Monday, 1 January 2018

Making 'The Camp 3'

Is camping - and scouting in general - still relevant to the youth of today?

In The Camp 1 and 2, we looked at what makes the 8th Darlington different to other Scout groups and why people, young and old, agree to spend one week every year in a boggy field. I thought answering those two questions over the course of 50 minutes collectively was a suffice summary of summer camp with the 8th. I was wrong.

In June 2017, I discovered that there was an appetite for a third camp film. I was told that although many of the events that happen at summer camp are the same year upon year, the way they are done and the characters involved are different - and therefore still worth covering. Over a string of emails with Alec, it was decided that we should try to answer the question of whether camping is still relevant to the youth of today throughout the course of the film.

As usual, we tried to maintain two main genres: informational documentary and humour. Hopefully most references can be understood by a wider audience and scenes that are about events unique to the 8th (such as PL’s choice and the X-fire) are explained thoroughly enough that outsiders get the gist of the what is going on.

Since the film is about a small community and for a small community, nobody cared if it was filmed on an iPhone 4S or a Canon EOS C200 4K Camcorder. Nobody cared for sweeping HDR aerial shots or dramatic sepia colouring in post-production. The characters and overarching theme are paramount. Nothing else.

I think we did a good job getting the theme of camping’s relevance in the 21st century to run throughout the film. In the opening, the reasons for why we are asking that question are identified and explained in an intriguing way with an overly-emotive soundtrack and edgy editing. Before the end of the second day of camp is concluded, Maverick gives a really wishy-washy interview where he cannot come to any conclusion whatsoever about camping’s relevance. But gradually, as the film goes on, the interviews get better and the audience can make up their own mind. This is of course accompanied by the documenting of the week with the highs and lows, the fun and the work, the silliness and the seriousness.

I have been asked if the last scene was scripted/faked for dramatic effect. But it actually happened… with perfect timing actually as it occured in the last hour at camp when I still hadn't figured out an ending to the film. Once Erika described what, to her, made camping relevant to young people, I went away and sat quietly, filming people at a high frame rate knowing it could be slowed down to look dramatic and poignant in the edit - like a nature photographer trying not to interfere with the wildebeests… or a pervert with a telescope.

Is The Camp 3 the best of The Camp trilogy, or even better than 100 Years with the 8th for that matter? Only Mark Kermode knows for sure, but you can judge for yourself, I suppose, by watching it here ---->>