Blog – duckrabbit https://www.duckrabbit.info digital film production and training Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:18:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.1 73690698 Come and learn to make mini-documentaries with us… https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/09/come-learn-make-mini-documentaries-us/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/09/come-learn-make-mini-documentaries-us/#respond Mon, 19 Sep 2016 13:36:55 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39381 Our two-day mini-documentary production workshop is back, on the 10th and 11th November, in central London.  Over two days, we’ll transport you to the heart of a film set.  We’ll give you the chance to watch and work alongside film-makers on a specially created set. From brief to wrap party we’ll take you through the...

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Our two-day mini-documentary production workshop is back, on the 10th and 11th November, in central London.  Over two days, we’ll transport you to the heart of a film set.  We’ll give you the chance to watch and work alongside film-makers on a specially created set.

From brief to wrap party we’ll take you through the pleasure and pain of designing and delivering high quality short documentary films to even the most demanding of clients.

For more info, or to book, click here…

A big thanks for putting on such an excellent course.. A perfect combination of theory, practice, discussion and humour. I’m looking forward to putting all these new skills into practice. Richard Wainwright – Photographer

‘What an amazing weekend that was, thanks for teaching us so much. I feel like I have a head full of ideas now that need to be put into practice! Matt Saywell, Video producer, British Medical Association

Thanks very much for a really good weekend, great teaching and lots to think about.  Fascinating workshop and highly recommended.  Lucille Flood Comic Relief

Thank you for such an interesting workshop. I genuinely loved it. Phil Le Gal, Documentary Photographer

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The RIBs are awesome… https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/09/the-ribs-are-awesome/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/09/the-ribs-are-awesome/#respond Wed, 14 Sep 2016 10:24:09 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39373 Our latest film for the Born to Engineer campaign.  Big thanks to Lewis and the team at Island RIBs, the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights. Wonder if they’ll let us have one of these to travel between London and Birmingham on the Grand Union canal?

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Our latest film for the Born to Engineer campaign.  Big thanks to Lewis and the team at Island RIBs, the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights.

Wonder if they’ll let us have one of these to travel between London and Birmingham on the Grand Union canal?

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Pines and pleasure https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/09/pines-and-pleasure/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/09/pines-and-pleasure/#respond Fri, 09 Sep 2016 16:13:15 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39363   I did some work for The Woodland Trust recently. A lovely couple of days in the north of England to photograph some of their woodlands. Smithills Estate near Bolton made a big impression on me. Located on the outskirts of Bolton, the mixed woodland thrives in several glens leading up onto the high moors...

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Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

I did some work for The Woodland Trust recently. A lovely couple of days in the north of England to photograph some of their woodlands. Smithills Estate near Bolton made a big impression on me. Located on the outskirts of Bolton, the mixed woodland thrives in several glens leading up onto the high moors beyond.

But it’s the proximity to Bolton, a hard-working industrial town, and Manchester beyond, that really struck me. From high up on the moors, looking over the rich tapestry of woodland, the sprawling skyline of Manchester dominated. In the middle distance the remains of Bolton’s industrial roots are visible, tall chimneys thrusting skywards and old mill buildings converted to luxury residences.

 

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

I’m not sure if anyone else has the same experience as me, but every time I point a large lens at a tree, a passerby asks “…what are you photographing?” and then looks at me in disbelief when I answer “…trees, I’m photographing trees!” 

When  I was with a group in the USA it became rather unnerving to be asked numerous times when spotted with a large lens pointed into a thicket: “Is it a moose? Is it a bear? Is it a wolf?” and to have a snort of disbelief in response to my explanation “..no just photographing the trees”. (I’ve written about this here.)

Unfortunately there are no wolves or bears in Smithills Wood, but its still pretty impressive. I had fleeting glimpses of roe deer, saw fox scat, and ravens wheeled overhead at dusk and dawn.But I still had to explain to many walkers what I was pointing my lens at: “Yes’ ‘just’ trees!”

Despite its proximity to several major towns and  being well used by the local community, the woodland retains a real sense of ‘wild’. Going off the path and into the narrow glens where the river runs revealed gloriously lush vegetation, moss and ferns thriving. The windrush in the leaves, and the tinkle of the stream drowning out any other sounds. It felt remote and wonderful. Occasionally a passing jet from Manchester Airport reminded me of the real world, but standing with my feet buried in the moss and watching foam swirl in the peaty black water soon distracted me.

Smithills Estate has a rich history of local use. In 1896 Colonel Richard Ainsworth, the owner, closed Smithills Moor to enable grouse shooting. But the people of Bolton were furious. Generations of Bolton residents had enjoyed the freedom to roam up the glen and onto the moor, and with the assistance of local journalist Solomon Partington, a mass trespass was organized. Ten thousand Bolton residents marched up Smithills Dean Road and onto Coal Pit Road to demand the moor remain publicly accessible, but it was forty years before the moorland was reopened fully to the public.

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

The Woodland Trust will celebrate this historic movement over the next few months, working with local schools to design artwork, and explore the woodland and its rich social and natural history.

In my few days at Smithills I met a rich miscellany of dog walkers, ramblers, birdwatchers, cyclists, joggers, wild campers, mums and toddlers, dads and sons, whole families, horse-riders, and many others, each reveling in the experience of being in this surprisingly wild place. And all of them were smiling.

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

Woodlands matter. And woodlands near cities matter even more. If you have one near you, cherish it, look after it and use it. And if you’re able to, support The Woodland Trust, to enable them to maintain such woodlands for others.

Here’s a few images from the shoot. If you’re near Bolton I can heartily recommend a walk in these surprisingly wild woods.

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

 

Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson
Smithills Estate Woods, Woodland Trust property, near Bolton. England. @John MacPherson

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Crossover: probably the best web doc (multimedia) festival in the world https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/08/39284/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/08/39284/#respond Thu, 25 Aug 2016 23:14:26 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39284 I’m sat in the audience during a session on NGO’s which goes something like this: us, them, us, them, storytelling, budgets, tangent … and then it all kicks off. In the comforting gloom of the auditorium lurks Søren Pagter, a guy responsible for probably the best undergraduate photojournalism course in the world.  He’s got a...

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I’m sat in the audience during a session on NGO’s which goes something like this: us, them, us, them, storytelling, budgets, tangent … and then it all kicks off.

In the comforting gloom of the auditorium lurks Søren Pagter, a guy responsible for probably the best undergraduate photojournalism course in the world.  He’s got a great rant under his bonnet and it’s about to blow.

“I am not responsible for the economics of the photojournalism world. I am not. I am NOT. AM NOT. NOT NOT NOT. NOT. Economics. Me. No.”

Which are. As he points out. If you hadn’t noticed. Fucked (the economics of photojournalism, not Søren who is awesome).

I’m not sure he was ever charged with the crime he defended himself against but he certainly seems to feel a target. The electricity that lit his larva lamp is Danish photog and panellist Johnny Frederikson.  Johnny the guy at every festival who always has a camera and smile to hand. He re-aims:

“You run the most successful photojournalism course in the world, which is preparing students for jobs on newspapers that no longer exist. They will have to leave this country to find work. Right?”

I don’t know what this has got to do with NGO’s, but he’s got a point. Four years on a photography course preparing you to do a job that is what?

Welcome to Crossover Web Documentary Festival, where at least the idea of making a living as a visual journalist is on the table.

It’s a special place. I can’t tell you how many people at the end of the three days told me they hope you don’t find out about it and gatecrash next year.

A lovely bunch of people gathered in Denmark, interested in the idea that there is life after photography, after the four year degree, after the numbing career,  the newsroom euthanasia, after the wedding shoots, after the dream has died.

That somehow online film: where documentary, photography, storytelling, VR, music, soul, journalism, eye of newt, toe of frog and Bombay Flying Club, all come together and can offer possibilities so far beyond the notion that something (visual journalism/storytelling) has died we honestly can’t believe such a clapped out cliche existed.

There will be screenings, debate, eating, laughing, workshops and superb installations. There will be people who you’ve always wanted to meet. They will talk to you and be interested in what you have to say. There will be no hero worship. This is not an ego ponzi scheme. There will be no tossers. There will be no endless speeches. No posturing. And because we are in Denmark everything will be better than expected, apart from the food bill, which will be more shocking then the flies in your eyes journalism at Perpignan.

There will be moments of gentleness and kindness and I’m lucky to be here and belonging. This revolution for photography festival types will not be televised. You will have to be here (next year).

And oh yeah some lucky bastard will win an obscene amount of money for what the judges subjectively agree is the best online mini-doc of the year.

But we’re not going to let that spoil things because next year you will be here. Next year you will be inspired. And the year after you’re going to win. Maybe. Someone has to after-all.

(If you want to learn how we made the winning film book on our  training in November and finally a massive thanks to Henrik and Eva for organising the festival. You did a great job.)

duck3222

 

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Wind, rain & pain https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/08/wind-rain-pain/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/08/wind-rain-pain/#comments Mon, 15 Aug 2016 17:31:17 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39185 The Scottish Highlands are surprisingly big. And also, in very many ways, rather small.  I had this underlined for me last week as I undertook yet another bimble around in my ancient Land Rover with my son William (now aged 8). Despite the remoteness of much of the Highlands, its ‘corridors of passage’ throw people...

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The Scottish Highlands are surprisingly big. And also, in very many ways, rather small.  I had this underlined for me last week as I undertook yet another bimble around in my ancient Land Rover with my son William (now aged 8). Despite the remoteness of much of the Highlands, its ‘corridors of passage’ throw people together. Roads, walking paths, river valleys, cycle trails, and so on. Anywhere that people may traverse or are drawn to witness something, encounters of some sort or other will occur.

 

A sheep skull on a bench, Sutherland © John MacPherson
A sheep skull on a bench, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

 

Our little Land Rover convoy heads north © John MacPherson
Our little Land Rover convoy heads north © John MacPherson

 

This post may give you a flavour of our four days of surprise interactions. It’s quite long, contains a lot of words, so if all you want is a look at the scenery, ignore the waffleprose and simply enjoy the pictures!

We’d arranged to meet up with relatives, and friends of theirs from Texas, who had hired two Land Rovers complete with roof tents, and filled to the ceilings with all manner of other equipment to enable the two couples and their children to be self-sufficient for a week as they explored the Highlands, and to then head over to the Western Isles. The Texans had flown straight into Edinburgh, and jumped into the Land Rover still suffering jet-lag. Unfortunately, Scotland was winding itself up for a storm.

We met up late Sunday afternoon on the road west towards Kyle of Lochalsh. The rain was pelting down, it was cold, and the wind was steadily rising. The group explained where they intended stopping for the night, on Loch Torridon a stunning sea loch just north of Kyle.

“I’d not if I were you” I suggested “…it’s very exposed to the south-westerly gale that’s forecast to wind itself up overnight, before supposedly swinging round to the north-west in the small hours of tomorrow. The Met Office have issued a severe weather warning. You’ll get a trashing, trust me, there’s 60mph gusts forecast, it will not be fun.”. They digested this and then asked what I suggested as an alternative. “We can go up the glen to Achnashellach, then Achnasheen and over to Loch Maree, there’s a sheltered area on the lochside that will be reasonably protected from the wind, although it will still be windy but we should escape the worst of it.” It sounded like a sensible plan to them, so off we went.

 

Eilean Donan castle, Loch Duich © John MacPherson
Eilean Donan castle, Loch Duich © John MacPherson

 

A brief break shortly before Eilean Donan Castle provided our first ‘intimate’ moment as the Texans, still not tuned into the the driving-on-the-other-side-of-the-road thing, almost rear-ended the other Land Rover, creating a right old kerfuffle on the road, sufficiently dramatic to bring the woman owner of an adjacent building out to remark how skilfully the Texan’s swerve had been executed and how impressed she was. Sweat poured off everyone’s brows. The car driver who had been right behind the two Land Rovers, apparently also had to swerve sharply, then shot past them relieved to be free of these maniacs, only to roar round the corner and find me on the wrong side of the road executing a u-turn in order to go back and see where my two companion vehicles had gone. At least his brakes worked ok.

Eilean Donan Castle however, was suitably surreal. An endless stream of tourists, cameras clutched tightly, confronted the baronial splendour with a mixture of awe and disbelief . However a plethora of ‘Photography Forbidden’ signs and keen-eyed staff frustrated their creative efforts, as they wandered around in the over-warm interior, panting in their rain gear. Everyone looked utterly bemused, lines of people going in all directions, whilst amongst them various small children, separated from their parents, dashed about in various states of distress or joy. Great fun!

 

The skeleton in the closet, Eilean Donan castle © John MacPherson
The skeleton in the closet, Eilean Donan castle © John MacPherson

 

The castle's plumbing on the back wall, Eilean Donan castle © John MacPherson
The castle’s plumbing on the back wall, Eilean Donan castle © John MacPherson

 

We reached Loch Maree. The gale was now in full roar. Trees were down, more trees were trying to come down, but we looked on the bright side, at least the midges were being kept away (they hate breezes). On the other side of the loch a huge waterfall thundered over the cliff and was swept vertical in the howling gale, to explode into spray that slow-motioned off into murky grey nothingness.

Our second drama occurred fairly quickly, as the tents were being erected. My relative John approached looking vexed: “You don’t have a metal coathanger in your Land Rover by any chance?”  I lifted the floor mat and produced one, asking “What’s the problem?”

John replied with surprise “Why have you got a coathanger under the mat?”

I smiled “So that when people ask for one I can give them it! Why do you need it?”

“Bloody Land Rover has just auto-locked itself, with the key inside in the ignition, and all the food! And the beer! And the cooking kit and matches!” John was into the vehicle in less than 30 seconds, with the deft use of the wire and a wooden spoon. I wont (for obvious reasons) explain how the sophisticated electronic immobilization system of the Land Rover was defeated, but it was a piece of artistry to witness. The wind howled, the rain fell, we ate, drunk and then we slept.

 

Light spills across Slioch, Loch Maree © John MacPherson
Light spills across Slioch, Loch Maree © John MacPherson

 

 

Light spills across Slioch, Loch Maree © John MacPherson
Light spills across Slioch, Loch Maree © John MacPherson

 

Dawn arrived, the wind had swung round and diminished somewhat, and so we were even more sheltered. But the midges descended. The Texans realized shorts were  a bad idea, and the midge hoods I’d suggested they all obtain were quickly put on. To balance this, in front of us, Loch Maree put on a splendid spectacle as the dawn light spilled across Letterewe and danced gloriously around the imposing bulk of Slioch. If a child was asked to draw a mountain, they’d draw Slioch. It was magnificent.

The plan was to head for Ullapool, where the two Land Rovers would catch the ferry for the Western Isles and William and I would head on north to meet up with friends in a remote cottage near Durness.

All went to plan.

Well almost.

 

Cruise liner in Loch Broom, Ullapool © John MacPherson
Cruise liner in Loch Broom, Ullapool © John MacPherson

 

Back street charm, Ullapool © John MacPherson
Back street charm, Ullapool © John MacPherson

 

I’ll spare the culprit the embarrassment, but with only an hour to go until ferry departure at 5pm a ‘situation’ unfolded which required a lot of running about, phone calls to knowledgeable people, me towing a dead Land Rover to the nearest garage, some remarkably skilled remedial work, and a great blether with the garage owner whose knowledge of US politics and the state of the Trump/Clinton tussle was extensive. It was also time-consuming. In fact so much time was eaten that the ferry left without them. The next ferry was 3am. Crisis mostly over I left the group deciding what to do, and headed north.

 

 

Red deer hinds on a ridge north of Ullapool © John MacPherson
Red deer hinds on a ridge north of Ullapool © John MacPherson

 

The road to Achiltibuie © John MacPherson
The road to Achiltibuie © John MacPherson

William and I stopped for the evening near a loch north of Ullapool, breezy and midge free. It was glorious. William thought it was sort-of ‘Lord-of-The-Ringsy’ and he was pretty accurate. The horizon line of impossibly steep peaks rose from the bog on the east side to touch the sky, before plunging sharply towards the west into the loch. The eerie sound of Red-throated divers echoed around us, their calls part celebration, part lament, but always evocative.

 

Evening light on the Coigach hills near Achiltibuie © John MacPherson
Evening light on the Coigach hills near Achiltibuie © John MacPherson

 

Evening light on the Coigach hills near Achiltibuie © John MacPherson
Evening light on the Coigach hills near Achiltibuie © John MacPherson

 

Sheep fank, Inverpolly © John MacPherson
Sheep fank, Inverpolly © John MacPherson

 

Next day we intended an easy amble along the coast to Lochinver, then on north-west for a picnic lunch at Stoer Point, a splendid spit of land that dominates the coast with a lighthouse perched on top.

William wanted to play in the children’s play area in Lochinver, so we pulled over. As I shoved him on a swing I told him about how I’d been there with my parents in the 60’s when I was his age, in this very play park, and that it was closed on Sundays for religious reasons so we couldn’t actually play in it. I was so angry I stole the large lump of lead that was tied to a wire that made the gate auto-close and took it home with me to make fishing weights. The subversive bit was that minus the weight of the lead, the gate swung open, inviting all to enter despite the forbidding sign. William appreciated this, and remarked that play is good for you. A man walked past, and called over “I like your old Land Rover. But for some reason that number plate is familiar!” I grinned  “Plate used to be on an old Renault belonging to Carmichael the vet in Fort William, and I got it transferred  after he scrapped it because I wanted a local registration!” And then of course we had ‘the conversation’ which revealed he was also from Fort William, and was related to a school friend of mine as well as several other Fort William worthies of my acquaintance.

 

William enjoys the (open) children's play area in Lochinver © John MacPherson
William enjoys the (open) children’s play area in Lochinver © John MacPherson

 

Scottish Water access cover in children's play area, Lochinver © John MacPherson
Scottish Water access cover in children’s play area, Lochinver © John MacPherson

 

We parted, William was getting hungry, and Stoer beckoned, so we drove on to Clachtoll where I stopped to take a few photos of the mobile library.

A car pulled up and a man clutching a book got out, walked to the library and peered in the closed door. “Ach there’s nobody in” he muttered.

“Try that house there, the driver will probably be in there drinking tea I expect. I know I would be if I was doing that job!” I suggested. Off he went behind the van, the doorbell rang and he reappeared with the librarian and his teamaker, both wiping their mouths (I think there may have been cake involved too). Good deed done we nipped on out to Stoer.

 

The mobile library is closed, Clachtoll © John MacPherson
The mobile library is closed, Clachtoll © John MacPherson

 

The mobile library is open, Clachtoll © John MacPherson
The mobile library is open, Clachtoll © John MacPherson

 

Dykes beside the road to Stoer © John MacPherson
Dykes beside the road to Stoer © John MacPherson

 

Dykes beside the road to Stoer © John MacPherson
Dykes beside the road to Stoer © John MacPherson

 

The picnic was simple, a sandwich on the clifftop, with a splendid view of the ocean. “Take care on the damp grass” I warned William “It’s really easy to slip on these grassy slopes when its damp like this” as another shower passed through. Behind it a larger blacker-looking cloud loomed, heading our way. “I’m just climbing down to have a look in this burbling stream to photograph the bubbles.” I said.

 

Stoer Lighthouse © John MacPherson
Stoer Lighthouse © John MacPherson

 

 

The fallen cross, Stoer Point © John MacPherson
The fallen cross, Stoer Point © John MacPherson

 

William eats his lunch on the emergency blanket which is just about to get some serious use, Stoer Point © John MacPherson
William eats his lunch on the emergency blanket which is just about to get some serious use, Stoer Point © John MacPherson

 

 

Bubbles in a small burn running off Stoer Point, Sutherland © John MacPherson
Bubbles in a small burn running off Stoer Point, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

As we walked back to the Land Rover I overheard a lady talking to a foreign-sounding fellow who seemed very anxious “I’ll see if I can get a signal up at the lighthouse, mobile phone reception is rubbish here, but it’ll take more than half and hour to get a helicopter here, is it a sprain or a break?”  He replied “I don’t know, break I think” And the woman ran off up the hill leaving him with his thoughts.

“Have you a problem?” I asked “Can I help?” 

“We are Dutch on holiday, my wife has fallen up on the cliff, she’s lying up there, her leg is bad!”

I introduced myself, and asked if they had any safety equipment. No. So I grabbed an emergency blanket, sleeping bag, yellow high-viz vest and First Aid kit from the Land Rover. When offered the choice, William decided a post-lunch reading session out of the rain was preferable so wisely elected to stay dry and warm in his front seat in the Land Rover. He’s smart, and had realized he’d got a great view of the cliffs, lighthouse, and of course the casualty. Hans and I ran off up the hill.

 

The broken leg, Stoer © John MacPherson
The broken leg, Stoer © John MacPherson

 

The leg was bad. With her permission, I did a quick assessment higher up, nothing else seemed damaged, but under her sock her tibia was sticking out through the skin above her boot, badly broken and jagged. There was blood. Not a good sign. The priority was dryness and warmth, so with her husband’s help we lifted her out of the bog and slipped the emergency blanket under her, and wrapped her in the sleeping bag. The rain had started, the wind was blowing and neither seemed to have any awareness or experience of the serious risks from exposure and hypothermia, and the added complications of medical shock.

My main concern was the damage to her leg. If the boot filled with blood it meant serious vascular damage and possibly the need for compression which would cause even more acute pain. It would also inevitably cause other complications I was aware of but really did not care to think about given that we were about 100 road miles from the nearest main hospital, in a bog on a cliff, in the rain and wind. Even with an air evacuation under way it would still take a couple of hours of sitting, in pain, possibly bleeding severely, before she was safe.  Thankfully the bleeding seemed minor and the casualty, Angeline, was able to stay warm and alert. Then the shower passed through and the sun came out which helped the mood immensely. The views (this being the Highlands) were utterly splendid. Even the casualty remarked on how glorious it was, and asked her partner to take a picture of the scene. But she was anxious and scared, so I decided to cheer her up.

“The problem is you’re from Holland!” I proclaimed. “Pardon?” they replied in unison. “Problem is you’re from Holland!” I repeated. They looked puzzled, looked to each other and then to me again. “Too flat Holland, waaay too flat. No slopes there, so I believe. That’s the problem! Put you folks on a slope and you all fall over. It’s a well-known fact in Scotland. The Dutch ALWAYS fall over when they’re not on flat ground!” Angeline’s face wrinkled as a smile fought its way through the pain, and she managed a fit of subdued giggles.

 

All the services arrive, Stoer Point © John MacPherson
All the services arrive, Stoer Point © John MacPherson

 

After an hour the paramedics and coastguard arrived and we were informed the rescue helicopter would be coming too, as soon as possible. We chatted to the emergency services people, turns out I’d met a couple of them before on various courses I’d run or been involved in around the area, and we had several mutual acquaintances. Forty five minutes later the helicopter arrived and after assessing the terrain the winchman decided that if we carried her to the top of the hill where the helicopter could land they’d put the casualty in manually rather than winch her in. So we did, and off she went to hospital in Inverness. Lots of noise and exhaust fumes from the huge helicopter assaulted all our senses, our bodies thrumming to the beat of its massive rotors, as it lifted off. Leaving Hans on the hillside, to drive their car to join his partner over on the east coast at the hospital.

 

Coastguard Rescue helicopter © John MacPherson
Coastguard Rescue helicopter © John MacPherson

 

Coastguard Rescue helicopter © John MacPherson
Coastguard Rescue helicopter © John MacPherson

 

Then, as the helicopter slid out of sight, there was silence.

Utter silence, save for the crashing of waves and the raucous calls of seabirds.

We stared out to sea, Hans was by now coming down off the surge of adrenaline and stress, so I made him eat a Tunnocks Teacake from the packet I’d fished out of the Land Rover, to keep his blood sugar up. The Coastguard Officers and Paramedics joined us , and very surprisingly had to be vigorously coerced into having a Teacake, before we headed down the hill to go our separate ways.

William and I carried on north to meet our friends and by 7pm were sitting on a rock by a loch waiting for the burgers to cook whilst the children fished. A light breeze kept the worst of the midges at bay. The topic of conversation was the bizarre politics and human geography of the Highlands. My friends had enjoyed some lunch in a small cafe nearby. Their conversation with the young woman owner had revealed the problems of rural homelessness, due to the exorbitant cost of land and housing, and the reality of living in your home area of the Highlands only for the summer and having to relocate to the central belt of Scotland, Glasgow or Edinburgh, for the winter to earn a decent wage. Across the loch a couple of empty second homes sat, eyes closed in the growing dusk, no life within.

Confronted by the magically lit scene of water and mountain my friends broached the topic of the ‘highland wilderness’. “I hate it” I said “..this is no more a wilderness than Richmond Park. It’s wild land all right, but its managed tightly, highly regulated and what you see is a consequence of that, it’s not a virgin scene untouched by the hand of man.”

The complex issues of land ownership, rural deprivation, community land management and crofting were woven into a frustrating exploration of Highland politics and the rise of nationalism, north and south of the border. “Can you explain what crofting is” they asked “..because it seems confusing..?”

“It’s a small parcel of land surrounded by a big piece of legislation..” I offered in response. They smiled knowingly.

We decided the midges had started to gain the upper hand so we retreated.

 

Fishing into twilight © John MacPherson
Fishing into twilight © John MacPherson

 

Next day dawned clear and bright, but high cloud streaming in from the west foretold weather approaching. Another Atlantic front was sweeping in, more wind and rain. The glorious light was swallowed by wisping cloud that wreathed the high tops across Loch Laxford.

 

Morning light on the Sutherland hills as a weather front slides in from the west. © John MacPherson
Morning light on the Sutherland hills as a weather front slides in from the west. © John MacPherson

 

Morning light and a wreath of cloud on the Sutherland hills as a weather front slides in from the west. © John MacPherson
Morning light and a wreath of cloud on the Sutherland hills as a weather front slides in from the west. © John MacPherson

 

We decided to walk to Sandwood Bay, a glorious curve of beach 5 miles from the road. It was rather surreal I have to confess. Early-start walkers were returning, freezing and soaked as their woefully inadequate clothing clung to their skin. The wind was rising, the rain was persistent and it was shaping up to be miserable. We passed two young women hauling a two-wheeled barrow laden with a mountain of gear. They were red-faced, soaked and panting as the effort of managing this lumbering contraption slowed their progress. We stopped later to have a snack and they caught up, near a small ford consisting of several large boulders spanning a stream.

“Here we’ll help you!” I called.

“No, we’re fine, we’ll manage!” one woman called back.

My friend and I leaped over the rocks anyway and grabbed a corner, and even with four of us it was an utter pig to get it across. We left them to their penance and headed onwards to the beach. We reached the 4 mile mark, anyone coming back from here would have walked around 6 miles. Out of the murk appeared  a lone figure. I thought he had an ironing board under his arm, and to be honest I would not have been at all surprised. However on closer inspection I realized  it was a surfboard. He was wet and cold, blue-lipped, hair plastered to his face, fingers white and far from the tanned, tousle-haired handsome devil he might have looked had this been Hawaii, California or Australia.

 

The track from Oldshoremore to Sandwood Bay, on a dreich day © John MacPherson
The track from Oldshoremore to Sandwood Bay, on a dreich day © John MacPherson

 

To my astonishment he was followed out of the greywet by a young man and woman in summer clothes, she with a shopping bag and he a trendy shirt and thin jacket. But what set them apart from several other similarly dressed couples was the 2 year old girl in the push chair he was wrestling with. The sort of push chair you see people using about town, a pair of wheels on each corner, each on a swivel, so its very maneuverable. But going uphill, on a boulder-strewn bog track 4 miles from the nearest remote cottage? Maneuverable? Nah. Not a bit of it. Forward motion was nigh on impossible as the wheels jammed on any little stone and spun around. But the pusher, despite the extreme frustration, though red-faced and panting, was doing his best. The small child was wearing next to nothing, facing forwards into the worst of the wind and drizzle, and looked utterly miserable.

Call me an old fusspot if you want, but I have my limits.

“Excuse me folks, far be it from me to offer you any advice, but can I offer you some?”

He looked startled “Eh? What?” roused from his misery.

“That chair, its a complete pig to push isn’t it?” He nodded in agreement. “So why don’t you turn it round, tilt it like this and pull it instead?” and showed him. “I used to do this with wheelchairs in Social Work”. I said to make it sound ‘official’ and as if I knew what I was on about.

He tried, turned, tilted and pulled. “Hey that works!” he gasped, realizing that the 6 miles of utter hell he’d just endured could have been made much much easier.

“And can you wrap your daughter up a bit, she’s really going to suffer if you leave her exposed. It’s really important.” I added. “I don’t want to see the rescue helicopter again this week. Once is enough!”

His eyes widened, as the penny dropped.

“She was fussing because she wanted to see where she was going, so we took off the clear rain cover!” said the child’s mum reaching into her bag to retrieve it.

“I think I’d ignore what she prefers given the wind and cold rain; and trust me its even colder and windier up there…” pointing to the top of slope “..we’re sheltered here and the weather is deteriorating. Promise her an ice-cream or hot chocolate and get the cover back over her! And enjoy the rest of your day!”

 

 

Sandwood Bay © John MacPherson
Sandwood Bay © John MacPherson

 

We left them to it, and walked onto the beach. And suddenly the close confines of other people dissolved. The hundreds of footprints converging onto the sand from the path were swallowed by the vastness of the beach. We were on a huge beach, massive surf pounding in from the Atlantic driven by a mountainous swell. It was glorious. Lunch devoured, our return journey was head-on into the wind, and rain. But we were happy.

 

A dreich day on the A838 near Achfary, Sutherland © John MacPherson
A dreich day on the A838 near Achfary, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

The long road home through Sutherland in the rain © John MacPherson
The long road home through Sutherland in the rain © John MacPherson

 

The long road home through Sutherland in the rain © John MacPherson
The long road home through Sutherland in the rain © John MacPherson

 

Next day William and I bade our friends farewell and meandered south, on deserted rainpuddled roads, with only swirling mist for company.

Travel is a funny thing, even in a place you know. The arc of your day may be mundane and insignificant until its intersection with the orbit of another’s, and then anything may happen. Sometimes its funny, sometimes its sad, and sometimes it makes a difference, only small, but a difference all the same, to all of you. But the foundation for all of this, is simply talking to people.

And up here, more often than not, that happens. That’s why I like the Highlands so much.

 

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The Power & The Glory https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/08/the-power-the-glory/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/08/the-power-the-glory/#comments Wed, 03 Aug 2016 16:55:46 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39156   “There’s a guy from the electricity company in the hall looking for you.” said the secretary at my work, as outside the wind howled like a banshee, hurling the rain horizontally against the window, and forcing it in through the window frame onto the office floor where a bucket was slowly filling. Summer in...

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Ben Nevis from Spean Bridge, near Fort William © John MacPherson
Ben Nevis from Spean Bridge, near Fort William © John MacPherson

 

“There’s a guy from the electricity company in the hall looking for you.” said the secretary at my work, as outside the wind howled like a banshee, hurling the rain horizontally against the window, and forcing it in through the window frame onto the office floor where a bucket was slowly filling. Summer in Scotland.

“Can I help you” I said to him.

“Yes, Hector MacLean says you’ve got a crossbow?”

Hector is an old family friend and was the Senior Engineer in the local Hydro Electric Company.

“No crossbow” I replied “I have a proper longbow, I teach archery”.

“Well whatever it is you’ve got, Hector wonders if you can use it to shoot an arrow across the River Spean. The flood and rain and high winds have brought down a pylon and taken out the power cables to Spean village and we need to get a line across the river and maybe you can help? The wind is so strong the helicopter can’t fly. We’re stuck.”

“Clear off and do it” said my boss, by now well used to my various unusual ‘community involvement’ activities.

And so off I went chauffeured by LandRover to my house to collect my waterproofs, bow and a box of arrows, and then to Spean Bridge, ten miles outside town.

I have seen big water in Highland rivers over the decades. I had seen nothing like this. Nothing. A roaring raging torrent was flowing, filled with leaves, branches and other debris, a plastic bin, a cattle feed box, plastic bags, and more ‘stuff’ was sailing past. And the noise of the howling gale, and the machinegun splattering of rain only added to the cacophony.

On the far bank stood an engineer. On this side, standing on a narrow bank, rapidly being undermined by the river, stood another engineer, both gaily clad in their Approved Wet Weather Safety Gear. Luminous. The guy below me produced a ball of twine. I looked at it and offered the opinion that it was too heavy to shoot across.

“We need to try” he said. So I wound it around the arrow, taped it tight, lined up and fired. The arrow flew off, the tape separated and the arrow disappeared into the river. “Oh bugger” we said in unison.

We tried again, this time more tape to make it secure. Off it went in a graceful arc. But we could see it too was doomed. As the arrow fell into the maelstrom I saw out of the corner of my eye, a tree. But what separated this tree from all the other similar trees along the riverside, giant pines and well nourished birches, was the fact it was upside down, and moving. Towards us. Gliding gaily along in the torrent it came. And before we could retrieve the arrow and line, the tree grabbed them and off it went downstream. Arrow number 2 and 50 metres of twine vanished.

“We need something lighter lads! Has anyone got any fishing line?” No, they replied.

“Ok lets go to the shop in Spean the owner is a fisherman, if they don’t sell fishing line maybe he can give us some.”

The shop was in darkness. All the power gone. There was no fishing line for sale.

“Can you perhaps give me some then please? I know you fish.” I asked the shop owner.

“No.” he said abruptly.

“Have you actually got some? I know you do fish.”

“Yes I have some” he said “but you can’t have it. Hydro Electric have lots of money. Go to town and buy your own.”

The engineers, soaked, cold and exhausted, were astonished by his attitude.

“What! I can’t believe you just said that!” I retorted. And he turned to walk away. I winked to the engineer.

“Excuse me sir, before you go can I just point something out to you?”

“What?” said the shopkeeper grumpily and impatient.

So I pointed a slow elegant-finger-point towards the long long long line of freezers, so long in fact that they lined the entire left hand side of his substantial shop: meat, veg, tv dinners, ice cream, fish fingers and more. Much much much more. Expensively much more.

“See that lot my friend. Your choice. Fishing line and power. Or………..just start throwing all of that in the bin in a large stinking wet thawing pile. And then see what your insurers say when they hear you could have saved it. But deliberately chose not to. Worth a roll of fishing line to you is it?” And I smiled. Sweetly.

With ill-grace he produced a roll of 20lb test salmon line. “Thank you sir” I said gaily.

“I want it back” he said. “Aye right, I’m sure Hydro Electric will sort something out” I said.

The power and the glory. © John MacPherson
The power and the glory. © John MacPherson

 

 

 

Having been saved a twenty mile round trip to town we quickly nipped back to the river. It was even higher than before. A garden shed was floating past, bobbing merrily along and vanishing around the corner.

We hastily tied the nylon to the arrow, and I wound up to launch it. The engineer held the reel of line lightly in his fingers. WHOOSH and off it went. A long lazy curve, but we could see it was not going to do it, although it had gone much much further than before. And down it plopped. And was grabbed by another large branch racing past. Arrow 3 was gone.

So we tried again. This time I got the engineer to hold the reel of fishing line on an arrow, so it would unwind as I fired. Off it went, unwinding beautifully, and unwinding and unwinding and unwinding….and continuing to unwind even after the arrow had sunk in the torrent. Leaving the engineer holding a large tangle of nylon that resembled a particularly demented pile of see-through candyfloss.

Lateral thinking was needed. “Ok engineer, hold your hands shoulder width apart, first finger up on each and I’ll wrap the nylon around them so that when I fire the arrow you can turn your two fingers in the way to let the line come off.”  And then I lined up, pulled the arrow back to the maximum draw and released, shouting “NOW!”

Off it went. His fingers moved inwards. We watched as the arrow arced perfectly across the river, the engineer whooping with delight as the gossamer tail shimmied behind it. The engineer on the far side bellowing ‘Yes! Yes! Yes” Come on you beauty!”

And then we both, at exactly the same time, realized what the engineer opposite had obviously not. That the arrow, still flying, and with a fair amount of velocity, was heading straight towards his chest.

“AAAAARRRGGH LOOK OUT” we cried, our screams tossed away on the gale.

But some sixth sense was hard at work and the engineer suddenly realized what was about to happen and with a look of terror and superhuman energy leaped sideways as the arrow whacked straight into the tree, roughly where his throat had been!

We looked upriver, to our dismay another tree was coming. No time for messing. We screamed for him to get up off the ground and just in the nick of time he was able to get the arrow, grab the nylon and run up the bank to elevate the thread so that the tree passed safely beneath. Only just.

To the nylon we tied the twine. Which was pulled across.

To the twine we tied a nylon rope. Which was pulled across.

To the rope we tied a winch hawser. Which was pulled across, narrowly avoiding another complete tree heading to the ocean.

And to the hawser we tied the power cable.

And Spean Bridge was reconnected.

Two weeks later an engineer turned up at my house with a beautifully gift-wrapped box of arrows. And note of thanks from Hydro Electric.

And they gave a roll of fishing line to the shopkeeper, and rumour has it, a wee note, deliberately overdoing the purple prose of gratitude for his gracious and most generous collaboration, in a most community-spirited and selfless way.

Life in the Highlands. You couldn’t make it up.

 

 

 

 

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Payback https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/08/payback/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/08/payback/#respond Wed, 03 Aug 2016 10:22:03 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39145 On 9/11 Adam Deen drove the streets of north London, celebrating al-Qaeda’s blow against the West. This story of radicalisation and extremism in the UK’s capital city is our latest film, directed and produced for Extreme Dialogue.

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On 9/11 Adam Deen drove the streets of north London, celebrating al-Qaeda’s blow against the West. This story of radicalisation and extremism in the UK’s capital city is our latest film, directed and produced for Extreme Dialogue.

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“Fat slags…” and shinty sticks https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/07/fat-slags-shinty-sticks/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/07/fat-slags-shinty-sticks/#comments Tue, 26 Jul 2016 13:35:00 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39113 This will, eventually, be a mild rant. Funny how events from the present can recall, vividly, events from the past. It happened to me a few days ago, in England. But first the past…       …when I was in my teens I worked in the shipyards on the Clyde in Glasgow, staying in...

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This will, eventually, be a mild rant.

Funny how events from the present can recall, vividly, events from the past. It happened to me a few days ago, in England. But first the past…

 

Sticks & stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me... © John MacPherson
Sticks & stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me… © John MacPherson

 

 

…when I was in my teens I worked in the shipyards on the Clyde in Glasgow, staying in a run-down hostel in Victoria Park, Partick. I didn’t like the city much, and every Friday evening after work I hitch-hiked home to the Highlands to play shinty. Hitch-hiked because I had no money for anything else, and this involved a walk along Dumbarton Road, and up onto Great Western Road where traffic heading north would be likely to pick me up.

The only problem with this, on a Friday evening in the early 1970’s, was the gauntlet of gangs I’d to negotiate. Whiteinch, Yoker, and adjoining areas were the haunts of groups of thugs, some armed with knives, who’d think nothing of sticking one in you if they weren’t doing it to each other. One of my workmates had three fingers chopped off one evening by a group of young lads, one with a meat cleaver who took a dislike to his hand with which he’d carelessly gripped a bus-stop pole as he waited for a run home. And on one memorable evening a bunch of very stupid Scotstoun thugs jumped me and a few friends (all from the Highlands ) as we queued for fish and chips. Having been raised on venison and salmon we were all..er..’robust’ and gave the lads a bit of a fright, however this loss of face led to a concerted attack by an organized mob of them one evening on our hostel, involving air-rifles, rocks, even an arrow or two which were launched at us.

If you’re interested here’s a list of the gangs that were about at that time, and there’s loads of other material online exploring and explaining the origins of all of this.

And so as it got dark I’d wander along through Clydebank heading for home in the Highlands. With my little bag draped on, and balancing Huck Finn-style, my shinty stick which I held over my shoulder. A beautifully hand-made piece, almost 4 feet of heavy laminated ash. I got ‘looks’ on many evenings from the thugs, but no bother from anyone, but then one one evening it happened. I sauntered along as always, watchful, and across the street in the distance noticed a group of six or so thugs out looking for bother. Heads turned towards me, a lone young lad in the winter gloom. They all turned, eyes scanning, hostile, then slowly, and with calculated menace, they peeled off the pavement and aggressively strutted across the road timing their arrival to coincide with my passing.

I looked about but there were few people around. I slipped the shinty stick down off my shoulder in the gloom between pools of street lights, hooked the bag strap over my head and around my shoulder, and grasped the stick with my right hand keeping it low and hidden, my left hand free and empty.

“Where de ye think you’re gaun?” aggressive voice.

“Aye where ur you gaun, this is oor turf, who ur you?” another added.

The pavement was blocked by four of them, the other two coming behind me.

“I’m going home. To play shinty…” I smiled and raised the stick, which they had obviously not noticed until now “…anyone got a problem with that…?”

Their eyes narrowed and their faces tightened. “Aye right, shinty eh? Shinty?” rolling the word ‘shinty’ over on his tongue like a bitter taste…

…aye, shinty…” I replied “…dangerous game, lots of fun though, but dangerous…oh aye can be very dangerous…if you’re not careful. But I try to be careful, mind.”

And as I walked on they parted to allow me passage, and their leader added with a note of sarcasm “…best watch yerself big yin, just watch yerself…”

“Oh aye, I will, and I usually do, and you boys do the same, and have a good evening eh?”

And then I was on Great Western Road and the shinty stick marked me a sportsman, a safe bet for a lift, and I’d be a hundred miles up the road by midnight.

 

Shinty © John MacPherson
Shinty © John MacPherson

 

That was 40 years ago. I took two sticks with me when I went on holiday a few weeks ago, an old beaten up one my son William bashes about with as he learns, and a nice shiny new one I bought for myself a few weeks ago. We’d taken the dogs for a walk behind William grandparent’s house in suburban Buckingham and had a wee hit about with the shinty sticks as we went, enjoying the opportunities afforded by the extensive grassy area. There was William, his mum and his granny too with her dog. As we got back onto the main road I heard the unmistakable roar of a V8 engine as some monster sports car approached. As it came closer, but still out of sight a disabled woman on a mobility scooter came off the drop kerb to cross the clearly empty road about 70 metres in front of us, at a T-junction and was half-way over when sports-car-man burbled around the corner at speed, an open-top Ford Mustang going way too fast, that went nose down as he jammed on the brakes to allow her to cross.

But as he did so he lifted his head above the windscreen and shouted “You fat slag, lose some fucking weight and you wont need a fucking scooter…” and then floored it, tyres squealing as the Mustang scrabbled to propel itself like a missile up the residential street. It was over in seconds. I ran forwards, shinty stick in hand, to the dismayed woman “…are you ok? Did I hear what I just thought I heard?”

She sighed with exasperation, embarrassment red on her face, not far from tears “Yes you did. It’s not my fault I’m this size….and…oh…I’m not well …I just can’t go anywhere without my scooter…I need it to get about… “

We reassured her and then, finally, saw her safely on her way.

We were too late to intervene in her exchange, and to be honest I’ve no idea what would have transpired had I been closer. Angry to the point of exploding whilst carrying a potentially offensive weapon is not a good combination.

But after all that, what mattered? Really mattered? What mattered to the woman was that we showed concern for her. We made her smile, then laugh and made sure she knew that not everyone is a total dickheaded bastard. And she appreciated that.

And as I relaxed my grip on the ash handle of my stick, I realized that it was words that had hurt her so deeply, and that it was words, better words, that had eased that pain and indignity. And that ‘weapon’ is something really powerful we ALL possess.

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duckrabbit’s Mini-Doc Masterclass: Learn how to make cracking short films in a weekend https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/06/duckrabbits-mini-doc-masterclass-learn-make-cracking-short-films-weekend/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/06/duckrabbits-mini-doc-masterclass-learn-make-cracking-short-films-weekend/#respond Mon, 20 Jun 2016 13:46:23 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39046 Do you, or your organisation, want to make films like this one (we just made this for The International HIV/AIDS Alliance) but don’t know how to get there? Then this course is for you. Making short films is hard. In fact it’s almost impossibly hard if you haven’t been trained and mentored by a film-maker or...

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Do you, or your organisation, want to make films like this one (we just made this for The International HIV/AIDS Alliance) but don’t know how to get there? Then this course is for you.

Making short films is hard. In fact it’s almost impossibly hard if you haven’t been trained and mentored by a film-maker or spent time working on professional shoots.  That’s a real problem for lots of people who want to get paid for making short films but don’t have the opportunity to observe professional shoots.

You can learn the hard way, from your mistakes, and you can also pick up a lot technical knowledge online but it’s better, quicker and less costly to learn from other film-makers successes and also their mistakes.

This course is designed to save you a lot of pain. The pain of saying yes to client briefs that are unachievable; the pain of recording an interview that is unintelligible, filming an interview that is unwatchable or the pain of shooting footage that can’t be hacked together in the edit.  Along the way we’ll also be trying to save you the pain of agreeing deadlines that are un-meetable, budgets that leave you broke, the pain of alienating your subjects so much that they go AWOL and the pain of your film being a shambles that no-one wants to watch or pay for!

We’re going to do that by re-creating a film-set. And on that film-set we’re going to take you through every stage of production up until the point of the edit.  We’ll start with a real world brief. You’ll know it’s real world because it will be almost unachievable. We’ll work through how to take that brief, persuade the client that it just won’t work and then work with them to adapt and agree something that is achievable. We’ll then take you through pre-production. How to set up a shoot that makes sense. How to prepare your guests. How to start visualising the story. Understanding what is actually achievable in a five minute film. What kit to take. How to brief your videographer (if you are working with one).

We’ll teach you the basics of directing. You can’t learn that on-line. It’s all about people.

We’ll practise sequencing shots. We’ll set up and record an interview. We’ll break down how to light the interview, how to record decent sound and most importantly how to get the best out of someone.

Along the way we’ll share with you the lessons we’ve learned and the mistakes we’ve made. We’ll even buy you a beer (or a soft drink).

And we’re going to do all that in two fun and hands-on days. By the end you’ll know how to get all the basics right and with practice, kit and hard work that’s enough to kick-start you on the journey to making really decent mini-documentary films.

To sign up or for more info have a look here.

“I learnt an incredible amount in a short space of time. It was informal and fast paced at the right times and more importantly it was really enjoyable”  Phil Catchpole, British Council.

“Duckrabbit were thorough, approachable, collaborative and knowledgeable, and this shone through in their work with us. The training was exceptional”  Jeremy Cherfas, Bioversity International

“Just wanted to say thanks so much for the training. It was quite easily the best I’ve been to – a perfect combination of continual interest, excellent advice and audience participation” Louise Walsh, University of Cambridge

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“Dear Dad” https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/06/dear-dad/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/06/dear-dad/#respond Sun, 19 Jun 2016 09:12:50 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39037   On Father’s Day amidst the celebrations that a few of you may be enjoying, take some time out to watch this beautifully poignant and elegiac film by Robin Haig exploring the ties of birth to land and father. Set in the remote glens of the Scottish Highlands, this is a brave and moving glimpse...

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dear dad

 

On Father’s Day amidst the celebrations that a few of you may be enjoying, take some time out to watch this beautifully poignant and elegiac film by Robin Haig exploring the ties of birth to land and father.

Set in the remote glens of the Scottish Highlands, this is a brave and moving glimpse of one young woman’s reflections on her early life and the legacy that she has inherited and tries to understand.

It’s a deeply personal exploration of loss, change and all that stays the same.

 

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