Stats, Structure and Seasons
So much has happened we’ve kept a log of our approach so far.
33 days observational filming over the course of 18 months. 62 hours of footage to view and notes made over the course of 2012/13. We’ve also edited trailers, pitched for funding and developed our website and reached out to our audience in between.
We’ve logged the footage which means we know where everything is – every cough, sniff and dog bark! We’ve even transcribed the formal and informal interviews (about 15 hrs in all) so it’s easy to find what we most like. We have one major lever arch file jammed full of notes to refer back to.
Winters in Upper Teesdale can be long and it feels the same in the footage. We’ve chosen to follow the four seasons largely because we want to tell the story of the sheep as well as the family and wider community. It’s hard to go from lambing to shearing if you don’t follow a seasonal order.
We’ve chosen to tell the story from the children’s POV as much as the adults. Our family are at the centre but the wider community are interwoven throughout. The 15 pupils who attend one of the remotest schools in England are key to sharing the child’s POV. We learn from the children as much as the adults which give the film more depth.
The seasonal order, the mix of adult and child’s POV and the story of the sheep makes for a very interconnected edit. Each dependent upon the other.
Mainly observational, small details speaking louder than words. We see the family at home on the farm, at auction sales, the children at school. We also meet people beyond the family, those who come to the farm and those in the wider community – at the annual community show and so forth. Filmed within the North Pennines, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the interdependency of landscape, animals and people are obvious throughout.
The rough cut
From 62 hours we’ve now edited all the daily rushes and gone through a series of scene selections. From a 12 hour timeline of favourites we’ve gone down to 4 hours then built up the themes we want to share into a 2 hour rough assembly. The story begins in winter and ends in the autumn. So far it’s looking and feeling like a film. It’s exciting!