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Behind the Scenes - Sifting through Stories

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In my role with Catcher Media, I get to see stories emerging from every corner: from the archive, through attending interviews and hearing them first-hand, over social media, and during the editing process. 

 

Over the winter months, editing of our upcoming film: ‘Carousel’ has been in full swing. The name ‘Carousel’ comes from a type of slide projector, something which echoes the nature of the project. Assisting with this film does feel like sitting in the centre of a whirl of pictures and stories. How do we choose which stories to share?

 

Some stories will of course make it into ‘Carousel’ but what people may not know is how this represents just a fraction of the seemingly endless string of memories, anecdotes and biographies this project is unearthing. Luckily, we do have a few more opportunities to share some of this abundant material with you.

 

 

 

For example, if you are a regular reader of our blog you will have noticed that Marsha, our Oral Historian, has been sifting through Derek Evans’ newspaper cuttings file - finding what she refers to as ‘micro-history’ stuck between yellowed scrapbook pages. We also share images from the archive over social media, often provoking a deluge of nostalgic responses and rare knowledge, which can, in turn, make its way into a new blog post. 

 

Recently, I was tasked with the job of finding appropriate, stand-alone clips to share on social media. These should be about a minute long, and work as self-contained little stories. Interestingly, this gave us the opportunity to showcase a couple of great stories which may not fit into the final film. Occasionally someone will tell an amusing, sweet or surprising story that doesn’t necessarily fit in with the big narrative we are trying to tell in the film, but is perfect as a one-off vignette. I can’t help but think that, before social media, there may not have been the platform to share these micro-stories with followers of our project.

 

One particular interviewee, Roly Clarke, was a well of stories.  As well as providing us with a great overview of the traditions of the Fownhope Heart of Oak Club Walk, he also had numerous funny anecdotes up his sleeve. I think my favourite is the one about his prank on the poor lady who got the highest score in skittles. This lady, so Roley says, was a visitor from Hereford to the Club Walk one year - someone he didn’t know. She had joined in a game of skittles and was delighted to see she’d gotten the highest score in the game so far. 

 

‘What do I get if I win?’ she asked Roly. 

“Oh, just a normal country prize…’ he says ‘a pig!’

“…A pig? A real one?”

“Oh he’s real alright”. Roly said he could see this poor women thinking about how she was going to get this pig home. My own imagination puts her on the bus, grappling with a fully grown grubby pink pig, on her way to a tidy little flat in the city, wondering what her landlord will think of her sudden acquisition of a farm animal as a pet!

“It’s OK. We’ll give you a bit of string” says Roley, in pretend assistance. He remembers her worried face continuing to watch the skittles, just willing every other woman to beat her high score! In the end, he did take pity on her and let her in on the joke - making the real prize not having to take a pig home!

 

 

 

 

Choosing stories is always hard. So much depends on the context and the timing and the platform it is going to be on. I chose this one not only because it fitted all the technical criteria of a social media clip, but because it made me laugh. Stories should make us feel something, no matter how small.

 

The best news is that all of the recorded interviews will be archived and made accessible for generations to come. So, even if they don’t end up in this film, on Instagram or in a blog post, they will still be there, waiting for someone to discover them, and feel something. 

 

I am so excited to attend our premiere of ‘Carousel’ next week (on 11 March 2019 at Borderlines Film Festival), where selected individual stories will weave together to create a larger one: about Herefordshire life not so long ago and the work of a man who cared enough to capture it.

Check out the trailer here: 

 

For upcoming screening dates in your area, please see our listings page on our website:

https://www.herefordshirelifethroughalens.org.uk/listings

 

 

Also, you can continue to check our blog, Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter for more stories we’re eager to share with you. 

 

by Gabrielle Stevenson

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