Today I meet with members of the OutTakes youth Documentary Crew again for the first time since The Disposable Film Festival. We had a really busy few hours reviewing footage, exploring documentary formats and making decisions about the style, content and target audience for our final production.
After analysing several examples, the crew have settled on a ‘Participatory Documentary Style’, a term that Bill Nichols used to describe the type of pieces where “The filmmaker steps out from behind the cloak of voice-over commentary, steps away from poetic meditation, steps down from a fly-on-the-wall perch, and becomes a social actor (almost) like any other.” Bill Nichols, Introduction to Documentary (2001), Indiana University Press. It is certainly an interesting decision that I think is indicative of the natural leaning towards radical, non-hierarchical methods of working that seem to come naturally to the young media producer. Perhaps its because they already come from an environment of social collaboration in terms of their online expression. I am certainly learning a lot by observing their patterns of communication and production. The participatory documentary is typically non-formal in its structure and does not attempt to hide the potential subjectivity of the film-maker(s) nor their potential to influence both subject and audience. In this way, I find it is especially interesting as a tool that highlights relationships as a device of knowledge rather than seek to objectify them.
We also took some time today to conduct a final interview with Katie Gillum for insertion as crucial narrative about outcomes and reflections over material documenting the discussion-based festival activities such as panels etc
It was unanimously decided that the central theme of the production be ‘How young people Affect Media’ in terms of consumption, production and distribution using evidence of OutTakes interaction with the activities and participants at The Disposable Film Festival as our key example.