The reason I chose this subject is because I have a genuine interest of how Muslims are discriminated and stereotyped through some form of media everyday, either being on television, social networks and even in real life by the law. As I have my opinion on the topic I thought getting a really personal insight from someone who follows the Muslim faith would be much more effective in engaging an audience.
After watching many different types of documentaries across the same lines it gave me more of understanding, looking into the key conventions used in docs what cover the subject I was trying to portray. Throughout the pre production stage I wasn’t too sure with the direction I was going, as it was a bit too broad to deliver within the timescale of 3 minutes. After we then focused more on the character shaping it around his views and his lifestyle. We had to think of questions that are personal to him but broad in a sense of everyone relating, so we used a lot of open questions.
Process and Development
I wanted to produce a piece what I could relate to as I’m from an area where it mainly a Muslim community and I’m always hearing stories from locals about how they are mistreated collectively instead of those who have actually committed a crime for example terrorists. There were a few setbacks as my first idea was quite difficult delivering as I had to think of legal constraints. As the topic I was thinking of using was still on going in court. Most importantly I had to think of the risk of getting sued having only one side of the story.
After I filmed a few rough takes it gave everyone in my team more on an understanding about the character they will make the documentary on. Originally I wasn’t too keen on producing my documentary as I thought the topic was quite cliché, but after speaking with my group they showed encouragement in going forward within my idea. We then started to thinking of ideas for the imagery, looking into the style of cinematography to give the visuals more of a narrative. We then thought of different shots such as close ups, and the different layers of audio what will combine throughout the edit.
The shoot went quite even though there were a few problems such as the lighting but we used our initiative and it worked well. For example the lighting in the living room, were we was shooting the sit interview was too harsh and over exposed. This wasn’t the feeling and tone we wanted to portray as I our aim was a warmer soft tone, being quite personal showing that Islam is peace. We decided to not use the main light and just manipulate lighting we brought on set, in a creative way. This gave us more of a cinematic view to our proposed doc for example the bathroom scene.
What was a real disappointment was we wanted our character to change into his religious clothing in a step-by-step routine, but for whatever reason our character didn’t have it available, so we couldn’t dwell on that. Overall what I learnt from the shoot is always be prepared for changes of plan as sometimes you just cant achieve what is on your shooting script. On this note we can’t complain too much, as most things went well.
Example of lighting in contrast on his face representing two sides of Adam.
Originally I wanted the documentary to be about how Muslims feel they are portrayed in the media, but I don’t think we really thought of delivering that within 3 minute. As throughout the edit we had to cut a lot of from the footage, as the character was pausing, stuttering with his words, and even going in to too much detail. For example when we asked him about representation of Muslim in the media, his reply was too broad. Due to this we just used the most effective parts, we thought narrowing it down to three specific topics. Throughout this module I have learnt more in depth about the telling stories after watching many different styles of documentaries and looking into many professionals.
I do believe we had a clear direction of what we wanted tout of the doc and I thought we did a decent job. Although there were a few things what we didn’t get, which would have been effective. For example we wanted a sunrise shot, in contrast with the bathroom shot with him cleansing. We felt this shot would have been really cinematic, but unfortunately we couldn’t achieve that. Another thing what I personally don’t like a bout the edit is there were a few scenes where we used footage numerous times, it shows repetition which you may associate with basic standard work. I can say this, as I know we wanted stronger imagery to bring more out of the documentary. I think in future we must give ourselves much more time to work around, as we know we could done a much better with certain parts. This is something I will learn from and look to put right in the future, as you can see certain features of the documentary what looks a bit less effective.
Overall I think what our biggest problem was being creative in a short space of time. I think the edit could have been even better if we had shot the documentary when we had planned to, but due to a misunderstanding we were a week behind schedule. And even on the day we running behind as the character took quick a while to arrive.