Documentary, New Zealand 2007, 5’56 mins.
Team: Sian O’ Gorman, Amy-Rose Goulding, Chien-Fen Hung, Olivia Young, Sarah White.
A team of Mothra-making students follow an eccentric student over-enthusiastically preaching and acting on an issue not many of her peers have much time for – recycling. Lacking any self-awareness, Jean believes she is a visionary, and must spread “the light that is recycling” throughout the Dunedin community.
Jeans failed attempts at gathering an audience for her cause don’t prejudice her confidence. As the film students continue to document the extraordinary girls efforts to win over the people around her they become absorbed in how unique Jean is rather than the cause she is campaigning.
It is cringe material, and attempts are made to provide humour by having a fine line dividing the realistic and the ridiculous.
The struggle to find times which suited everyone led us to break down the tasks, which in the end resulted in greater efficiency within a project that aimed to utilize each team member’s skills and areas of expertise through meetings held twice a week. Our initial idea is very similar to the final outcome as we had a strong idea from the beginning that was followed through without much need for alteration. Jenny’s drawing talent was fantastic when it came to depicting the film through story-boards. With Jenny’s detailed and accurate sketches we were able to understand the angles and arrangement of scenes before we began to film. Olivia and Sarah produced the final layout of the production plan while Sian and Amy-Rose created the script.
Sian, our main actress, had a natural talent which meant only a few takes were necessary (although the number of out-takes with the F-word proved to be very humorous when editing!), and she played a large role in the production stage of the film. Also, due to the genre of our film (a mockumentary), awkward pauses and small mistakes were not a hindrance, but rather helpful in portraying something akin to a real documentary; it legitimised the overall “reality” of the characters.
Sarah and Amy-Rose were the main camera operators, both having great ideas how to what shot types and styles would suit each scene. Sarah was very organised at booking a camera on the arranged day! Editing was Olivia and Amy-Rose’s area of expertise, with the help of their team mates and a few tips from Ralf we learnt new skills that enhanced the quality of the narration of the film and polished the overall look.
Our time-management proved to be largely successful, finishing the production stage with almost 4 weeks left for editing.
Production & Editing
We were very proactive with organising props such as the t-shirt and the “REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE” sign. The production of the film overall was very low in cost as we did not have to hire a professional actress nor did we have to hire out locations or props.
Problems with background noise in certain scenes (for example, the parent scene) were remedied in part by experimenting with the noise levels of the track. However, if it had been possible, a re-take would have enhanced that particular clip.
Saving the movie at various intervals under different version names was helpful in that editing could be experimental without the concern that it was permanent and uneditable. What also proved helpful has keeping the original raw footage which editing it so that if needed we were able to go back to the original clips.
iMovie proved easy to use – drag and drop is such a great innovation! However, at times we were frustrated with how restricted some of the options were. Particularly in putting together the credits, and manipulating certain sound levels.
It was great to have the guidance of Ralf, especially when we found out that we could extract the audio from the video. This technique was very helpful, it with hopefully give the audience a better understanding of the narrative.
We found the whole experience, from script writing to editing, a lot of fun and found that we worked really well together as a group! We managed to collaborate so many different ideas and methods of working which resulted in everyone having an equal level of participation in the overall project. There are a few things we’d love to re-shoot, and we would have liked to have gained some experience in working with different editing programmes such as Final Cut Pro, but time constraints and skills were slightly limited. Nevertheless we are very happy with Jean and we hope you enjoy our short film!