I Find Bliss In Ignorance

I Find Bliss In Ignorance

intro.jpgVergelheo Das Neves
A Verge Creation

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A self reflective piece highlighting the production of ‘I Find Bliss In Ignorance’

The idea of making my own documentary with my own ideas and scripts and my own way of thinking came across as an amazing opportunity to take my journalism and television skills to the next level. This was harder than I ever imagined. This self-reflective report will concentrate on the complications that arose while shooting and organizing the documentary as well as the role of myself in the production. Other areas of interest include how I have related this documentary to that of documentaries watched and analyzed in class while showing how I was able to multi-task within the documentary. In concluding I will mention if it was successful in its initial outcomes or if the documentary came out a little differently to what I expected.

My documentary, ‘I Find Bliss in Ignorance’ was named after a song from Linkin Park called ‘One Step Closer’. The words in the song relate very much to way I wanted to portray my documentary and my visuals. ‘I cannot take this anymore; I’m saying everything iv said before. All these words they make no sense…I find bliss in Ignorance’. The lyrics show how many words even though said out loud and too millions of people, often make no sense at all, and this is the reason why this documentary has been made.

In the beginning before shooting the documentary I was faced with a task of delivering a product that has no ending, no conclusion. My main aim was to allow the viewer to make up their own mind as to how they fit into the broader spectrum. Whether as Lee Lips from Hog Hoggidy Hog mentions- ‘Are you the sheep or the Shepard?’ This turned out to be a very interesting task as in everything there always seems to be a conclusion. I therefore set about to make sure that I had both sides of the story. I interviewed bands who write lyrics for the ‘shit’ of it and singers who write lyrics to try and make a difference in their own special way. Then on the other spectrum I managed to interview big names in the industry who are very ‘clued’ up with regards to listener’s views and got their point of view. At the end of the day, the documentary was broken up into three sections. Artists making a difference with their lyrics, artists just entertaining and an end part where people tell us who is to blame if there is anyone to blame.

My role as a television and journalism student throughout this production has been fairly difficult. Doing this documentary on ones own is a heart-breaking and physical ordeal. The roles that someone else in a ‘group’ documentary would normally fill is now on your shoulders. It is extremely problematic and yet quite exhilarating at the same time. Doing all these roles as well as trying to direct the subject into answering the correct questions was quite a task and a task I thoroughly enjoyed. There were of course some hiccups but there always is. One such hiccup especially dealing with my documentary on the music industry, is dealing with famous artists. I always have to stick to their time and being in grahamstown does not help my cause either. This is why I took the equipment to Johannesburg where I interviewed Ravi Naidoo- Station manager of Highveld Stereo, Jacques Terblanche- famous for his appearance on Idols and Mlu Dlukulu- new 5fm DJ. Interviewing these influential people would not have been possible if was stuck in Grahamstown. This just shows that I love to get out of my comfort zone. It also emphasizes my communication skills. I never knew these people before I asked them for the interview, and although they all have very busy schedules I managed to get them to help me with my project. A lecturer of mine in 2005 mentioned that you have got to know your subject and whom you are dealing with before you phone them up and ask for an interview. This is what I did and my knowledge of the music industry helped a lot in this degree, as I was able to talk to them on the same level. This project has helped me to equip myself with the essential skills needed to go out into the industry and be able to freelance by myself and be able to come out of it with a high quality, professional documentary.

Throughout the year we as a television honours class have watched, analyzed and provided criticism for many short documentaries. With this knowledge from watching these documentaries, I was able to construct my own documentary by following up on some tips. Two documentaries in particular caught my attention. The Sex Pistols was a really well produced project, which highlighted the rise and fall of the group. I especially enjoyed the way it was filmed and how the voices of the artists were heard behind various visuals. I tried to implement this style but unfortunately I came up short as to the way I wanted it to look but I did manage to somehow get a sense of urgency as to what the outcome would be. This then leads me up to the other documentary, which struck me. This was called ‘Capturing the Friedman’s’ a documentary about child molestation in America. The documentary concentrated on one family and was filmed in a way that leads the viewer to believe two different things throughout the project. Was he innocent or was he guilty? and at the end we were left hanging as to the outcome. He went to jail but was he really guilty? I wanted to try and emulate this with my documentary, to try and leave the conclusion up to the viewer. Do you as a consumer like listening to music to be entertained or do you want to hear music, which has a deep message? Maybe you want both.

By being the only member of my documentary team I was able to call all the shots. It was my documentary to make and therefore I wanted to direct something that I am really interested in, something that would help me in the future. That’s where the idea for this documentary came about. I wanted to relate it somehow to music and entertainment, things that I love. Our lecturer Paul Hills explained that these documentaries should bring out our best qualities and interests. For me this has definitely been true. My editing, communication skills and style have come to the foreground as my best attributes and although I have somewhat failed to explain in great depth the ideas of meaningful vs. meaningless lyrics, I have managed to get a clear message across to many viewers. My aim was to try and leave the conclusion up to the viewer and to a certain degree I have done this, by playing on the idea of ‘sheep vs. shepard’

This self-reflective report concentrated on the complications that arose while shooting and organizing the documentary as well as the role of myself in the production. Other areas of interest that I have included is how I related this documentary to that of documentaries watched and analyzed in class while showing how I was able to multi-task within the documentary. In concluding I promised that I would mention what the outcomes of the documentary were. To carry on with continuity and to follow the style of leaving the conclusion up to the viewer, I will let you decide whether you are the sheep or the Shepard.

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