Week 5 - Finding Documentary Ideas

Across the past two weeks, we have been preparing for our final documentary film. In the first week, I started thinking about potential documentary subjects, and quickly developed some initial ideas. Some of these ideas involved contacting local businesses in Aberystwyth’s high streets about the decline of the high street, however a problem with this idea is that Aber’s high street is actually thriving, despite what some locals and the press say. Another idea revolved around Penglais Nature Reserve, however I realised that its main attraction – the bluebells of spring – would only be applicable later in the academic year. The idea that I put forward eventually was about a motorcycle accessories shop on the seafront that is also a diner. This idea is the one I eventually decided on, as its location on the seafront allows for a spectacle on screen (with the right cinematography!), alongside the unusual quirkiness of merging a diner with a motorcycle shop. So far, we have allocated roles (I am producer) and we have started preparing pre-production documents, such as interview questions, research, location release forms, a pitch and a treatment. As producer, I was responsible for contacting the shop, and after drafting an email, I didn’t receive a response. This was extremely daunting for me as I have not worked as a producer before, and it was my responsibility to go into the shop and ask in person. Luckily, after some quick discussions with the staff, I was encouraged to send a message to the business’ Facebook page, and we secured permissions to film inside the shop and to interview the staff. One thing that helped with pitching my idea to the staff was the opportunity to give them drone footage in return – something that we will investigate further as we start to look into producing shot lists and other written materials for our film.


Man with a Movie Camera (1929) Directed by Dziga Vertov [Online]. Available at: https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand/index.php/prog/001EF144?bcast=11555897 (Accessed: 13 November 2021).

The Arbor (2010) Directed by Clio Barnard [Online]. Available at: https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand/index.php/prog/023192DA?bcast=75704510 (Accessed: 13 November 2021).



Knowles, K. (2021) ‘Micro-lecture 5: Reflexive and performative documentary’. FM26520 Creative Documentary [Online]. Available at: https://aberystwyth.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=e0cc62e8-5c0f-47eb-9429-add200dfbb71&start=0 (Accessed: 12 November 2021).

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