14 Mar Thus spoke the intern
I went through a rollercoaster of feelings trying to make a documentary during my internship. From the top of optimism to spiraling down the hill of desperation through the tunnel of complete disappointment and up again towards next rise of enthusiasm. Eventually the ride stuck in the middle.
Afterwards I understand the mistakes I made. The mistakes that lead to inactivity, disappointment and finally to a lack of motivation. Now that I am one experience richer, I want to share some advice for other beginners who are interested in making a documentary.
Have a plan
Before you start filming, it is vital to have a proper idea for what, when and how you are going to film. You need to figure out the point of view and estimate the duration of your documentary. You need to know what equipment you will be using.
I personally had difficulties in coming up with a plan because this documentary project was handed to me after my arrival. Goes without saying that this resulted in me running around with the camera and filming loads of useless crap. My early material exists now only as an example of what not to do.
Prepare a schedule, reserve enough time for filming and storing the material and stick to your schedule. If you try to work with a too tight schedule, you might end up missing an important session and that is a key ingredient to fucking the whole thing up. If possible, try to film in a chronological order to make organizing your project easier.
It is also important to make a clear plan for example when interviewing people. Remember that the daily routines and schedules of your interviewees might change, so you have to be able to be flexible.
I recommend shooting material outside of your original plan as well because the coolest things rarely occur in schedule. Basically you should have your camera with you whenever possible. This way your video material is more organic and you might end up catching something useful, unplanned.
Storing and organizing your material
Store your video clips preferably immediately after a filming session. For this purpose, you should have folders and subfolders to keep everything in order. Nothing skyrockets my blood pressure faster than trying to find that one certain clip from a mess of files. It is good to review your material from time to time, delete useless clips, and put filler material into its own folder.
Start early. Even if you are still filming, make a project file where you can put the clips you are going to use. This helps in maintaining the chronological order and understanding the big picture. Editing is always more painful to start if you have several hours of untouched material waiting for you. Post-production probably is the most time consuming part of making any video so keep that in mind.
Tempus fugit and now the last moments of my internship are at hand. Briefly, this was a useful experience to me. I have a handful of new skills in photography, filming, editing and working in a company.
To my shame I have to admit that I did not finish the documentary. I hope that I can get a chance to fix that.
My mind is overflowing with words of gratitude and I am going to share them with the people who deserve to hear them. Now it’s time for me to enjoy my last moments in this pleasant city. Rannikko out.
– Jeremi Rannikko, intern at Sivukonttori