My World My Things – DAN

This is quite a unique project, it’s main aim was to create a document that could serve as a kind of time capsule – a social history focused film package exploring some of the signifiers of social condition in the lives of modern young people. Fashions, technologies, interests and styles all unmediated against the socio-economic background of Bradford 2010 – a city in decline at the start of the recent recession.

These films are currently acquired by the regional Film Archive and remain there as a research resource for future generations to learn from and enjoy.

On a personal level though I feel that it’s the characters of these people that will shine through the centuries – quirky and real, ordinary and unique in their daily lives – portrayed simply ‘as they were’ they are truly enjoyable and enlightening documentary films made in such a way as to let you, the audience relate to them personally.

A tough day filming, being heckled and moved on by bouncers – Dan took it in his stride – respect!

As part of the project each of the young people in the films were given £100 from the production budget with which to buy a new outfit. I followed each young person around on their ‘shopping trip’ filming and interviewing as we went. Building a rapport in these situations is essential and I think that’s the key to this project’s success – all the interviews are relaxed and natural and this helps the conversational contextual information to ring out clearly from the films.

It’s this ‘natural’ approach that I aim for in most interview situations – I feel it gives a more real and less staged view of our time and it’s a more faithful representation of the person and their views if they feel happy talking. This is in stark contrast to some of the ‘oral history’ projects that museums seem so interested in these days – which tend to force the interviewees into an aesthetic framework in the form of a story telling style – a style that has been developed by example over countless oral history projects. As the interviewers in many of such cases are usually historians with a secondary interest in collecting oral histories they tend to miss these subtlties of interview technique and inadvertently (through established aesthetics or otherwise) ‘direct’ the subject into ‘acting a style’. As an experienced documentary film maker – this is something I never do in the interests of creating something real and of true value to future generations.

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