I spent almost two weeks living with the Rickman/Crabtree household. Because of my already intimate relationship with the family it was not hard to integrate and get them to behave naturally in front of the camera. As artists, poets, musicians and filmmakers, they’re extrovert and outgoing characters, much of the footage may perhaps looked staged or theatrical, but this is just the way they are ALL THE TIME.
I have thought a lot now that I have reviewed the footage and have begun the editing process, how do I want to represent them, I know how they truly are, and I have their permission to use any of the footage I have shot - but how I construct it could create two very different images of how they choose too live.
I have begun the piece with Daisy playing a slow classical piano piece, it seems rather melancholy, but as the film continues we begin to see the glimmers of laughter and light among their home and family, and realise that their priorities lie within the ‘Housework of the Heart’ ….
Again the way the audience perceives this piece will vary, as is the case in any documentary- for example after I first saw Ben Rivers ‘Two Years at Sea’ I thought it was masterful, but was disappointed to find out how constructed and staged it had been - still a beautiful piece of work, but less true, to me anyway….
Something else I have tried to include in the work is an element of intertextuality, this is a family whose ‘things’, obsessions, possessions and collections define them as people. Their love for certain artists, musicians and filmmakers litter their home, and so also litter the film. For example a low angled shot from above of Daisy sketching, her silhouette is matching the man ray portrait placed just above her on the wall…
There are some small reoccurring themes/motifs - for example type of shot, panning and tracking… to give an idea of the space and proxemics. But there is also themes that reoccur within the dialogue - for example ‘the red cup’ and a theme of ‘quitting smoking/smoking’ in general. I’ve included these because they’re important parts of their daily lives, while I was staying there anyway!
Sound was really important too, there are certain noises you’re always going to hear when you’re in their home. Firstly, whistling, they all whistle ALL THE TIME, especially Sally, and you can often hear it drifting through the house, but you often can’t see who it is - this is why I’ve included this in a black screen, rather than having an image accompanying it. The second thing you’ll hear is Sally calling out for various people, she has a very distinctive call “You ar’lright Dais” in a very high pitched tone! Thought it was important to include this as you hear it about a million times a day. Also the creaking of the floor boards above you….
All these things together aim to build up an intimate peep hole type of film, giving a spectator a small insight in a short film of how people “off the grid” live and work. And how what works for them, may not work for others necessarily.
The film is a mix of digital DSLR, and DV 8m Tape, I also have some 8mm footage that Daisy shot of her house last summer, but I have not decided if I am going to use it yet or not… I like the mix of DSLR and Dv because the HD footage looks professional and more like a documentary from an outsiders perspective, whereas the DV tape looks more like a home movie.