Sugar & Spice (view this story)

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Will Yurman Aug. 9, 2010, 2:54 p.m. permalink

Hi Mell,
This looked like it was a lot of fun to produce. I give you credit for being able to get usable interviews out of what was clearly a noisy environment and you obviously spent a lot of time there shooting and talking to people.

Ultimately for me it ended up feeling  unfocused and too much about the surface of things. We never learn who these people are - not even their names.  On one occasion you have text slides about the Nigerian woman who works there but we never hear from her - I would have loved a story just about her experiences.

The music and the noise and the quantity of photos actually do a good job of giving a sense of place. The special effects editing - something I'm rarely fond of - worked ok given the topic - the sliding photos and occasional montage of photos fit.

But visually there was a lot of repetition and just as with the audio it all felt a bit distant and superficial. I would have loved to see more intimate photos - getting closer, spending more time with fewer people and let me get to know them. It was hard to keep track of the characters without names and without a strong story arc. Without strong characters it is difficult for your audience to care about the story.

Think of great novels or movies or TV shows - grand ideas, epic stories, complicated plots all make sense to us when they are anchored to characters we care about.

Your text shows your knowledge and interest in the place - but little of that comes through in the slide show. Perhaps you could have narrated what you wanted to say and wrapped the interviews and natural sound around that?

In a sense that is what you did with the text slides at the end but it felt so disconnected from the rest of the piece.

For me, there is a lot of good here - lots of hard work, interesting images, audio - but what you lack is a clear narrative structure. You need to take a stronger hand in constructing a path that leads the viewer along and keeps them engaged.

thanks for sharing. Hope this helps a bit.


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