If you’ve had a look around our website and clicked play on a few of the videos, you’ll be aware that we spend most of our time making short bits of content, rarely even getting close to the 5 minute mark. To make a change, last year, we decided to make a mini-documentary for Shoreditch Trust - we’d worked with the Trust a couple of times previously on their Creative Mentoring scheme and now they wanted us to make something to help promote their Blue Marble Training programme.
The programme offers people the chance to train and work in the kitchen of a real restaurant and eventually open up a career in the catering industry. Having had an office above the Waterhouse Restaurant where the training takes place, we’d met a lot of the trainees and more importantly, eaten a lot of the food they’d prepared.
For a while we’d been itching to do more documentary-style filmmaking and we thought this was a great opportunity. We knew that there was a story to tell, about the trainees and about why the kitchen, with its long hours and all its very apparent pressures, made such an effective environment for young people who had previously struggled with attitude, authority and commitment.
The production was split into two parts. We began by sitting down and talking to six of the trainees with an audio recorder but no camera - we wanted the discussion to feel as natural, unforced and unguarded as possible. Those interviews gave us about 7 hours of audio to work with. Eventually, we decided to concentrate on three trainees: Leanne, Jack and Lucca. All three had their own distinct story to tell, their own unique circumstances and personalities.
While we got a very rough half hour edit together, we arranged to spend a day with each of the trainees and a camera. We kept filming simple and relaxed, a tiny crew, one hand-held camera (the wondrous Arri Amira) and no lights. Finally we shot for a day in the kitchen, with all of the trainees and an open Waterhouse Restaurant complete with paying customers and food being served.
The edit was necessarily epic, we had so much great material to play with. We had to be brutal, making sure to avoid cramming too much in and potentially ruining the pace of the film. We tried several configurations before settling on the final structure, splitting the dream-like slow-motion sequences out from the more frenetic live action scenes in the kitchen.
We hope you like the film, we’re really proud of it.
Massive thanks to: Jacqui Roberts at Shoreditch Trust, who got the idea from the start and let us run with it; Mike Simpson, the DOP who made the film look so beautiful; Siena Bevan, who patiently worked her socks off to bring the whole thing together in the edit; and to the trainees, Leanne, Jack and Lucca, for giving up your time, telling your stories and inspiring us from start to finish.