I was recently asked, after having given a seminar paper on Layers in the Landscape (LitL) as invited speaker at York, what in retrospect, I would "do differently."
I didn't give a very coherent answer.
Afterwards, in discussion with the querant (Dr. Suzi Richer),
I examined why - and came to the rapid conclusion that the reasons were/are that there is, essentially, nothing that I would do differently if I were to go back in time. This is because, without both the negative and the positive experiences, I couldn't refine the method for research purposes, or for future projects. So it would all be a bit pointless.
However, what I would do differently *next time* (and there will be a next time, both with LitL and with a different landscape), would be as follows:
(i) Get written contracts, not just filmed and recorded verbal agreements. This is because people's memories are funny things and a written form is much easier to email than a section of footage.
(ii) Work with strangers, rather than people already known. This would create a contrast to LitL and be an interesting exploration into how one is percieved as a director.
& (iii) - Make sure I got paid!
Thus far, every penny brought into this project has gone on the project - and some. In fact, I think we worked out that more has been spent personally and from supporters than has been funded officially- and that's without taking my own time and skill into account. The only people to have profited financially, have been those in the second film. When engaging with the space between, one is very much as Iain Biggs says: "caught between the pragmatic imperatives of making a living (however precarious), and the reductive demands of ‘playing the game.'" This is even more acute when working as an independent, or on zero hours contracts - and is made even more catastrophic by Universal Credit, wherein the self employed are penalised for being innovative.
Nonetheless, LitL exists - and we had a stupendous event and exhibition opening back on November 3rd. I am part way through writing it up as a Blog piece, it will appear on here sometime after TAG. In the meantime, here are a couple of images and a great review by the Master of Deep Mapping himself,
Dr. Iain Biggs:
Layers in the Landscape: deep mapping and the enlivening of culture.