Grainger Stories (UK • 2013 • 4mins, 25secs)
“Once upon a time when you came to the city; if you hadn’t seen the Grainger Market, you hadn’t seen the city.”
– Roy Eden, butcher
A snapshot of a typical day in Newcastle’s historic market and the people who bring it to life, GRAINGER STORIES explores how the old and new sit alongside each other.
Director: Katie Boal
Producer: Emily Snowball
Camera: Adam Mann
Sound: Sophie Morris
Mentored by Mark Chapman
In conversation with the director:
By Ryan Watson, Cuckoo Review
Could you tell us about how you got involved with the project?
I did the Northern Stars Fiction Academy last year and I was DOP (Director of Photography) for that. Then I got an email about the documentary academy coming up. I wanted something more to do, to develop my portfolio and having worked with Tyneside Cinema before, I knew it would be a great experience. I ended up as director because of a daring conversation with Hannah (Production Manager). I originally put down something else, she was like ‘Why not director, why not challenge yourself?’
So what was it that got you interested in telling this story?
We had to decide if it was going to be a documentary about either a place, or the people, or a (single) person. It was quite hard to give a sense of that environment and still create a character. That’s what really interested me about it, the challenge of condensing all that into somebody’s vision.
Did you start with a plan? Did it change during production?
I did have a plan originally, but then I think once you get working and you start looking at storytelling and characterisation you just completely change it. One thing we did plan was an interview with one of our characters. When we initially talked to them they were really lively. Then when we interviewed them (on camera), they wanted us gone straight away, their answers were very reserved and you just couldn’t talk to them; it basically destroyed the original story. We completely remodeled what it was about and it was a challenge, but I think it worked out.
What would say you’ve learned from the project?
Interviewing skills are one of the greatest things to have, and I think I learnt more about how to convey a narrative through documentary than I did through short film because you have to control yourself a lot more. You’re not telling the story, you have to rely on someone else to tell the story, if you know what I mean. You have to rely on what they give to you and you have to translate. You have to learn to work with that.
Are you doing anything interesting after the Academy?
I’ve got a lot going on actually – I have to start making a documentary, I’m writing a pitch, a proposal, a package and a script and I think I’m going to work on a music video. If I hadn’t joined Northern Stars I wouldn’t be doing any of this; if anyone’s interested in it, get into it as early as possible.