If you wanted my opinion on what I thought was the most rewarding media making pursuit, I'd have to single out documentary filmmaking. All media making can be very demanding, and each genre has its own particular issues that make it what it is, but almost nothing is certain about documentary which is why I find it so exciting. The idea could be inspirational, but the shoot might be flawed and not yield the required depth. Perhaps the idea and the shoot go brilliantly, but in the edit the real story gets lost. The latter suggestion contains the key ingredient - story. All media making is reliant on a good story, and knowing what makes a good story is something all teachers are keen to convey.
I have many duties and perhaps my favourite is delivering lectures to approximately 80 third year students who have chosen my taught unit on Documentary Filmmaking. Everybody who takes the unit has had some experience in making media. Some have produced short news pieces, and some have been involved in live TV programme delivery, but documentary is such a different animal that I think it essential students get the opportunity to create stories in a completely different way. Documentary methods vary greatly, which in itself is very difficult to get to grips with, and the medium also offers the ability to find a different story within the rushes, something that is both scary and exciting at the same time.
This year has seen some very good work produced, but there is one film made on the Mary Rose that really does deserve to be singled out and mentioned for a number of reasons, one of them being that for a good while it was top secret, with nobody from the university able to talk about it due to a non-disclosure agreement.
Before the story of this documentary can be told it is essential to list some important historical plot points.
1545 - The Mary Rose Tudor warship sinks in the Solent
1971 - The Mary Rose is rediscovered
1982 - The Mary Rose is raised and conservation of the hull begins
2013 - A brand new museum opens in Portsmouth Dockyard in preparation with the ship as a centrepiece, still undergoing conservation
2015 - The museum closes to deconstruct the conservation apparatus around the ship
2016 - Three University of Portsmouth students secure the opportunity to film and record behind the scenes events that will show some of the planning, tension and drama behind the 'big reveal' of the ship planned for the re-opening of the Mary Rose Museum on July 19th 2016.