Behind the Scenes: The (messy) Creative Process


While interviewing activists in Ireland and Detroit, many of them asked me about the creative process of turning their interviews into a cohesive story and full-length documentary. This process is different for everyone in the filmmaking world, but to give you an inside look at the beginnings of 100 Litres, I thought I’d let you all know what I’ve been up to since returning from Ireland.

Step 1: Set my bags down and go through ALL of the footage we collected in Ireland.

Step 2: Take notes on quotes, moments, and anything else that stands out.

Step 3: Compare these notes with my original outline for the film and see what fits.

Step 4: Get nervous about being silent on social media for too long and try to make a quick, short video.

Step 5: Stress about the short video not making any sense and call my Associate Producer (Kara) in a panic.

Step 6: Chat with Kara and feel my stomach drop when she reminds me of the best way to go about this part of the documentary-making process (these are things I already know from making my last documentary — it’s funny how much information and learning can come flooding back into your brain in one, short conversation).

Step 7: Remember I’m a kinesthetic learner, so Step 4 should’ve been to transcribe ALL of my interviews. Not feel pressured to make a short video.

Step 8: Transcribe ALL of my interviews, while taking notes on possible shorts and needed follow-up research.

Step 9: Transcribing takes ages — I’m still on Step 8.

Step 10: Once all of the transcribing is done it’s time to print everything out, file it in a binder (like in middle school), grab a highlighter (middle school again), read it everyday (rinse and repeat), take notes, and find what works for the final cut and what may be missing.

Since I know the 100 Litres crew needs to head back to Ireland to film the general elections next year, these steps in my creative process will help me hone in on the specifics that are missing. After that, it’s time to come up with a plan for obtaining the missing pieces and get ready for more fundraising, filming, and adding to my binder until the story that needs to be told comes together.

Stay tuned for more updates about our trip and coming shorts — after I complete Step 8, of course.