The original plan for our project was to base it on William Cobbett and Rural Rides. This meant that we would do all of our filming in Hampshire, both the countryside and the towns, juxtaposing together. We also filmed in Salisbury too as Cobbett spoke about this town. We planned a sunrise so as the sun was rising and time was moving on we would have less of the countryside and more and more of the towns. Please refer to Appendix A to see our entire running order for the documentary.
We agreed that we needed a historian to talk about Cobbett and pull the documentary together. Richard Ingrams wrote a biography about the poet entitled, ‘The Life and Adventures of William Cobbett’. He would have been able to give the documentary much more knowledge and a famous name. We were not able to get him, through many different communications so we decided to try and find a historian on campus. We did feel that our documentary just needed someone to talk about Cobbett and not necessarily be well known. Dr Jean Morrin agreed to be filmed and said that she knew quite a bit about the poet.
Her interview went really well but when we started editing we realised that there was a grain on her voice that we could not rectify. As we were short on time before showing our rushes we decided to keep it in but re-do it later. Having her in the rushes just showed what she looked like and the knowledge of Cobbett that she had.
We picked some of our best shots for our rushes but I found that our shots of the towns, such as Southampton and Winchester just were not as nice or as well filmed as the ones of the countryside. We had a lot of problems with some having lots of the public in that were recognisable and even though this was an art documentary we were still aware of showing peoples identity.
After we showed our rushes I felt a lot more confident in our project. We were told to scrap the interview with Dr Morrin, there were sound problems, and she waffled a lot. We needed succinct sound bites to be used throughout our documentary and not told a story. We were also told to cut out most of the city shots, to get rid of William Cobbett completely and to make it all about the poem; The Mask of Anarchy by Percy Bysshe Shelley and the music, Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
This worked out well for us because we had Professor Anthony Dean recorded reading the entire poem all ready. His voice was very clear and he put emotions in to the poem at the correct parts.
We started again placing every best shot we had as well as filming in the fields on the outskirts of Winchester. We felt we needed some more simple shots of the countryside and more colour. We started with the pictures instead of the music or the poem. We are always told write to the pictures but in this case, the best parts of our documentary were the poem and the music and we needed to lay them down first; however we did not realise this until Professor Chris Horrie pointed it out to us. They were our strongest points and so they needed to come first.
We cut up the music to stings, themes, pattering and the bed of the music. Second, we chose the best stanzas of the poem, the ones with the most emotion and drama. We laid these down and put a sting after every stanza Professor Dean spoke. Then we put in the bed and mixed the two together. Lastly we put in some themes and some pattering in places we thought were too quiet. Once we had done this everything else flowed so smoothly and I think we now have a much better documentary.
To explain the poem we had an English student, Hollie Ward record a script we wrote for her. The script is in Appendix B. We did not use everything; just some parts we thought were necessary and tied her parts in with the music and Professor Dean. Originally we were going to have stanza’s, 10,11,12,39,40,41 and 91 but when we changed our focus we changed the stanzas too. However our script for Hollie still made sense so we did not have to re-film her. Lastly, we laid the pictures in, making sure for some of them that when there was a sting the picture changed.
We were advised to cut the sunrise out at the beginning as it was not telling a story but as a group we decided to keep it in. It was no longer the beginning of a story but starting our documentary and the poem. It was really beautiful and went with the music amazingly well. I decided that our pictures juxtaposed with the poem and what was scripted for Hollie. Both were about riots, starvation, deportation and feudalism, put against a backdrop of beautiful pictures and music. This is why I thought that the sunrise should stay.
I think that our documentary started to look better as soon as we focused on the music and poem. We understood them both and knew exactly what we wanted to do with it. When we were trying to focus on William Cobbett we were always a little confused and I did not know how to show it though pictures. Our plan was hazy and not very artistic, it was very plain and I do not think it would hold anyone’s attention for five minutes.
Since our focus changed the documentary started to look better and better. I found the locations for filming and think that these locations worked well for both the documentaries we did but they really stand out in our final documentary with The Mask of Anarchy and Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis.