisiana Story (1948)

What is the point of contemporary history, whilst we all clutch our flip, phone and DSLR cameras?

To some it's quite obvious: how the past relates to the present. In that guise, one of yesterday's masterpiece movies carries the torch for why we must continue to live through past events.

At the library room, Sheffield doc fest, 17 people have gathered in a spacious empty auditorium to watch one of the finest films made.

Some of you may already be acquainted with Flaherty's finest hour and a bit after his overwhelming success with Nanook of the North.

The evidence from yesterday's spartan audience suggests we need to revise and understand how the past works the present.

Louisiana Story is a fictional drama from the father of documentary. It's a film which simplifies the story of oil drilling and its benefits through the arc of a young cajun boy, whom barefooted roams and swims through his wilderness with a pet racoon supposedly devoured by a crocodile.


It's flawed masterpiece. In recent years, I have come to hear how Flaherty fancied himself as a Hollywood director, but did't quite make the grades of the Fords or Stroheim.

There's nothing here I'm saying that hasn't already been said by a litany of film scholars and movie fans. But the significance of Flaherty's ouvre bears witnessing now, because of where we are in film documentary canon.

Yes its out of synch, the plot line thudders, the acting is terrible. But in its time it was writing rules that today we look at and guffaw. Its cinematography though is still mesmerizing is thanks mainly to a young cameraman at the helm who we found reason to pay tribute to a couple of months ago: the great Ricky Leacock (RIP).

On Saturday another figure from the early days of film technique, David Maysles takes to the stage to talk about his work. It's a real treat. If you're at the Sheffield doc fest, lets say hello.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Media methodologies to win friends over

Crew filming at the Southbank Centre. Look carefully and there's a reporter, camera person, director, soundman and out of shot another cameraman. Why?

Here I am as a videojournalist working a canon Mk5II. Why?

Two diametric photos above. Each a methodology, but why, what makes us do what we do? First though, I received this email from some new friends in South Africa whom I had the privilege of working with.

Hi David

We've just spent a very insightful 2 weeks with Michael Rabiger, author of Directing the Documentary. He has been working with our students implementing his notion of dramatic character development in their stories. He has managed to speak to them in a very inspirational way, giving them a sense of their purpose in making voices heard.
I also told him of your specific approach starting with the students' instincts and based on this teaching visual composition, sound, etc. He sounded very interested and spoke about this matching his idea that theory follows practice.


How interesting I thought. Rabiger of course needs no introduction in the documentary world; a giant! But what got me going was the ideas of methodologies.

Tom Hanks in Apollo 13. Where's the rules when you need them
Put simply it's a plan for doing something, successfully. There's a moment in Apollo 13 in which faced with certain disaster, the flight crew turn to mission control for help. The rule book said something, but not about the eventuality they faced, so they improvised.

A methodology has as its worst enemy improvisation; conversely it's also its best friend. Improvisation here must be inspired, brewed and fermented from loose concepts, hunches, so to speak. It's not about serendipity. 

Yet methodologies emerge themselves from improvisations that work and empirically are then tested in some way; a theory becomes practice.

And, this is the bit that Rabiger is alluding to, and the bit I'm fascinated by and hopefully gets you going as well.

Methodologies: It's why so many television broadcasters can teach videojournalism, some extensively, others to varying degrees. There exists a fundamental grammar for television laid down in 1915, or in the 1800s. Yes, really!

What we know

One of the benefits of freelancing when I worked the media as a day job was how each media company e.g. BBC, CNN, ABC had a methodology for how they achieved their ends. And within each institution there would be different, sometimes minor methodologies. When a new manager joins, they invariably tip out a new one.

There was a time when I was freelancing across several networks at a time; confusing, yes! But on reflection these methodologies imbricated with new ideas and fuse to form new methodologies.

The perfect job for training is not so much to teach your methodology, but to work with a nascent or fixed one of your delegate to work through its strengths. If you're new and bereft of any, then initially it pays to grapple with a dominant methodology first, which is what I do with our Masters and new converts to videojournalism and online storytelling.

Here, all the worn shoes from freelancing seems to have paid off, as well as the years trying to work out what Husserl or Hegel meant. You're going to be taught something at college, a job or university. You're probably going to accept it blithely, but the question I ask and attempt to answer is: why do they do that?  

Sometimes the question may seem absurd but that in itself is relative. A child asks: why? and we chuckle. A grown up asks why and we smurk One of my first and most enjoyable lectures has students try and explain why an Apple is green, or even red.

In video, why do we do the Hollywood shot-reverse-shot, when french film makers discard this 'barbarism' - remember it's all relative.

The ultimate question for me then is to not be prescriptive. Yes, that's the way it's done first, or not, to become part of the club, your own or an established one.

But then at some point the artists gaze, the vision thing in you becomes your methodology. It comes from a never ending dialogue with others in an artistic permission way; it comes from being on the edge. It comes from knowing that you're never get there, but somehow you're always inching closer to that thing you seek.

If you can get to to this BBC programme: Something Understood before it disappears it's really inspiring along these lines.

So rationalising the shot above: a five man crew working a Z1 camera? Why?  Perhaps, that's the methodology whereby they've come to accept excellence and that paying $10, 000 for hiring just for the shoot demonstrates forcefully that equation that good things come at a cost.

And then me with my Mk5? I still prefer my cinecams, but I'll confess in a place like Cairo, where it was still a bit volatile, this camera masked the event I was shooting film and not pictures.

shooting Tahrir Memento -showing clip at doc fest or you can watch here
Also as you'll see from this shot, there's a nomenclature I played around with using a stills cameras to get this interview. Like I said it's all in the methodology.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

How do I sell my online documentary?

It's one of the most prevalant questions I get asked. The email comes, I look at it, ponder then fire off a response. I never hear back again!

Some believe there is a magic pill. That there status valorises their film being shown for a fee.

The net may be free, but many experts also known: the fact everyone's doing video introduces a new premium. It's early days, but as I'll be talking about at the Sheffield Doc Fest, from some research I have been conducting, if you are good ( the premium) you do stand to gain from a career making online video.

I couldn't tell you when but from my chats the signs are don't feel downbeat, things could be looking good