Monday, 17 May 2010

Future Prospects........A look Back

Having taken a step back from this project over the last week I have had a fresh look at what i have learned through this experience.

When I started looking for idea for this project I shortlisted a few possibilities in my mind and began to research them in terms of available material to see if there was an interest in them. These were both re-enactment and heritage crafts. From this I chose heritage crafts because of the wealth of material and current interest available. This was then followed by more intense research into the current state of crafts. This process has been beneficial in furthering researching skills as it has made me look not just at any online resource but official documents from organizations involved with the subject.

But this research has also looked into OFCOM broadcast codes which are industry standards. For a Career in the media industry, to understand these codes is vital but also putting them into practice is vital as well. I now have a grasp of the codes and understand where they are applied, how to find them, and how the little details in them apply.

Another area of improvement is my ability to understand data. Whilst looking into viewing figures I found large quantities of data that had been correlated into graphs and charts. The ability to extract the data needed from these sources has proved vital and will be a useful skill for further employability.

The skills produced from this project will help with future employment.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Update For Legalities

I have recently been looking more in-depth into the legalities for my documentary. In a previous post I put that sections 5 and 7 were both relevant.

Section 7 is still relevant because fairness to representation of individuals and organisations will play a major role. But this is also true in the facts that are used. For example if the documentary uses facts and figures from a secondary source it will require a faire opinion. Not one where you discredit the facts simply because they do not match with what you are saying. Facts must also be represented with an unbiased opinion and given a chance to stand.

Opportunity to contribute and proper consideration of facts
7.9 Before broadcasting a factual programme, including programmes examining
past events, broadcasters should take reasonable care to satisfy themselves that:
• material facts have not been presented, disregarded or omitted in a way
that is unfair to an individual or organisation; and
• anyone whose omission could be unfair to an individual or organisation
has been offered an opportunity to contribute.

Also after looking into section 5 it does seem less relevant because it mainly applies to news. Whilst the documentary may use news it will not fabricate or generate news as a medium. This is why I feel that section 5 is less relevant.

Instead I have found that section 8 of the ofcom broadcasting code is more relevant. This section focuses on privacy and is important. This is because a documentary may look into peoples private life (this is what they consider to be private whether work, leisure, or anthing else for that matter). This must be taken into consideration and respected by the documentary.

8.1 Any infringement of privacy in programmes, or in connection with
obtaining material included in programmes, must be warranted.
8.2 Information which discloses the location of a person’s home or family should
not be revealed without permission, unless it is warranted.
8.3 When people are caught up in events which are covered by the news they still
have a right to privacy in both the making and the broadcast of a programme,
unless it is warranted to infringe it. This applies both to the time when these
events are taking place and to any later programmes that revisit those events.
8.4 Broadcasters should ensure that words, images or actions filmed or recorded
in, or broadcast from, a public place, are not so private that prior consent is
required before broadcast from the individual or organisation concerned,
unless broadcasting without their consent is warranted.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Are traditional crafts a current interest?

Traditional crafts have been part of our culture since the Dark Age’s and before but is it important in today’s society; does society care enough about its heritage?

I believe the answer is yes........or a least progressive yes. Recently there has been a rise in the publicity of certain crafts within British society. a few days ago the BBC published an article about some of the last craftsmen in the country who are fighting to save the trades

also the guardians John Henley has also created a disappearing acts series looking at a select few traditional crafts that are part of Britain’s cultural heritage. This series is on-going and gives a good account of each craft (though if some what short).

Last year the telegraph also published an article on Britain’s last master cooper Alastair Simms. this article explained that when he joined there hundreds of coopers practising their trade across Britain but due to shortage in materials and rise in use of metal barrels that there is only one last master in England. A sad fact when coopering is a trade that dates back to Britain’s roman roots.

What I also want to show is a crafts person known George Lailey. George Lailey was the last professional bowl turner in Britain from an unbroken chain of bowl turners before him spanning to over 4000 years. However George died in 1958 breaking the chain which in turn saw the extinction of bowl turning in Britain. If nothing is done to preserve traditional crafts then we face another generation of George Lailey’s and we stand to lose more than just bowls.

Crafts are becoming more prominent in society and there preservation is first on the list. This is why this subject is important for my documentary. It is a mission to show the people of this country the heritage that they stand to lose and show them that they should be proud of it and continue its practice.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Why BBC2?

Why BBC2?

What makes BBC2 my choice of channel for my documentary?

the reason why is becuase BBC2 describes itself as such:

"We embrace all television genres, but it is our factual programming that has always been integral to the BBC TWO purpose. We aspire to be a place where viewers can expect to find the finest arts, history, science and human interest documentaries, as well as the best-loved formatted leisure programmes anywhere in British television - output that is intelligent and rich in content, yet thoroughly accessible and entertaining." (BBC2 Commissioning)

Their output is factually entartaining which means the programmes draw the veiwer in through the presntation of information but in a manor that is visually pleasing. for example two programmes of which I have been studying, BBC2's Mastercrafts and The Victorian Farm are both true to this format. They both include detailed information, Whether historical, cultural, or industrial, to which they then present with visual imagery and re-enactments to stimulate the viewer. So the information is not lost but translated in a different manner to keep interest.

but I am digressing here. To answer the question of why BBC2 is becuase it is the home of documentary on the BBC Of which is one the most watched channels in Britain. My documentary would be broadcast over the whole country but also on the channel the channel that is best known for documentaries.

Also BBC2 gives me a format to which I can lay the foundations of the documentary. it states in its docmuntary page on it's immersive, presenter led expiriences:

"Experiential and not thesis driven, Louis Theroux, Monty Halls, Kate Humble, Charley Boorman and Bruce Parry all find very different ways of exploring a world that, distant or not, feels relevant to our own lives. Who else can take us on journeys of discovery or lead us into new subjects? Travel has been key to these programmes and we're keen to keep evolving how these programmes work. What's the next distinctive step in travel and exploration? Kate Humble's journey along the ancient Frankincense Trail was a tremendous success and we're particularly interested in more female and more diverse talent to add to the mix." (BBC2 Documentary Commisioning).

It is these reasons why I believe that BBC2 is best suited for my documentary. Or in fact why my documentary is suited for BBC2.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

This week I have been looking at qualative audience research via online forums. This research is look at the popularity of the television programme “Mastercrafts”. From has been said on the digital spy forum “Mastercrafts” has been well received by the public with certain forum members stating:
“Really enjoyed it as well, and learnt quite a few things about wood craft into the bargain. Looking forward to this week's programme.” (mossy2103 16/02/10)

“I'm loving this programme - shame it's half way through the series before I found it!
Blacksmithing this evening - really makes me want to have ago (but I'b need the Fire Service on stand-by) ” (Windy999 26/02/10)

“I'm really enjoying this series. It's so nice to have a show on that isn't dumbed down and treats all the participants with respect. It gives you a real appreciation of the skill and effort involved in these traditional crafts too.” (Lyricalis 26/02/10)

These reactions to the programme show that there is a positive interest in the subject. What also supports this are the BARB reports on the top 30 programmes during week 1, week 2, and week 3 of February. Although the programme slips down from 15th position to 20th by week 3 it does show that it is popular. Now for the negatives of the programme. It has been noted that the soundtrack to “Mastercrafts” has been some what too obvious in how they want to influence the viewer.

“It was good, but would have been far better if it hadn't been turned into some kind of dramatic competition with obligatory blubbing contestant.
There was also the annoying presence of the de-facto irritating background music (aka: "let's tell the viewers what they should be feeling right now").
7/10 - should have been a lot better” (Iggyman 16/02/10)

If I am going to investigate why the craft industry declined and use a soundtrack then I will need to be careful what music is being used and how strongly it will influence the viewer.

Aside from this I have also been compiling a list of online videos that will be useful in my presentation.

This video will be useful for the presentation to get across how crafts are relevant in society and how important they are the species.

the following videos are of craftsmen from stock footage.

Monday, 8 March 2010

After looking into legalities from Ofcom I have two sections that are relevant to my documentary. These are section 5 due impartiality and due accuracy and undue prominence of views and opinions, and section 7 fairness.

Section 5 looks at impartiality in programming and favoring one side over the other which is transferable to the subject of the documentary.

5.12 In dealing with matters of major political and industrial controversy and
major matters relating to current public policy an appropriately wide
range of significant views must be included and given due weight in each
programme or in clearly linked and timely programmes. Views and facts
must not be misrepresented.

If the subject is to look at the decline of traditional crafts in Britain it would be pro crafts and could possibly present mass production and industry in a negative light. Although it is true that industry has played a key role in the decline of crafts it is not solely to blame, it is a means to an end and its presence in the documentary should be fair, balanced and not slated heavily. This is also important where crafts are concerned as crafts should not be over exaggerated in terms of there history e.g. blacksmithing is older than Jesus. Facts and figures involving crafts should be well researched and also be represented fairly and honestly.

Section 7 looks at how to treat individuals and organization fairly for filming purposes.

7.3 Where a person is invited to make a contribution to a programme (except when
the subject matter is trivial or their participation minor) they should
at an appropriate stage:
• be told the nature and purpose of
the programme, what the programme is
about and be given a clear explanation
of why they were asked to contribute
and when (if known) and where it is
likely to be first broadcast;
• be told what kind of contribution they are
expected to make, for example
live, pre-recorded, interview, discussion,
edited, unedited, etc.;
• be informed about the areas of questioning and,
wherever possible,
the nature of other likely contributions;
• be made
aware of any significant changes to the programme as it develops
which might
reasonably affect their original consent to participate, and
which might
cause material unfairness;
• be told the nature of their contractual rights
and obligations and those of
the programme maker and broadcaster in relation
to their contribution; and
• be given clear information, if offered an
opportunity to preview the
programme, about whether they will be able to
effect any changes to it.

This section will be relevant to treatment of contributors. Informing them of what the documentary whishes to achieve will help them give the correct information but will mean they have an understanding of what they are contributing towards (in case they have any reasons against speaking for the subject). Giving contributor information on the type of contribution will also give them time to prepare material suitable for that particular method e.g. doing a live interview when the contributor planned for an edited one. Also informing them of changes to the documentary is advisable because the change made could how the contributor’s works appear.

These points should be strictly followed to during filming but also included into the pre-production paperwork so that time has been allowed for these measures to take place.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Refined Subject and Audience Research

This is an update for the idea of my documentary. Recently BBC2 has aired a new series known as “Mastercrafts” which has similarities with my documentary idea.

The programme (Mastercrafts) itself focuses on a master craftsperson teaching 3 hopefuls the basic of there given craft over a period of 6 weeks. At the end of these 6 weeks the 3 hopefuls will create a final piece using the skills they have learned and have there piece judged by the master craftsperson. This examination will divulge whether the hopefuls have the skills to further there work or become apprentices in that craft. This is also dispersed with a history of that particular craft and how it has shaped our heritage.

The programme is in keeping with my idea of looking at how traditional crafts have shaped our cultural heritage, so following the programs ratings will give an insight to how popular this subject with the public. Currently I have found that the first episode of Mastercrafts (focusing on green wood work) achieved 2.7 million viewing figures (11.1%). Though I cannot accurately tell if this is significant amount compared to other programs it is a sign that there is interest in this particular subject (or at least for the first episode).

I also looked at online forums to find out individuals opinions about the content. The two I used was the digital spy forum and the facebook group. The digital spy forum is good because it is a forum devoted to television programming and content which offers a valid opinion. The facebook group is valid because it shows both the numbers of people involved and can offer positive feedback. This positive feedback shows areas that I will have to consider that people may want to see?

Another program for me to inspect would be the Victorian farm. This program was one of BBC 2’s most popular shows during 2009 and again encompasses hints of my subject in their content. However what may be more useful that online feedback about other programmes is first hand public research. This should be looking at what the public already understand about traditional crafts to see what else would be useful to cover in the subject, what are there favourite documentaries to see if there is a common theme to follow.


I have now narrowed down my idea:

The subject is looking at the traditional crafts within modern day British society and investigating what is being done to preserve them for future generations and craftspeople. This also looks at what has happened to crafts that are endangered or extinct and the effect this has had on the craft industry in Britain.

The subject is also an investigation into the British craft industry and wants to touch on what makes British craft different from any other craft in the world (essentially what makes British craft British). This is to show how crafts are apart of this countries cultural heritage and how important they have been in its history and will be in its future.

From this the documentary looks at the modern organizations that are working to preserve Britain’s traditional crafts and looking at what needs doing to ensure there survival. This area will also look at a selection of endangered crafts/craftspeople in Britain; to further understand there current situation and what can be done to help.