lfracombe Young Filmmakers - The Junction Project
What does homelessness mean for young people today? Realistically, homelessness is not always depicted in the media the way it is felt in real life: the stereotype of a starving old man with a scraggly beard has been long pushed despite the much wider range of people suffering on our streets on both a national and local level – 122,000 16–24-year-olds were homeless or at risk of homelessness in 2020-21. I and other young filmmakers worked on this project to show the true reality of the situation for people our age who feel they have no other options than suffering alone.
It is often pushed that the resources available to those in difficult situations are not meant for those who are young or healthy enough to ‘pick themselves up’, leading to guilt and resistance to reaching out to those who can help, as they believe it is undeserved. It is a real problem for all people at risk of homelessness- the belief that they are not working hard enough or are just ‘too lazy’ to work – having known people myself who have been between homes and jobs, it is no situation a person would put themselves into purposefully.
The truth is that these resources will not only help young people out of duty but are genuinely sympathetic and key sources of assistance for many people, including those at risk of youth homelessness, in our area.
For this shoot we had plan ned to travel to 10 locations overall across Bideford, Barnstaple and Ilfracombe – these were all points for people at risk of homelessness to reach out to and get resources from. As we were only filming for one day we really had to keep up with the pace of our schedule and solve issues quickly if we were to get that location done in time. We had an issue with filming permissions which pushed us back about 30 minutes or so, shortening our already touch-and-go plan.
The Ronin camera gimbal was an especially interesting – and fun – piece of equipment we familiarised ourselves with for some walking backwards shots: for the predominant shots in the project, we had to manage the cast to walk at the right pace for one of our crew to walk backwards in front of them with the Ronin, while the other held a light reflector to get an even amount of light on their face. One of the challenges we had with this was making sure neither us or the cast were tripping over an uneven pavement or walking into a streetlight, so we had a cast member who was not acting at the given time to spot us.
There was a short section of the shoot where we needed to mic up our cast with lavalier microphones to deliver a couple lines we would splice over a time lapse of Barnstaple high street. This was another case of adapting to our situation – we initially intended to film the time-lapse and then greenscreen a full body version of the speaking scene over this, but due to the filming permissions issue we did not have time to set up and take down the greenscreen, so we opted to get some tighter shots of the casts’ heads. It was very interesting to mix the two timeframes over each other and although it was a last-minute change, the shot still came out great.
The experience of creating the short film as an Ilfracombe Young Filmmaker really showed us through the lens of the camera the wide range of options for those who feel they don’t have or deserve a choice. It was a rewarding experience – travelling from Ilfracombe, to Bideford, to Barnstaple and back home to Ilfracombe with some new equipment I'd personally never used before and setting up quickly gave a sense for the hasty environment needed on a project such as this. The stress on efficiency of filming all the locations on the day of the shoot was a key factor in my personal realisations of all the many resources within the North Devon area if I were to personally ever be in the situation of some of our peers.
This project has enabled me to gain work experience in filming and directing a cast, along with developing quick thinking and problem-solving skills. Learning to use new and complicated equipment provided by NDMI was also great as we would have to opportunity to use such professional equipment without them. As I apply to universities and jobs in my future, I am glad I can add this practical experience to my portfolio alongside the transferable skills it has given me.