Deleted History

New Zealand, 2009. 3:27 mins.

Team: Hannah Powell and Tessa Johnsen

The Journey Begins…


Where do we start?.. We began so full of good intentions and ambitious ideas… Initially, when faced with the prospect of having to create our own mocumentary, we turned to the internet for inspiration. The clips that we liked presented the viewer with a fictional story, turning random objects and images into evidence to make the story seem believable. The desired result is that eventually the audience will begin questioning whether the information is truthful – or not. A perfect way to bring out the paranoia in all of us!

Our plan was… To shape our story around one main protagonist, an Otago University Honors student who happened to discover the University was trying to cover up a secret. The story was told in a fairly traditional way (through a news interview), but we had trouble finding it’s continuity. Also traditional story telling didn’t really allow for ‘lose ends’ as such, so we began to steer clear of it – which meant altering how our story was told.

Our preliminary ideas and main focus went thorough a fairly dramatic ‘process of evolution’ and in the end was only very loosely based on our first story board. We were always drawn to the idea of ‘conspiracies’ and this was a dominant theme which we stuck with right till the end.

Time was ticking on and unfortunately we were hit with a few unexpected obstacles which meant lack of time became a factor in our final piece.

Finally starting to get somewhere…

Picture 16

Moving away from our ‘honors student story’ allowed us to gain new inspiration from many other online documentary pieces such as “Deceptive Deceptions” and “The Denver Airport Conspiracy”. We decided to utilize the wonderful world wide web and all that it had to offer. Instead of filming hours of footage the majority of what we used was pulled off the internet. We found some clips on the internet which we thought looked interesting and thought provoking. These clips were the basis of our story line. We began to shape our story line…

We recorded our voiceovers in sections, and to be honest we weren’t really sure how the whole thing was going to fit together until the very end. This, on one hand, was not exactly how we were advised to create our films. But it meant we could play with a sort of disjointed, spontaneous kind of storytelling – one which didn’t fit the traditional mold.

A mocumentary in the making…


Despite being terrified  that we would be sued for using unauthorized material, we eventually got all the footage that we needed. We did face some tiny technical issues using internet footage…  The image and sound quality was often pretty dodgy and it was surprisingly hard (on numerous occasions) to find ‘the perfect clip’. I guess this helped us get creative! Small amounts of our footage was actually recorded by us – on campus. There really are some strange objects out there..

After gathering all of our footage and writing a script, we began recording the voiceover – which played a huge part in our final result! Talk about time consuming! We recorded the voiceover three times. Each time trying to improve the sound quality and increase the subtle paranoia. However each time we adjusted the voice, we had to slightly adjust the footage… But like we said before, this turned out pretty well for us. Hopefully we end up in the ‘paranoid and mad students who secretly make a film in their garage’ category..

And finally…

We are Hannah Powell and Tess Johnsen! This was a first film attempt for both of us. The project was annoying, exciting, terrifying, fun, disastrous, time killing, and stressful! But we enjoyed it, and we are proud to say we finally got there! 🙂

Thanks to the voices of Louise Jakeway and Eryn van Dijk.

And how could we forget…

you tube

A Big thanks! What on earth would we have done without you?!


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