reboot camp day two: crash and burn?

I was really quite disappointed in this morning's session. We were told very briefly that next year we would have different lecturers dealing with us and it would differ depending on what course we were on. Then we were told that next year we are expected to make a short documentary and a short drama.

Matt played us a series of short docs he was involved with for Channel 4. They were great to watch and were very effective at showing how you can take a seemingly boring topic and make it touching, or kooky or funny.

After that we were given a little recap on ethics and Parashoot forms. We were reminded that this part of the industry is very very important and it is insurance for the University and if we don't do it it gives the University a bad name and just to hammer it home, that we may end up shot by police if we didn't make sure our paperwork was in order.

Fine. Got that. Understood.

Then we were handed some forms, told to break up into groups of 4 and decide on a topic for a documentary to be made next year.

Now, this is my issue:


Hardly any of the course students had turned up. So, effectively I was being asked to form a production team with a limited number of people to choose from, whose skills I have no concept of. I don't even know if they can use a camera. I'm sure they can. But I don't know that.

So how can I be asked to join a team and make an interesting, engaging documentary without having any knowledge of my teammates? I know that we are expected to mix and work with other people. I have been doing that. Problem is, a lot of the talented people are off to Germany next year and won't be around for this project.

What ended up happening was we sat there for about half an hour and no one came up with any ideas. When ideas were offered it turned into joking and messing around. Fine. I can deal with that. I can sit there and pretend to be discussing and joke around for half an hour.

But when it comes to actual production I will not submit work that is lower than a standard I want to achieve.

Surely surely as a filmmaker, you want to bring people in to your team who are reliable, who are going to try their best at their role even if they are still learning and who are going to take the production seriously.


I think we should have been told that we are expected to make a documentary and then told to go away and create a production team. I understand we have to work in teams but I think we should be allowed to choose. Not just told to find someone in the room out of the handful of people who turned up.

I also believe that a good production team can be made up of 2 people. Why are groups always 4 or 5? We should be given the option of working in small teams. What if you want to approach a very delicate topic for a documentary piece. You won't be wanting more than 2 people on set if you're working with a sensitive subject, while trying to draw them out of their shell and make them comfortable in front of the camera.