This documentary mini-series was created and published during the isolation period of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK. It reveals the experiences of many individuals at this time, as the unexpected is faced together. Each episode is under 8 minutes and provides a small insight into this strange and difficult time.
During lockdown, Caitlin and Rhian had spent hours on the phone to one another, trying to work out what to do with their newly found time. They both wanted to stay creative and eventually came up with the idea of co-producing a documentary mini-series that would have purposeful, positive elements. There had been a lot of upsetting news shared through the media and so they wanted to counter this, whilst still giving an accurate representation of the time. Each episode was designed individually as the circumstances were highly unpredictable.
The first episode explores the lives of three individuals, three weeks into lockdown. They share how they are spending their time and challenges faced on a personal level.
It took us many phone calls before settling on a strong idea. We wanted to focused on three people we knew personally, to share their experiences so far. We wanted to have variety in both age and gender which we were able to achieve and I do think it felt more inclusive that way.
Something I had learned from a previous documentary was the importance of cutaways and the avoidance of jump-cuts. I made this my goal when it came to the editing process. I did give myself a strict time-frame of editing the video in under a week because of the chance of the UK situation changing and therefore the content of the video seeming irrelevant. This particular episode I found to be very easy to edit as we wanted something short and sweet and the number of contributors was low. As I was putting the video together, I had the idea of having myself and Rhian in the video. We both agreed it would be useful in this case as we had never made a documentary together before and it felt more personal that way.
For this particular episode, it wasn’t too difficult to explain to our contributors what we were looking for. We simply wanted to know how they had spent their time and their feelings around this. There were no real specifics. I was incredibly grateful to them all taking part and being so open about their experiences. At this point in time, we had the idea to continue following their stories in the next episodes but our plans did change.
I am incredibly pleased with how this episode turned out considering our restrictions, as I do believe we achieved our goal in not only documenting this strange time but also sharing something a little more positive.
The second episode explores the activities that are motivating people to stay positive and healthy, five weeks into lockdown. A range of different people share their experiences.
After having such a positive response from our first episode, we felt it necessary to give more people the chance to get involved. We were fortunate enough to have a total ten people who were willing to take part and explained, as best we could, our idea. The aim was to inspire others to take advantage of this time in isolation and try something new. The activity ideas would be provided by our contributors as they shared what they had been doing to keep themselves occupied.
This was the most difficult episode to both orchestrate and edit. I found it hard to explain through text message what was expected and I had to adapt based on the content I received. It resulted in more cutaway footage needing to be filmed to cover up the voice-over as well as re-ordering everyone to prevent it feeling over-whelming. Most of my time was spent cutting the videos down to the most relevant parts and avoid repetition of the activities.
Overall, I am pleased with the finished result considering I was physically unable to direct, however at times it does feel a little drawn out as there are so many people to keep track of. At the time I know I couldn’t have done a lot different with the footage I had, but I will remember to keep contributors at a minimum if at all possible in future projects, or at least have a strong structure beforehand.
The third and final episode is a reflection piece on our experiences and how this may affect us in the future. A group of five people share their thoughts.
This was my favourite episode to edit and also my favourite outcome. The core of this project was to provide something positive for people to watch; to give a feeling of motivation and inspiration. We wanted to show that despite being physically apart from one another, we were dealing with this as part of a community and I do feel that in this episode we achieved that positive feeling.
Learning from the previous two episodes, we decided five contributors would be a strong number to give enough variety while keeping it concise. We also thought it would be nice to include some familiar faces as well as introducing others and I believe that this helped the series feel more coherent. This time around, we gave everyone a list of three questions to answer so that we would all be on the same page. That way, I had a simple frame to follow when it came to the edit. Despite all the wonderful thoughts people had to say, I was determined from the start to cut it down to no more than 4 minutes as it was intended to feel like a conclusion. One of the contributors was late submitting which gave me the idea to use this extra time and ask the contributors from the previous episode to send a video doing one of the activities they had mentioned previously. This worked really well in breaking up the voices and bringing everything together.
I am incredibly thankful to everyone who got involved with this project as it wasn’t always easy, especially considering the situation we were all in. It taught me a great deal when it came to producing and editing and how much I enjoyed working alongside someone compared to projects I did alone. It has given me the motivation to want to pursue more documentaries in the future as I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.