For our A2 brief we have to film a 5 minute section of a television documentary. we decided to go with the idea of doing a one about Rude Boys which is equivalent to the modern term Street Gang.

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For our A2 brief we have to film a 5 minute section of a television documentary. This genre differs from our AS brief which was to film a 2 minute opening sequence of a thriller film. A thriller film is totally different from a documentary which has different conventions. I feel the A2 brief is a more challenging brief than the AS. This is because we have to plan the whole of the documentary and then choose a section which we want to present and film which gives us a more sense control over the brief whereas the AS brief wanted us to film a specific section. This makes the planning process longer and harder than the AS.


Our brief is to film 5 minutes extract of a television documentary talking about any topic. At first, we watch a range of different types of documentaries during our lessons such as “Nanook of the North” directed by Robin J Flaherty which was a silence documentary concentrating on the starvation of working class people. Another was called “Hoops Dreams” directed by Steve James, Fred Mark and Peter Gilbert which was about high school boys who dreamed of playing in the NBA. This was more of an observational mode documentary. After this, each student was given a title of a specific documentary to research and then present their findings. The documentary I had to research was called Koyaanisqatsi which was a Hopi Indian term for ‘Life out of Balance’. This was an audiovisual essay directed by Godfrey Reggio. This was a documentary with no conventional plot, merely a collection of photographed scenes. The subject matter was highly an environmental theme. The aim of this was to introduce us to the different types of documentaries and understand them better and maybe incorporate them in our different documentaries in order to make them as effect as they possible.


Each student advertised their idea for the brief to the rest of the class with the aim to get into groups of 3 and 4 with similar ideas. After hearing each member in my group ideas about the subject of our documentary, we decided to go with the idea of doing a one about “Rude Boys” which is equivalent to the modern term Street Gang. We chose this simply because we were all interested in it and had a rough idea of what the documentary would be about as a whole. Our aim was to challenge the stereotypical image of “rude boys” because we felt that the audience were only familiar with stereotypical image and knew little about the real meaning of being a ‘rude boy’ and how one eventually becomes part of this culture (street gang).

Before any one could start filming we needed to know what exactly was expected of us. A man named Tom Stanier who directs documentaries and worked for the BBC came and had a conference with us. He talked about the context of documentaries such as camera angles, music/sound, different modes of documentaries, talking heads (these are the people who were seated and were being interviewed). He also gave us advice on framing heads and interview techniques. He also explained the Reccy system which is the process of identifying problems at the filming location and creating solutions for them. The filming location would be inspected, looking for faults that may lessen the quality of our film such as sounds that may interrupt the sound conditions when interviewing and lights that may destroy the visual quality and other objects that may be unnecessary. The Reccy system is also about getting to know the person you are going to interview before setting the cameras on them. This technique is used to help get the interviewee relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera so that we get a clearer and hopefully honest answer or opinion out of them. Tom Stanier also explained a technique used at the filming and interview stage called The Principle of Thirds. This is where the camera person would draw an imaginary nine block grid on the frame, making sure that the interviewee’s or interviewer’s eyes were on the first top line of the frame. This is done to ensure that the talking heads were positioned correctly in the frame.

To help prepare us for the filming stage, we had a day where we practiced filming a short documentary of our choice.  The aim of this exercise was to give us a chance to experiment with different camera angles and interview techniques and also incorporate some of the advice we got from Tom Standier (the speaker from the BBC) such as the Reccy system and the Principle of Thirds. This exercise was very helpful because it gave us an idea of what we should look out for that may lessen the quality of the documentary when filming.

Audience research was the first step we took into finding out what the term “rude boy” really meant. Our target audience were teenage boys from the age 13 to 19 from all ethnic groups living in London. We want them all to identify and recognized the term “rude boy” and then give us a definition to it. Our overall research objective was to find out from our target audience their knowledge about the “rude boy” culture, which in turn gives us knowledge so that we can make the documentary as realistic and convincing as possible. We conducted a qualitative and quantitative research questionnaire which was only be filled out by boys. We asked questions such as:

  • What they define “Rude Boy” as?
  • How they think a “Rude Boy” looks like?
  • What interest and hobbies do they think “Rude Boys” have?
  • Whether they think the “Rude Boy” culture is synonymous or encourages violence and criminality.
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We managed to get a total of 8 boys to fill in the questionnaire and had some interesting feedback from them. We also interviewed three boys from different race, white, black and asian. This feedback was highly important to us because it gave us an idea of what the beginning sequence of our overall documentary would be like. Overall, we found that our audience viewed and defined ‘rude boys’ as:

  • People who intimidates others
  • Steals
  • Wear branded labels such as Nike trainers and often had their hoods on
  • They behave in a gangster manner
  • Listen to hip-hop ...

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