field notes


I did a lot of research watching ethnographic films. I watched many about mental health issues. From those I watched about depression I realised that often people make depression almost comical when they try to show how it feels. It is perhaps not appropriate to try and make the viewer feel how they feel, because the viewer never could and that’s not the films should be for. They should be to show truths. From other films I watched I was, as I usually am, blow away by the power of film and the insight it can give.

Finding contacts

I had a meeting with a friend of my who also has depression and we discussed in length what is important when making a film about depression. She gave me a lot to think about. Mainly though we spoke about her and the trouble she had been having with it recently. As I listened to her talk I realised that It would not be far to show something like that publicly it is too personal to her. I saw in her the feelings I have felt and I knew that even though she agreed to be in the film I wouldn’t want her to be speaking like she is now. Often people who are depressed struggle to find the words to describe how they feel and I sure she would look back on it and disagree with what she said. It would be wrong to publicly display things she is so confused about and perhaps would regret saying.

Candles scene

After carrying the dusty old fan I borrowed all the way to the location I wanted for the scene I discovered the plugs there weren’t working. This meant I had to find a new place. luckily it didn’t take long. It took a while to get shots the shots I needed. I wanted a shot from a distances to show an element of isolation.

Campus shots

Got my friend to help me film my carrying the fan round campus. I had an issue when I passed someone I knew in the hall and they tried to talk to me. But apart from that the shots went well.

Interview with me #1

I asked my friend to interview me about my depression. I set up a space in my house to film. I put the chair I sat on in front of a mirror so the mirror showed the reflection of the camera and of my friend behind the camera. After filming I realised the shot didn’t look great. Going through the footage of this interview I realised there were issues I need to address. Firstly, I have given my friend a brief on what questions to ask but the brief was too vague. In the interview the subject changes and I don’t give many insightful answers. Secondly, I was still unsure on what I should focus on and my answers were ore about general problems I think there are in society around mental health. I

Interview with Jill Leigh

Jill interviewThe interview I had with Jill Leigh was all thanks to my lecturer for putting me in contact with her. The interview itself was a lovely experience. Jill is one of the nicest people I have ever met. She cared so much about people and when I was talking about my problems she had real sympathy. Meeting with her gave me a real drive to do the best I can with the film because their are people like Jill who commit their lives to make other peoples lives better and their deserve credit for what they do. I realised how much affect the set up of an interview has. She was slightly nervous to be on camera at first but when I spoke about myself she was a lot more comfortable. She is clearly a person who listens and so many of the most insight answers came after she heard about my problems. She said so many interesting things that It was a real challenge choosing what to put in. See spoke about the issues with funding for programs which help those with mental health trouble and had a lot to say on the ideological issues of society. I enjoyed working with Jill greatly and now, to me, the most important goal of this project is to make something that Jill thinks is a good and fair, and ideally helpful, depiction of mental health.

Shots of pond near well being centre

I filled shots of the pond outside the well being centre. I mainly did this because there seemed so many great things to film. Only after I realised their potential. I filmed was of baby ducklings because they were adorable. I filled a fish swimming just bellow the water. A small pond like that can give so many nice and interesting shots and I glad I spent a bit of time their filming and soaking in the atmosphere. It was very peaceful there and I will use those shots to introduce the well being centre as a peaceful area.

Interview with me #2

This interview was more off the cuff which made it more natural, but again I didn’t give great answers. Something that Is great about using yourself in the film is that you can keep trying and push yourself to let more out. At this point I was still talking about the subject of depression vaguely. After some thought I realised that the reason I was in the film was because I have depression myself and it is an oppertuity to give a personal account of it. I decided we had to talk more personal. My friend agree to try again.

Interview with me #3

This time, we went to a cafe and I told him to zoom closer in on my face to make the shot more intimate. I told him to ask me my name, my cause and if I was enjoying university. This instantly make me seek more openly and talk about more personal topics like times in the past when I have been suicidal. I did not plan what to say for any of the interviews I think this was important to get the best answers out of me. Also in the interview I asked him to ask me about the making of the film. This made it more comfortable because their was a sense of awareness. I feel like this could be a good tactic when filming other people.


In the editing I focused on a few themes which seem to arise. Firstly, personal transformation and identity. Jill had interesting things to say about the stigma creating a confused identity for people with mental health issues. When I interviewed Jill at the end she asked if I was going to put in my side of the conversation. I believe she thought it was important to put my side in. For that reason in the film I chose part where we were talking more naturally to each other. The editing took a long time and was draining but I’m happy with the end result.

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