My colleague picked up on Kervin when he watched The Secret Millionaire episode set in Coventry. Once he had told me, we sprang upon the idea and attempted to make contact with Kervin. We researched the background of the The Secret Millionaire to find out who Kervin was associated with. This was Anesis who we email but got no reply from. Michael, my colleague, then decided to search for Kervin on Facebook which he was able to do. He sent him a private message letting him know what we wanted to do and Kervin happily obliged to help us out.
We set events into motion and arranged a meeting with Kervin at the Salvation Army building in Coventry. We took a Mirantz audio recorder so we had audio material we could present and use to plan our documentary. Kervin introduced us to his collegue Steve and we went for a chat. We got around 40 mins of conversation with Kervin and Steve recorded plus an extra 20 mins we didn’t get on tape (whilst we were walking with them). After outliner what we planned to do and how, Kervin invited us to one of his soup kitchen meets. This would be invaluable footage to use and we booked a date.
Before the soup kitchen date, I was researching Kervin and Anesis to see if there was any other content on the web about him and what he does. I managed to find a few YouTube clips of him at work and contacted the man who had uploaded them. This man was Rick Merdock and we plan to collaborate with him in the future. He had also filmed a meeting with Barclays who had sponsored Kervin and executives from the company to sleep on the streets of Coventry for a night and during this meeting, Kervin gave a lot of background information which I utilised to create his biography.
Through laising with Rick, I was able to meet him when we were filming the soup kitchen. He filled me in on his background with filming work for Anesis and Kerin and gave me permission to use any of his footage I wanted.
We managed to film a fair amount of footage of the soup kitchen that day. But the best thing was, homeless people would come up to us and ask us if they could do an interview – this was exactly what we had hoped for. We got about 4 or 5 different interviews from people there who told us about Kervin and his work as well as their own lives.
The next part of our schedule was to meet Kervin and obtain a sit-down interview of him. He invited us to his radio show where would could perform the interview but also asked that we film the actual show for him (for private publicity purposes). This footage would later become part of the documentary as this is just one other thing Kervin does to help people.
During the research element of the documentary, I have learnt several things:
– There are plenty of people out there with a story, do the work and find them.
– Don’t take no for an answer.
– And intimate interview works well with just two producers.
– Learn to understand the subject more indepth. Once a relationship is built, more can bebrought out of the subject
and certain ‘difficult’ questions can be asked.
– Don’t jump straight in at the deep end, have meetings to get to know the character without the pressure of a camera around.
– Audio recording equipment is useful during long conversations for later research.
I also learnt a great deal from the development part of producing a good documentary:
– Keep constant communication with the subject.
– Don’t be afraid to get involved as much as you can.
– Things can dramatically change instantaneously so just adapt to the new situation and adjust your plans.