Quick Note on Documentaries:
When raw camera footage is sculpted, edited, and stylized it becomes a documentary—in other words, “the creative treatments of actuality.” The purpose of films, in this particular genre, is to raise awareness of a real issue, an event, or an individual/people. This is because documentaries are usually made by artists and/or even activists who have specific goals in mind. To create these films, it requires grappling through a complex process that is compromised of extensive research, film/editing techniques, and launching a logical, memorable message. And hopefully, in the end these essential elements will unite to form a compelling and cohesive art piece that could circulate, inform and move the hearts of millions of viewers around the globe.
Process of Creating this Short Documentary:
In the fledgling stages of creating “Occupy Movement Update,” our team wrestled with what aspect of the movement to focus on. There were so many different types of angles we could have chosen, but at the end we unanimously agreed that it would be interesting to concentrate on the popular question that mainstream media repeatedly asks Occupy participants, “What are your demands?”. This broad question of demands seemed to branch out in a variety of forms. The current complaints voiced through the media is that Occupy needs to present ONE demand, they have are TOO MANY demands, or they have NO demands. We discussed how problematic these questions/comments proved to be because the very questions/comments are testaments to the domination of traditional power ideology that exists in our society.
Besides the difficulty of choosing a concentrated idea, another challenge was to create a film that covers all the essential bases (few of which I mentioned above). Roles were divided for the lack of time (4 weeks). Tim and Tamara were in charge of gathering the raw video footage on site in Downtown L.A., while Katie and I gathered video footage, photos, and quotes from from Youtube and various other websites. The most difficult challenge was to compound everything to create a lucid, influential, and artistic film. At first, editing the collectively gathered research/material felt like trying to make oil and water intermix. We realized that the quotes, clips and photos were not enough to send a clear message, so we framed the film with reflective questions to guide viewers along the entire ride.
So, with all the complications, intricacies and extensive time put into the making of this film, you may ask why we did it.
Let me explain.
For all four of us, to write a conventional paper on the Occupy Movement—focusing on how we could make each small point which would hide under a tightly, constructed thesis—could have been a natural, comfortable way of approaching this issue. Yet, we took on the challenge of translating it into a documentary because the power of seeing real people’s faces and hearing their real voices—with video footage/still images from the movement—brought a new sort of life into the message. A documentary allowed the non-fiction nature of the story/event to be made more real than maybe what text would allow.
So, I leave you with two questions…
Do you see what I see?
Can you hear us?