Tuesday 18 August 2009

Sturgeon Moon (2007) & The Handless Maiden (2007)...

Acting as second cameraman for Silva Productions, these two films were my introduction to putting together documentaries for Arts Council projects.

Sturgeon Moon” took place in Bridgnorth – all over the town during the day (in the blistering hot summer of 2007), and culminating in a multi-staged performance on the town’s sports field at night. It was an opportunity to employ those ‘shoot from the hip, as it happens’ skills that I acquired on all those videos I made at university, but it was also a robust experience in terms of patience and especially endurance.

The Handless Maiden” was a Covent Garden Street Opera production (performed by, and aimed at, people with disabilities) at the Trinity College of Music, London. It was a further lesson in working with complete strangers (there’s a big difference between just being around strange people, and having to film and direct complete strangers). Additionally it was a continued lesson in filmmaking endurance – “Sturgeon Moon” was a 20 hour day, and “The Handless Maiden” was an exhausting 21 hours.

Interestingly, with these sort of projects, you have a sense of nervousness and anticipation leading up to the main performance – you’re obsessively going over the little, and even simple, details (batteries, tapes, camera settings, what’s roughly going to happen etc), but when the actual performance gets going time stops existing except for the time code on your camera’s flip-out screen. Everything comes together during the performance, and especially on outdoor shoots, it becomes a case of ‘run and gun’ filmmaking. Responding to everything happening around you every second and having to get a whole range of quality shots – indeed, it’s quite thrilling.

This first video is a little short piece I put together using my own footage from the performance:

Below are two videos about the "Sturgeon Moon" project, as put together by Silva Productions:

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