Video: Making my Dick Smith Documentary

My biggest school project is done. Our project is called the S.K Austin and it is very important. This year our teachers Mr Paton and Miss Divers told Year 5, that we all had to do a digital project. I chose to create a video documentary on the famous Australian, Dick Smith. Creating my documentary has been a huge adventure and the most work I have ever put into making a video so far. And even after all my hard work, I spent almost as much time on making changes from other peoples feedback, than I spent on editing the first version of my video!

I am very happy with the video now, however there were many problems I had to overcome. I initially planned to have the whole video finished in my 2 week school holiday break. In hindsight that was very ambitious because I took more than 1 week just to read Dick’s book called “Dick Smith’s Population Crisis” and write my script.

Figure: Dick’s book which inspired me

Figure: I read Dick’s book before my interview. I now know about the dangers of unsustainable growth.

But before I go on about all that, let’s start from the beginning. After lots of research and watching some famous Australians on YouTube, I decided on Dick Smith because I have been into so many of his stores. I wrote a list of points I needed to research and then I decided I would try to find his email to ask him for an interview. My sister Eve made this much easier than I expected. Eve had tried to get Dick to sign her petition to rename the “Canberra Airport” to “The David Warren Airport”. As luck would have it, Eve still had his mobile phone number.

That evening I called Dick and asked him for an interview and he said “yes”! He told me I needed to talk to his PA, Margo, and I did. Margo and I organised a time for me to visit his office, which is next to his house. I had so many questions I wanted to ask Dick but I knew it is was ridiculous to have over 70 questions, so I spent a whole day trying to narrow down my questions. In the end I still had about 40.

I had a mix of easy and hard questions. A short and easy one was:

“When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

Some of them were really long and complicated like this one:

“Barney Foran is a scientist who you interviewed in your documentary. He said that scientists have researched and believe that more growth is bad for Australia. Researchers don’t tell the government everything they really believe because they would lose their funding. Why don’t businessman like you, get together and give the funding to those scientists so they are free to publish their findings?”

I arrived at the interview early with my crew :). I had my sister Eve and Raj on the cameras and dad eating Dick’s biscuits. Then I was told by Margo that I only had 20 minutes with Dick. This was going to be a big problem when I had double the number of questions, than I had minutes. Luckily, I was the last person Dick was meeting that day so he spent lots of time talking to me and he answered all my questions which took about an hour.

DickSmithRuby_Helicopter

Figure: Dick Smith and I before taking off. I have a lot of photos from my joy ride 🙂

Then after our long interview, Dick gave me the best experience of my life. He took me and my crew 🙂 on a ride in his helicopter from his house in Terry Hills to the beautiful Sydney harbour! It was a long and breathtaking trip.

When I got home that night I was straight to work putting all of the footage onto my computer. By the time I had finished copying all the camera footage into my Adobe Premiere Pro project, it was time for dinner. I had such an exciting evening telling my mum all about my day and what she had missed!

For the rest of my school holidays it was not as exciting. I worked on my video every day. Initially my video was almost 50 minutes but my goal was to get it down to 10 minutes, since my teacher had told us that was the best length because he said he did not want to watch 20 minute videos by 20 kids. Most of my days were from 8 am to 8 pm and I found it really hard, trying to make the video shorter. Cutting out each piece of my interview was very difficult, because I had spent hours already editing it. I felt like I was throwing my homework away!

The speaking part of my script was done in my lounge room and I had fun trying to catch the jars of peanut butter. It took about 2 hours to film but much, much longer to edit! When I felt pretty confident I was done, I put my documentary on youtube unlisted and sent it to a few friends for feedback. I had expected only a little feedback like “At 4:28 there is an audio glitch” but instead I got large blocks of feedback like “this petition is incorrect and no-one will want to sign it because all adults today will be over 80 when the population doubles, so it won’t affect them”. I was starting to understand Dick’s population problem now and why he had not received much support.

The person who sent me the longest email with the most suggestions was Geoff O’Rourke (who I have been doing a short film with). Althought I didn’t want to, I had to redo some filming and also lots more editing, to incorporate all of Geoff’s feedback. In addition the music was too boring, which meant deleting half of it and spending hours trying to find better tracks that more suited my documentary.

Once the video was done I knew a lot more about the world population problems and I wanted to help make people aware of the problem. After all, my generation is going to the most affected by this problem.

I was fast running out of time. My school holidays were over and I was still spending hours re-writing the script and trying to memorise it. By the end I was so tired. I was still editing until 11 pm on the last night! I could not have done this without my sister Eve who is my greatest inspiration and also Raj who loves pointing out every one of my mistakes.

In the end I did not succeed in getting my video down to under 10 minutes. In fact it was almost double the length it was supposed to be, but it was a huge improvement from my first 50 minute version!

Sign my two petitions

My first petition is for our Prime Minister Mr Tony Abbott and our opposition leader Mr Bill Shorten, to tell me and all Aussies what the population should be by 2060 (when I am 57 years old like you).

Figure: Prime Minister Mr Tony Abbott, what the population should be by 2060?

Figure: Prime Minister Mr Tony Abbott, what do you think the population of Australia should be by 2060? (I will be your age then).

Population growth is a world wide problem, just like climate change. I took a long time trying to work out a petition that would suit everyone. In the end this was impossible so I ended up creating two petitions, one for Australians and one that I think everyone in the world should sign:

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