“Write about your Process!”
by Reina-Marie Loader
It has been suggested to me recently that I accompany the development and production of HORN with a series of related posts on the Cinéma Humain website. The reasoning behind the suggestion was that it could provide useful scholarly information for students and filmmakers of documentary. First hand posts, it was argued, will not only document how I am making the film, but it will also constructively address the various difficulties a young independent filmmaker may face when dealing with a highly controversial and often inaccessible topic.
I have carefully considered this suggestion over the last couple of weeks, since there are various pros and cons attached to writing about the production of a film in such a context.
As a filmmaker, my initial reservations were that it may give the film away prematurely, thereby making it less interesting for audiences upon completion. Secondly, I was concerned that writing about my process on an organisation’s blog that is run primarily by myself may appear self-promoting when that is not the intention. A final reservation about posting thoughts on my experience and process was that given the delicate subject matter of HORN it may compromise the production of the film itself.
As a researcher through practice however my reaction to the suggestion was primarily positive since it would force me to engage with my own decision-making process in a way that could reveal interesting dimensions about independent documentary filmmaking. Especially, since it may lead to insights that I am personally not directly conscious of. Moreover, it will allow me to form and communicate my own attitude towards the issue of rhino poaching across media platforms – an aspect of documentary filmmaking that is becoming increasingly interesting to me from an academic and practical perspective. HORN the film is notably part of a larger transmedia project that I will create over a prolonged period of time. I will do so by developing various interactive and informative methods of creating awareness about the rhino issue. HORN the project (as opposed to HORN the film) is therefore an extended documentary experiment, which I am currently calling a ‘living documentary’.
As time goes by, I will progressively write about this experimental dimension of what I am trying to achieve with the overarching project. In next month’s blog, which will be the first of the series on process, I will start with one of the most frustrating issues I am facing in the development of the 90-minute film – namely the notion of ACCESS.