Weekly meetings for all those interested in taking part in the Journeys documentary series are held from 10:30am – 12:30pm on Wednesdays at the Quay House wellbeing centre. It’s an open group/project and all Members, Staff & Volunteers are welcome to drop-in at any time.
If you have any questions you can email Sam (the project organiser and a member of Staff at Isorropia) at sam at isorropia dot uk. Sorry the email address isn’t written in the usual way, but email addresses that are posted online tend to attract spammers, so to avoid that it’s been written in this alternative format. Just change the word ‘at’ for the ‘@’ symbol, and the word ‘dot’ for a ‘.’ symbol.
THINKING OF GETTING INVOLVED?
If you are thinking of getting involved, the first thing you’ll need to do is decide whether you’d like to appear on camera, or work behind it.
APPEARING ON CAMERA
Appearing on camera may seem like a daunting prospect, but if you give it a go you’ll soon discover that it’s not as difficult or as frightening as you might have imagined. In fact it’s a great way of developing self-confidence and communication skills, and many people really enjoy the experience – once they overcome their initial concerns about stepping into the unknown.
Basically, you’ll be an interviewee, asked questions about your past, your current situation, and your hopes and plans for the future, but you can skip any questions if they feel too personal or intrusive. If you have a hobby you may be asked to demonstrate it on camera, but again, we would only do that if you felt completely comfortable with the idea. The aim of the production crew (which may be just one, or a few people with a camera and some audio equipment) will be to open up a dialogue with you, and to paint a picture of the journey that you’re on.
Those who agree to appear on camera will probably be asked to conduct update interviews every few weeks, to show how their life is changing over time – and that’s what will serve as the substance of this series. The program will show colourful, brave and interesting individuals that are at a turning point in their lives, and it will follow the decisions they make, the challenges they face, the goals they set themselves, and how their life unfolds.
Interviewees will be shown every episode in which they appear before anyone else sees it, and if they’d like any sections (or the entirety of their appearance) editing out, then we’ll do that with no questions asked. This project isn’t about exploiting people and twisting the truth to generate sensational entertainment, it’s about presenting inspiring stories as clearly and conscientiously as possible, to help inspire and motivate the people that are involved, to help promote the ground-breaking work that Isorropia Foundation is doing, and to help inspire others to undertake transformative journeys of their own. And earning participant’s trust is a key part of that process.
WORKING BEHIND THE CAMERA
Working behind the camera will be a better fit for some people, and there’s certainly no shortage of opportunities there – some creative, some technical, and some logistic. It all depends on what your interests, skills and aspirations in life are. You don’t need any experience (although we can use it if you have it) because we’ll learn everything that we need to know as we go along. Some of the key roles include…
Director – The captain of the ship. The person who guides the whole project and co-ordinates everyone in it. Creativity, good people skills, and good organisational skills are a big advantage in this role. This role isn’t essential however, because the team as a whole may wish to decide where the project goes.
Assistant Director – The glue that keeps the whole project together. The person who ensures the right people and equipment get to the right location at the right time. And that everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing when they get there. A challenging and vital role that requires good organisational and communication skills.
Writer – The storyteller. The person who decides what questions should be asked in interviews, writes any voice-over narration that may be needed, shapes how people’s stories are told, and how the story arc of the whole series gradually unfolds. Creativity and writing skills would be a big advantage in this role.
Interviewer – The conductor of the project. The Interviewer will ask questions that have been prepared beforehand, but he or she will also be expected to improvise and go with the flow of a conversation, following any interesting threads that arises spontaneously. Which means being able to think on your feet.
Musician – All films benefit from having moving background music that reflects the scene that’s being portrayed. Generic music can be sourced online for this purpose, but it would add a whole other dimension and level of artistry to the project if we could find people willing to create music especially for this project. That doesn’t mean people with years of training and experience, it means people that have an instrument, or a voice, that are willing to improvise or compose a piece and have it recorded. In this case passion and soul beats technical ability. Raw sounds can be powerful, imperfections can be beautiful, sounds can be layered and effects can be superimposed. All that’s needed is a little creativity and courage.
Camera Operator – The eyes of the project. The key skill for the Camera Operator is intuition, because the best shots are often unexpected things that occur between and behind the shots that are planned. So, if you have the awareness to capture the unexpected as it occurs, then you’ll probably make an excellent Camera Operator. Aside from that, the Camera Operator’s role will be to ensure that the person or scene being filmed is well framed, well lit, and not over or under exposed. You’ll also need to make sure the camera is either steady (mounted on a tripod) or moves smoothly (mounted on a gimbal). But technical proficiency will come naturally with practice.
Sound Recordist – The ears of the project. To ensure good sound quality we won’t be using the on-board microphone on the camera, we’ll be using either a shotgun microphone or a wireless lavalier (lapel) type microphone. These will be connected via a cable, or wirelessly to a small audio recorder. The Sound Recordist will be in charge of positioning the microphone(s), ensuring the recording levels are not too high or too low, and capturing the audio on the audio recorder when the camera’s rolling. No special skills are required, but some technical ability would be an advantage.
Editor – The Editor will probably work alone, watching hours of footage and deciding which bits to keep, and which bits to cut. He or she will weave those bits together so that they tell a coherent and compelling story, adding music where it’s needed, as well as graphics and captions. He or she will also synchronise the audio with the video, and overlay any voice-over narration that may be needed. It would suit someone who works well on their own and is creative and technical. One limitation to this role is that the Editor will need to own a fairly high-spec computer with lots of external hard drive space to store and process the large amounts of high resolution video and audio files that will be generated by this project.
Voice-Over Artist – The voice of the project. The Voice-Over Artist will read text aloud in front of a microphone inside a voice-over booth. This person will have to be able to read well and speak clearly. Accents don’t matter – if people can understand what you’re saying then we’re good to go.
Location Scout – It can add a great deal of visual interest and emotional impact to a scene if it’s shot outdoors, or at a location that’s relevant to the story that’s being told. But someone has to find those locations, and make sure that it’s possible to film there. Which means ensuring that any necessary permissions have been obtained, and that it isn’t going to be too busy or too noisy to film at the scheduled time. This role would suit a good organiser that likes exploring. And if that person had a car that would probably be an advantage.
Graphic Designer – The person in charge of designing the graphics for the project, such as the cover art, the opening and closing credits, and any illustrations that may be needed. The Graphic Designer may also be asked to create storyboards, if the project doesn’t have a dedicated Storyboard Artist.
Storyboard Artist – The person who creates basic (stick man) sketches showing the scenes that need capturing during the more challenging shoots. When filming at an unfamiliar location for example, there can be a lot to think about and organise, and so it can be a great help to the film crew to have a storyboard to refer to, which clearly shows each scene that needs capturing that day. There’s a great scope for creativity too. Instead of simply shooting a static head shot, a more creative approach might be taken, using motion, the landscape, unusual camera angles, natural light and shadows, focus and zoom effects.
Grip – The muscle of the project. The Grip helps to carry the video and audio gear (which is quite heavy) from point A to point B. He or she then helps to unpack it and set it up, and then they do the whole thing in reverse at the end of the shoot. Having a strong back and a car would probably be an advantage in this role. It’s not the most glamorous job in the world, but you’ll make friends, build muscle, and go on some weird and wonderful adventures with the crew.