Did I ruin a good opportunity?

Did I ruin a good opportunity?

On the 18th May 2017 I filmed interviews of delegates and representatives for the Poole Maritime Conference. These esteemed guests were key figures in maritime affairs and hosted keynote speeches prior to the interviews. European Maritime Festival itself is the third largest conference in Europe and was the first time to ever come to the UK so was such a privilege to have the chance to be involved with filming the interviews.

Weirdly, it was still only Thomas Nicholas and I that put ourselves forward for this experience. It was advertised many times at Bournemouth University but I got a call back saying we were the only ones.

The event was good, but it could have been better. And that is where my concern over ruining any business relationships stems from. Thomas and I arrived early to the event, and we brought all the right kit for the day. But setting up for the first two interviews is where the trouble began. When I had a meeting the day before to discuss the procedure for the interviews, I was under the impression that they would be conducted in a separate room to get the best quality out of the videos. Moreover, that guests of the events would be in the workshops while the interviews are conducted – thus insuring a quite building to film in. This was not the case, however, and throughout the entire day of interviewing, the background noise was prevalent.

But the real problem comes from my attitude towards the interviewer, and ultimately, our boss for the day. We had disagreements about how the interviews should be conducted and how the shot should look. Firstly, I had to set up shooting the interviewees against a wall. A bland, uninspiring, flat wall. I was not impressed with the composition of the shot. We could do so much better! Thomas and I were brought on to film these because we are media practitioners. We’re filmmakers who knows whats best for a shot to look nice.

The second grievance was with the way the interviews were conducted. When we were briefed earlier, the interviews were to last around five minutes. The interviewer could barely keep them for one. Asking robotically the same three questions with no followup questions or interest to what they say. After the second interview were were to break for lunch. That’s when I said something. I had a conversation with the interviewer on how to conduct interviews and get the best responses from the delegates. I was saying how you should ask around the questions and pick up on what they say and develop from that. She was too concerned with thinking how the edit would be, but you don’t think of the edit before the interview. Thomas and I could edit something wonderful if you let us do what we were brought here to do. Additionally, the more of an interview we could film, the better the edit could be for we would be able to cherry-pick the best bits rather than (what was originally wanted) all six interviews with the same questions and responses played in succession. Things got heated. There was miscommunication between the briefs and what she envisioned. And yes, I got flustered. The interviewer agreed to change the way the questions were asked and I cooled down over the lunch break.

When I had calmed, I said “right, lets change up this shot and make it look nicer than just a wall”. So I completely flipped the cameras around a shot down this wonderful corridor. Here we had depth! It was an interesting backdrop to look at – there were people walking in the background visiting the conference, I had set the aperture just right to get the lines of ceiling lights to blur into tiny circles of bokeh, and I had set up a side light to help boost the definition on the interviewee. It was a much nicer shot now, and the interviewer returned and agreed.

Improved shot for Maritime Conference Interview

I felt tremendously guilty for how I had acted, but now things were in order the day got better. The new interviewing technique worked wonders and we got some amazing emotional responses from the delegates.

In retrospect I shouldn’t have acted so rudely and let my emotions take control. This was a rare opportunity to work with these people and learn what the delegates had to say, and I should have remained grateful for having the opportunity to film and have access at the event. Only when packing up, did I find out the interviewer had worked ten years in the BBC. You never know who you are talking to, and what opportunities there may be. My behaviour may have cost me a working relationship with someone with a decade worth of experience in television.

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