Stage 3 Evaluation: Documentary

On the first day, when we sat down to start the 6 – 8 minute documentary I tried to brainstorm a variety of ideas on multiple different topics. Once the group had a variety of ideas, we all discussed our plans and tried to see if we could match any of the topics together. By doing this, we soon realised lots of our ideas were based around one reoccurring theme – support. Obviously, we didn’t want to rush this, so we looked at other possible themes such as student life, and nationalities.

Over time, it became clear that most of the group agreed with support as our main theme. With this in mind, we had to look at a feel for the show. We decided on BBC Radio 1 as our station style, as we believed the 15 – 29 years range, of outgoing and exciting people, interested mainstream and technological advances was the best fit for our show. Looking back at this now, I wish we had really thought about this more, and looked at other outgoing and mainstream stations, especially based around central Scotland, as many of our packages were based around Scottish themes and stories.

Once deciding on a station and a theme, I had to decide on my own package. I looked at various options but the world of LGBT always stuck out to me. I decided on the LGBT and the Youth as my package idea – as I wanted to keep it within the BBC Radio 1 target audience, but also on something in the mainstream media today. With this in mind, an angle was required.
I thought about looking at parents opinions on coming out, the science behind LGBT, the problems with coming out – but knew that realistically it had to be something simple that can be explored in 6 – 8 minutes. Therefore, I decided on LGBT Youth and its portrayal in the media. That meant I could focus on television programmes, the BBC Radio 1 feel and news reports of today.

While deciding on the angle, I had to pitch the package. The more I looked into it, the more I realised that coming out had so many different stories, and I had to make it as personal as possible to really grab the attention of 15 – 29 year olds. I wanted to incorporate peoples’ stories with the media and how they related to one another. I had to pitch the type of music included, the facts necessary and the type of guests I would need within my project. The costings, health and legalities as well as justification for the station were also included in this pitch.

As LGBT is a widely spoken about topic, I knew it would be easy to research, so I wanted to focus on opinions and personal anecdotes. While the facts and figures are important, the humour and story line was what would keep people listening. I feel like my pitch went well. I was confident with my work, and felt incredibly prepared to showcase my idea to the class. I had all the facts and figures ready, as well as an idea on the type of guests I was looking for, such as charities and societies.
The interviews were a slow start.
I contacted various charities throughout the UK, including many local LGBT Youth groups and nationwide charities in the hope that someone could give me the knowledge behind LGBT, for clarification within the package. However, I really struggled. Many charities, such as Stonewall and LGBT Youth did get back to me, however many declined due to over capacity of work commitments.
I decided to use the Edinburgh College LGBT Officer as my source of knowledge. Although on a small scale, I knew that Edinburgh College would have a very similar target audience to BBC Radio 1, aged 15 – 29, filled with so many different people with so many different opinions, and I knew the LGBT Officer would be able to collate all those opinions into life within the LGBT community at an educational establishment.

The main focal point on my package was the personal stories. I decided to contact the Dundee LGBT Society for their help. My friend was a member of this society and it felt like a really quick and easy way to round up so many people with such different stories and experiences. This way I managed to interview 5 different people on their stories and place them into a short storyline.

The interview process went very well, however it seemed very rushed. I spent a lot of time trying to get interviews before recording one, which resulted in a mad panic towards the end. If I were to do this differently, I would have interviewed as I went along, rather than try and organise all my interviews before getting the microphone out. In an ideal world, I would have liked an official charity to give me the reasoning behind LGBT appearing in the media more, however receiving opinions from many youths did still get the point across.

One thing I did manage to keep to throughout my project was the story arc. I wanted to start with knowledge that would spread into stories and opinions to really help uplift the audience on the world of LGBT. I wanted to make it seem as fun and exciting as possible, while not bombarding the audience with lists of figures. It had to stay short and snappy. I feel like I managed to achieve this, and was very proud with the outcome.

While creating and editing the package, I needed to make sure I kept it under the BBC Radio 1 feel. I tried to keep the language very colloquial, while also making sure to answer the questions. I had a variety of voices and tried to keep it UK based. The information and guests I received were great, however to keep it nationwide, I probably should have used a different, more English accent for the presenter, as many of my guests had a very thick Scottish accent. Having a different accent would have helped give it a BBC Radio 1 feel, rather than a BBC Radio Scotland feel.

For the music of my package, I needed to keep it BBC Radio 1. I used Top 40 tracks of different styles that would be played on Radio 1. This is the music the target audience would listen to, and therefore it helped give a R1 feel. I started by using lots of different tracks, including LGBT icons such as Lady Gaga and Macklemore. I tried to incorporate multiple songs into the background of the music however, whenever I did this – the music felt too busy and very cliché. With this in mind, I removed all the music and tried not to focus on the LGBT idea. I decided on Top 40 beats, that had short instrumentals. I believed this was the best idea for my documentary as it focused less on the music, and more on the stories, while also bringing in music already known by the audience.
If I was to change this, I may have made more of a mix, and sampled the beats between each other. I focused on full instrumentals rather than mixing together songs, like BBC Radio 1 commonly do.

Costing was also incredibly important for this documentary.
I had to bare in mind the costing of the studio space, the equipment, the presenter, and the travel, as well as licensing, sfx and music. While all this information wasn’t at hand to begin with and I had no understanding for this before hand, I believe I did a good job collating all this information and putting all the costs together.

Ethics are an important part of this topic. While working with the LGBT community, one of the biggest slip ups people can find is using the wrong pronouns when someone is transitioning. One of my biggest concerns was making sure not to unknowingly insult a guest but using the wrong pronoun. I made it very clear before interviewing each member what their preferred pronouns were and tried to stick to this while interviewing and introducing them in the 6 – 8 minute package. I feel like I managed this well, as I spend extra time on the script incase of any slip ups.
I also feel like I edited each interview and still managed to get the same point across, without adapting or editing each interviewee. Fortunately all interviewee’s were over the age of 18, so no extra paperwork was required. I felt like I organised this thoroughly and I’m quite happy with the outcome.

Health and Safety within the studio was also incredibly important. I was interviewing in unknown locations, and with strangers – however I feel like I managed to stay as safe as possible. I always made sure to have someone around that was trusting, and all interviews took place in a public space. I believe that the health and safety forms from the preproduction stage should have been looked at in closer detail, as I should have made sure to advise the guests and presenter of the safety procedures in place incase of any emergency.

Throughout the whole 6 – 8 minute documentary production, I felt a little short of time. I did complete the whole project in a week, while recording and editing all the interviews in 2 days, then editing it together and adding music within a further 2 days. While this may seemed rushed, the short space of time did really help me to focus on the task at hand, and focus on the importance of the work. Next time, I would give myself more time by interviewing at the easiest convenience, so that I could plan the story arc around my interviews. If I had more time, I would likely have interviewed a charity, to really grasp the knowledge within this package.
I did spend most of the time making sure the whole documentary stuck to a BBC Radio 1 feel, with the help of music and language used, I feel like I really did this.

Overall, I am very proud of the package. I set out to show personal stories on the world of LGBT and I feel like I managed this very well. For future projects, the experiences of this task will help me to manage my time better and focus on the goal at hand.




Stage 3 Evaluation: Documentary