Tommy Flavin: Documentary Is Like Really Expensive Therapy
The idea of this blog is to document the process of developing art from its inception through to its eventual culmination as part of the exhibition and symposium, METAMORPHOSIS. So to kick off my own series of posts, I thought I’d give a little background as to myself and my own practise. Here, I’m going to talk about how documentary making can be weirdly therapeutic.
It might sound odd to say, but I know that I’ve made a really good documentary when I’ve learned more about myself in the process than I have about my subject. Because we’re called to curate reality in the making of a film, the themes and storylines I choose to highlight, and the ones I choose to ignore, reveal a sometimes alarming amount about myself. I’m forced in the editing process to confront my own beliefs and feelings.
And often, I only realise this when I show a film to an audience for the first time. I’ve had the very strange experience before where, in a darkened theatre, I’ve suddenly realised that everything that’s on screen is in fact revealing something about myself and how I feel that I’ve never been remotely aware of before. It’s like a form of highly expensive, highly public therapy.
METAMORPHOSIS offers an exciting new direction to all of this. Because the documentary film I make as part of this process will be shown in the context of an art exhibition, it necessitates a different approach and a different style than a ‘normal’ documentary would. Because it involves collaboration with an academic and because the source material here isn’t a real life character with a story, but rather an academic source text, it means I’m way outside of my comfort zone. So God only knows what I’ll learn about myself this time. Hopefully it’ll be something nice!
If you want to find out more about my work, follow me on Twitter: @tommyflavin