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Mr. Motivator

Yes it's Richard Jobson our inspirational host 4 the afternoon yesterday ... On our one week back to school 'discover digital' course ... More input in one week than three years at Edinburgh! 3 features in 3 years we'd follow him into the digital valley ... Ahoy ... Ahoy

East Tilbury - afraid of the future?
Photo: Nina Pope

Reminiscence Centre

When I give talks about our work people often ask if we keep in touch with people who are involved with our projects. Obviously this isn't always possible (or even desirable!) but in the main we do - in fact a large percentage of our 'audience' are people who we see as 'staying with Somewhere'.

This week I went out to East Tilbury for the Bata Resource and Reminiscence Centre open day. It's now almost 2 years since I first made this journey out along the Thames and I never get tired of it, it's a fascinating stretch of landscape and places. I wondered if I would be able to see any changes in East Tilbury since last year when we were filming the closing sequence for Bata-ville. As soon as I came out of the train station I saw this sign - it seems since we made the film the 'regeneration' of the town has crept closer as a real possibility and at least some of East Tilbury's inhabitants are becoming afraid of the future.

Once inside the BR&RC it seemed Fred (the centre's ever-energetic founder) was also thinking of the future ... A new visitor to the centre (who'd also travelled in to see the town & centre from London) brought with him an astounding album of 30s & 40s B&W postcards of Bata factories and towns from all around the world. Both of us were rather taken aback by the depth of the collection, as between us we've spent some hours combing ebay and alike for similar items. Unabashed in front of our new friend, Fred politely but seriously suggested that he might like to leave the collection to the centre in his will!

The sadness of editing

Nina & I have been esconced in one of our favourite conceptual and actual places recently- the video edit suite. We’re wrestling some footage of us re-enacting (for the 3rd year in a row) into submission for our project Sometime Later, with our editor of saintly patience, Doug. Luckily (for him) I am not able to be there every day, and so the stereo headphone-effect of Pope & Guthrie has a few days off. Interestingly, Nina and I seem to find it easier to agree in the writing and production stages of a film project than in the post-production. This first emerged when we split the editing of our 29 pilgrims in our ‘/broadcast/ project – two very different styles emerged, one lengthy and eliptical, one pithier and led by juxtaposition and unexpected humour. Interestingly I can’t remember whose was whose.
More interestingly, this tension - coupled with Doug’s comparitive ruthlessness (he’s from a TV background) – seems to produce results. It’s undoubtedly not the most time-efficient way of working - with its negotiation, occasional blind alleys and indulgences – and yet the work seems to thrive on this elasticity, to find its resting point.
Editing documentary footage – for me - is akin to sculpture, maybe carving in fact. It’s very intuitive, even for professionals like Doug it seems, although we can all rationalise why shots work the moment they do. With every cut there’s a poignancy as you lose unique moments, but then there’s a clarity emerging which is truthful I hope. I can’t imagine editing drama can be anything like as cathartic, where you have so few choices, driven by both the narrative and the available shots. But then I guess the ‘infinity element’ is there in the writing of drama and fiction, not in the edit. The opposite is true of the documentary.