Nostalgia for Light

The segment of Nostalgia for Light (2010) that we were asked to analyse starts off with a searing shot of a giant telescope. We watch as the telescope position itself and the overhead hatch opens up to reveal the sky above. We’re then met with images of the moon close up as a somber score plays in the background.

The shot of the moon close up then fades into the silhouette of branches rustling, which brings us to the inside of a typical kitchen, showing us the trees outside the window. We are then shown mundane images such as a napkin on the kitchen table, an old radio, a chair, a bed cover etc. while a narration over the top of these images tells us about who I assume is the protagonist and his love of astrology.

The beautiful images of the telescope and the moon are presented to us in a poetic fashion. We are shown these items without any narration, they are simply presented to us as we observe. I think perhaps the film maker intended, with these starting shots, to make us feel dwarfed by what we were presented with. Especially in the sequence with the gigantic telescope, which is presented to us in a close up shot, we feel tiny in comparison to this giant piece of equipment. It makes us realise how small we are in comparison to the vast universe above us.

The next scene showing us very mundane household objects then brings us back into the realm of typical life. The protagonist talks us through his love of science fiction and how ordinary his childhood existence was. After this panning of household objects we are then shown a close up of swirling dust in the air. The narration then turns to the impacts of the Pinochet dictatorship; the narrator speaks about how they were swept into a revolutionary tide, all while the swirling dust evokes imagery of an ocean tide.

Later, when the ramifications of living in a devastation zone are discussed we are shown what looks to be astrology equipment surrounded by junk and swirling dust. As the narrator talks about how the Chilean astrologers continued to work, aided by foreign colleges, and how much astronomy means to many in Chile the camera pans up towards the opening in the roof (which is at that point closed) and the dust seems to clear. It’s a beautiful moment of clarity where we realise how important the skies are to the narrator.

I think the imagery works fantastically with what is being told to us by the narrator. When he is speaking about his ordinary and unremarkable childhood we are shown ordinary, almost boring, objects; yet when the narration turns to more interesting matters the imagery changes. I think this works very effectively to get the message across.

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Crystal Voyager

The 4 minute 12 second clip of the documentary Crystal Voyager (1975) we were shown was certainly an interesting piece of film to try and dissect. I was at first quite confused watching the segment Paul linked us as it showed men working in a junk yard and I had to double check that he had described this as a surfing documentary.

However the shots of the men working in the junk yard soon link up and give meaning to the next scene which shows the protagonist of the film as he explains how he scrounges through junk yards to find lead to use on his boat.

The shots throughout the junk yard I found to be in the style of the poetic mode of documentary, there was no dialogue during this sequence, only music. After having a look at a few other clips from Crystal Voyager on YouTube it became apparent that music was a big feature in the documentary. The soundtrack was written specifically for the film, and to me it gave off a real 70’s vibe that was perfect for this era of film making.  Also if you listen to the lyrics during the sequence in the junk yard it speaks of hard work in the blistering sun, which to me evokes imagery of hard manual labour – which is exactly what the sequence is showing us visually as well.

I think this sequence works well to convey the hard work involved in the protagonists labour on his boat. Once the sequence of the protagonist working on his boat kicks in we are shown a more expositional mode of documentary with the voice over narration provided to us. The voice over is layered over images of the man on his boat as he explains to us the process of modifying his vessel and building different and better parts.

I think the process of these shots worked well together, having a poetic sequence showing us the hard labour in the junk yard, not explaining anything to us but just showing us these men at work, then flowing into an expositional sequence with our protagonist putting that hard work into context and showing us the outcome of his labour and his scrounging – his boat, works extremely well. I think the director might have chosen to put the scenes this way in order to show us what is going on and then contextualise it afterwards. Using this process we engage more with the visual aspect of what’s going on and then focus on how it fits in with everything.

I think this a successful and engaging way to present a film to your audience.

Documentary Modes

It is interesting to consider all the different kinds of documentary styles a film maker can implement in their projects. American documentary theorist Bill Nichols describes these different styles of documentaries as modes and he categorises these as follows: the poetic mode, the expository mode, the observational mode, the reflexive mode and the performative mode.

Our nonfiction projects this semester were not created in the traditional documentary form, that is they could not simply be a short nonfiction film, they were required to utilise at least three different forms of media – including an audio piece, a visual piece (either video or image gallery) and a social media presence. We had to host our work on a website and present this as our complete piece. Considering all this it is hard to categorise our work in these modes that were envisioned with the thought of a traditional documentary film in mind, however I believe there are definitely certain elements of one or two of these modes I can see in the project Silvi and I created.

The most obvious to me would be the observational mode and the expository mode. We attempted to produce a fly on the wall type of feeling when we shot footage down in the town Tecoma; we shot imagery at the protest site and observed the protestors interacting with the security guards around the site, as well as with other people in the town who didn’t support the campaign. We even managed to capture an argument between two of the town members, one supporting the campaign against the McDonald’s and one who didn’t like the way the campaign was going about their protesting. We were present when the two men started arguing and we turned our cameras on to capture the action, the footage definitely has an observational tone to it.

We also embodied the fly on the wall type of filming at the Burger Off rally we attended, a rally held by the protestors in Fed Square, here we simply recorded all the action without interfering and let the material speak for itself. We didn’t edit in any voice over or text, we let the footage show the day as it proceeded.

There were also expository elements I would describe in our project. While we didn’t use narration, in the sequences where we were down in the town of Tecoma observing the protestors there were times when we interviewed them and asked their opinion of the controversy surrounding the McDonald’s, why they were so against the construction, what they thought the outcome of the protest would be etc. Although this wasn’t a narration it certainly guided the structure of the footage, you can certainly change the course of your documentary with the questions you ask so while this wasn’t a narration as such it was a guiding tool to steer the documentary where we wanted it to go.

With these elements and the way the project turned out in mind these are the two modes I would consider most relevant to our nonfiction project.

Fiction Project – Blog 3

Post 3 should cover collaboration and its relationship to effective media production

When two (or more) people come together to work on a project the way you collaborate is an extremely important factor in the whether or not the project will have a successful outcome. If you can’t work well with your partner you have little chance of producing a good product.

Luckily Silvi and I had a great working relationship throughout the production of Toothless. We were presented with some troubles first off with differing schedules; Silvi has been working full time during the semester from Monday to Friday, and I work all day Saturday and half of the day Sunday so it was a little bit of a challenge to envision when we would be able to meet up. However we made it work and worked around each others schedules to ensure we kept up regular communication about the film during the pre-production stage. Flexibility was the key here, we both had to work with each other to ensure the success of our project, and we both put in the time to do so.

During the actual production/filming stage we again put in the effort to succeed. We scheduled our shooting nights on weeknights and ended up having about 5  shoots as this worked best for both of us with our schedules. Shooting on weeknights meant some long days for Silvi as she is working full time (as I mentioned before) but she was committed to the project and happy to put in the extra effort to get everything done.  This kind of flexibility and commitment to the project is what ensured its success.

I was also extremely thankful for Silvi’s resources during this project. As I have no prior experience with shooting films or acting of any kind I would not have had a clue where to source actors or crew from if I had been working on my own. Most likely I would have had to go through a website which might have ended up taking a long time and even ended up not producing any results. Luckily Silvi is involved with a theatre company and knows many actors and people with film crew experience. She was able to lock down our entire cast and crew through people she knew and through word of mouth; this was a huge relief and put our production well ahead of schedule.

After shooting wrapped Silvi and I continued to work together to edit the film. We met up in the edit suites on weeknights and went through the process of producing a rough cut and then a final finished product. Again Silvi’s knowledge came in really handy here, I hadn’t used Premiere Pro before and I was a little bit daunted by the software. Silvi is an experienced Premiere user so again this was really handy – I think I learnt a lot about the software just by watching her work.

Overall I think collaboration is an important part of any working partnerships. As I already mentioned it will be extremely difficult to produce a good end product if you can’t collaborate effectively with your partner. Being flexible is a big factor in ensuring your collaboration will be a success, as well as being willing to compromise. When collaborations don’t work out things can be disastrous; however when collaborators are able to work effectively with one another the end product can be amazing.

I’m extremely happy with the collaborative process Silvi and I followed and I’m very proud of what we achieved.

Fiction Project – Blog 2

Post 2 should look at how the practical process of making your project has influenced the final outcome: what have you learnt about the production process that will allow you to better realise your ideas in the future?

Our production process had a few hiccups along the way, but mainly everything went according to plan. There were a few things we had to think of straight off the bat, first of all where we were going to find a tooth to use in our script. We needed to find something we could substitute for a loose tooth and not pose a choking hazard to our actor. After we decided to use clay to model a fake tooth we had to then ensure that the clay we used was non-toxic. Silvi found some non-toxic clay and fashioned two very realistic looking prop teeth, this solved one safety issue.

Another issue we had to address was the sequence in the first draft where Janette performs the Heimlich maneuver on Alex. We weren’t sure how this would work out and worried about things like the actors injuring themselves. In the final script Silvi cleverly changed this to Janette throwing her phone (we used an empty phone cover for this) at Alex’s back which avoided any potential injuries.

With these initial worries cleared up we started moving towards shooting. We scheduled nights in accordance with everyone’s availabilities and had ourselves a shooting schedule ready to go.

Shooting went well; there were some troubles we incurred with equipment, mainly with the audio kit. A few times the mixer was set differently to what we had worked with in class and since neither Silvi or I are overly familiar with the sound equipment we did initially have some troubles getting everything working. Luckily some of the crew we had were experienced with filming equipment and were able to help us out when we couldn’t figure out what was going on.

I would say in the future it’s a very important factor to ensure your equipment is all checked and ready to go when you want to start filming. We lost a little bit of time fiddling around with equipment trying to get it all set correctly, luckily we had patient cast and crew (and a very helpful crew that could help us) but on a professional filming set using any filming time to fiddle with equipment would be costing your production money.

Another valuable lesson I learned is that it’s important to try and use the same equipment for the duration of your shoot. Silvi and I encountered some troubles in editing because different scenes shot on different nights would appear darker or lighter then others, and  some of the clips had different audio levels. This would not have been a problem for us had we been able to secure the same equipment for all of our shooting nights. This does again relate back to knowing your equipment well enough, I assume the different cameras we used had different settings turned on/off and that was what may have added to the changes in picture between different shooting nights. This reiterated to me how important it is to familiarise yourself with your equipment.

The shooting process also made me realise how important floorplanning and storyboarding is to save time on a production. I had no prior experience with writing up floorplans before this semester so I struggled a little bit with this and I noticed when we came to filming that it was hard and time consuming to just envision what shots to shoot on the filming night. Silvi and I split the film up into the first half and second half for us each to storyboard/floorplan separately and hers were a lot more thought out then mine, I noticed the time it saved us when we knew exactly what shots we wanted to get for a particular scene in advance.

This is another thing I would pay a lot more attention to in the future.

Documentary – Us Now

The documentary Us Now (2009) is a fascinating look at the power of mass communication.

The documentary shows us different groups of strangers who have been bought together over the internet and through mass communication.

There is a group of online young mum’s who exchange child tips with each other and eventually we are shown a group of these women meeting up in the real world. One of the members of this group, Lorayn Brown, speaks about the loss of community in the real world, where there may have been community spirit years ago she alleges this has now disappeared somewhat, and the best way she can see to reinvigorate this kind of community and spirit is through the internet.

Online acquaintances turning into real world friendships is becoming more common these days, another example shown in the documentary is that of couch surfers, people who use a website while traveling to connect with other users who are willing to have travelers crash on their couch. Us Now (2009) speaks about the trust involved in these situation. Placing your trust with a complete stranger is hard for anyone to do, but couch surfers asks this of its users in return for free accommodation. A feedback forum on most websites does negate the problem a little bit, as someone who was a terrible guest may receive harsh criticism warning other users not to let them stay or vice versa, if a host acts inappropriately people can put out a warning via feedback.

Rheingold discusses this concept of online communities in his work Net Smart: How to Thrive Online (2012) in particular chapter 4 titled ‘Social-digital know-how: The arts and sciences of Collective Intelligence’ (2012). Rheingold discusses the differences between real communities and online ones and he alleges that these differences come down to whether or not the members of the communities actually care about each other (Rheingold 2012).

Care is shown in the online groups in the documentary, in particular the online mum’s group, when Lorayn explains that if bad advice is given by one mum on the group other mums will immediately point out that this is not the right advice to follow. This shows that the members care for each other in the real world; they want to provide each other with good advice and help each other out.

Another factor that Us Now (2009) discusses is the threat mass communication poses to the government and public services. Mass communication makes a sort of ‘gift economy’ a substantial reality. Sharing the knowledge you have with others is a small price to pay to be able to obtain the knowledge many others might have and may be willing to share with you. Websites like Mozilla Firefox and Linux, free softwares available for download, demonstrate the power of these online communities and the altruistic actions they can exhibit which can result in benefits for many. While Microsoft spend billions of dollars to create its software, Linux offers free downloads to anyone who wants it. This type of action threatens the status quo.

Fiction Project – Blog 1

Post 1 should include a discussion of how other works and ideas have informed your project

Toothless drew inspiration from a number of different works. First of all I must give all writing credits on Toothless to Silvi; she came up with the story and all subsequent revisions of the script, fantastic work! As soon as I read the story and the first script I was reminded of some of the physical comedy greats, the main one that come to mind for me was Rowan Atkinson, or as most people know him, Mr Bean. The extremely awkward situations presented in the film and the social discomfort between Alex and Janette definitely instantly reminded me of some of the very awkward scenes from the Mr Bean series. I personally find Mr Bean and that type of physical comedy hilarious; it’s so uncomfortable that you can’t help but laugh.

Thinking of this type of comedy for our inspiration Silvi and I watched a lot of material to come up with more motivation, as well as the aforementioned Mr Bean we looked at clips of Peter Sellers in the film The Party (1968). Knowing the style we wanted to go for made things easier, and it was great we were really on the same page with the style of comedy we envisioned for the film.

We then came to the task of casting our film. I don’t know any actors so I was a little nervous about this, I had no idea how we would source the performers for our film. Luckily Silvi has some great connections through the theatre company she works with and was able to find some parties who were interested in playing Janette. As for the part of Alex, again luckily, Silvi’s boyfriend, Matt O’Reilly, is in fact an actor and was excited and eager to be a part of our film. This really showed me how important connections are in this industry; I don’t know how I would have found actors had I been making a film on my own.

With the role of Alex cast Silvi and I held screen tests to cast the role of Janette. We held informal auditions where we had two interested parties read for the role of Janette, reading with Matt as Alex. We recorded these screen tests and looked over them as we tried to reach a verdict. Both girls were fantastic and very different so it was a hard choice to make. In the end Silvi, Matt and I all unanimously decided in favour of one of the readers – Lizzie. Interestingly enough when I showed the clip to the other students in Fiction Project they all, except for Lauren if I remember correctly, preferred the other girl. Despite this we still proceeded with our first choice, it was nice to get a different perspective from everyone but ultimately we decided to stick we our first instincts.

With our cast in place we were ready to proceed!

Social Media

In the video Clay Shirky: How Social Media Can Make History (2009) Shirky discusses to evolution of communication. He states that there have only been five true events in the last 500 years that could be considered communication revolutions. First of all there was the printing press, then conversational media – the telegraph and telephone, next the recorded media – photographs, recorded sounds and movies, then followed by radio and television and last of all, of course, the internet. Where he says radio and television gave us the one to many lines of communication he brings up the point that the internet has now given us, for the first time in history, the many to many form of communication. Shirky also points out that with the internet, which has the power to bring the telephone, movies, TV and others forms of media all into one place; the audience has also now become the producer.

Shirky gives us the example of an earthquake that occurred in China, this earthquake was reported in real time by people who were actually witnessing the event. Photographs and videos were uploaded to the internet showing the destruction, information about the earthquake actually hit twitter before it hit official news outlets. Shirky informs us the last time an earthquake of this size hit China they didn’t report it for three months. They were not given the choice of hiding it this time, as the average person with a smart phone or camera and internet access has the ability to upload this information straight into the hands of people all around the world. This event also lead to the revelation that some Chinese school buildings that had collapsed during the earthquake were infact not up to the quality of the building codes because corrupt officials had been bribed to look the other way. Because of China’s one child policy many parents lost their only child in these earthquakes, and with nothing left to lose they began protesting and demanding answers. Although the Chinese government had let the reporting of the earthquake slide and decided not to try to control it once parents started protesting about the school building scandal the government tried to intervene and begged the protestors to stop. When this failed the Chinese government simply shut down access to sites like Facebook and Twitter as it was impossible to control the flow of information going out to the rest of the world.

This example shows the absolute power social media has to change the world, you can reach millions of people within seconds and there is no way the influx of information going out onto the internet every second can be controlled.

This concept is also discussed in the reading Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media (Kaplan & Haenlein 2010) where it is stated that “Facebook registered more than 175 million active users…this is only slightly less than the population of Brazil (190 million)” (Kaplan & Haenlein 2010). To try and control this amount of people and the information they’re uploading would be completely and utterly impossible. The sheer amount of content uploaded to social media sites is staggering, 10 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, photography site Flickr boats more than 3 billion photographs (Kaplan & Haenlein 2010), with these statistics in mind it is not surprising Shirky tells us social media is capable of changing the world.

In the video Seth Godin: The Tribes We Lead (2009) a similar vein is explored. Godin speaks about tribes. Tribes have existed long, long before the internet and social media but Godin speaks of how the internet can reinvigorate the way tribes function. He explains that the internet gives people everywhere the chance to connect. People who are scattered far away from each other can reach out using the net and unite. He argues, like Shirky, that these tribes can change the world. Godin claims tribe leaders only need to be people who look at the status quo and, finding trouble with it, decide to make a change. Like the parents in China who refused to back down to corruption, leaders aim to make a difference.

Alexis Ohanian gives us an example of this in the video Alexis Ohanian: How To Make a Splash in Social Media (2009). He talks us through the process of his website reddit.com, which is a social news website. This website posts interesting news stories and a group of peers on reddit either vote it up of down, depending on whether they like it or not. Obviously the most popular stories will go to the top and the least popular will fall to the bottom. Alexis gives us the example of a meme that went viral through the use of his reddit website.

The story behind the meme starts with a Greenpeace campaign to stop the Japanese government from killing humpback whales. Greenpeace wanted to put a tracking device on one of the whales, and to personify this movement they decided to hold an online vote to name this particular whale. There were many serious names up for consideration and then a comical one ‘Mister Splashy Pants’.

Someone posted this news article on reddit and the site got really behind the cause, they changed their logo for the day to a whale and then other websites started picking up the story. Through the popularity of reddit and this meme ‘Mister Splashy Pants’ went up in the voting polls from 5% to 70%. Greenpeace were still not sold on the name and decided to keep voting open for another week – reddit really amped up its involvement and Facebook groups started popping up in favour of the name, people started putting up signs in the real world. Eventually Greenpeace relented and after the immense popularity caused by the meme they accomplished their mission, the Japanese government called off the whaling expedition.

This was one just one example of how social media made a big difference in the real world, showing the power that is potentially at all of our fingers.

 

Participatory Culture

In the video Henry Jenkins on participatory culture (2010) Henry Jenkins discusses the nature of participatory culture and how is has progressed over the years.

Jenkins discusses the notion that participatory culture is a result of the technologies available at the time, he takes us back to what he calls ‘Web -10’ in the 1850’s when young people were using printing presses to print zines, which would circulate around the country as part of ‘The Amateur Press Association’. He alleges that codes and initials were used in these zines and that many of these can be traced to the terms we use today on the internet. The types of cultures that emerged around the print can be considered examples of social networks for the time, using the technologies available to establish a culture of similar interests. Jenkins also lists the example of radio operators in the 1920’s when churches, schools and scout groups used these resources and the younger people in these groups took a real ownership of the communication resources available at the time. Jenkins then relates to the science fiction community who started publishing their own works discussing science and fiction works, he then moves on to the underground press of the 1960’s and then the super 8 and camcorder movements. Jenkins’ main point in all of this is that participatory cultures will use the technologies available at the time to create a culture and engage with the world. Creating works they can share with each other and discuss is one of the key elements of participatory culture; Jenkins talks to the fact that participatory culture has low barriers for engagement and that there is strong support for the sharing of work.

In the video Howard Rheingold: The new power of collaboration (2005) Rheingold discusses the new world of collaboration and how people are coming together to get things done. He discusses the history of pre-agricultural hunters banding together to hunt bigger game, back in the time when the wealth was having enough food to survive. Rheingold argues there must have been a form of symbolic communication to bring the hunters together in this way. He speaks of the printing press emerging and within decades millions of people becoming literate, a new wealth had emerged. With this literacy came new forms of collective action within knowledge, religion and politics – this had not been possible before.

Rheingold also discusses how fantastic software like Mozilla can be created without the traditional bureaucratic structure. Mozilla, along with websites like Wikipedia, in which thousands of volunteers have contributed to create a free encyclopedia, show people co-operating with altruistic intentions to create works that can be shared by many. This fits in with the idea of the participatory culture in that like minded individuals got together to create these things and share their work with millions of internet users. The work is constantly being modified and improved.

Rheingold also discusses this in his writing Net Smart : How to Thrive Online (Rheingold 2012) with a similar example of the use of the music sharing software Napster. Rheingold explains how when a user downloaded music from Napster they automatically made the music on their own computer available for download (Rheingold 2012). This type of participation facilitated a participatory culture and community between users who share common interests.

Rheingold also solidifies Jenkins’ description of participatory culture when he states “Participatory culture is one in which a significant portion of the population, not just a small professional guild, can participate in the production of cultural materials” (Rheingold 2012).

 

Reflective Writing – Non Fiction Project

My first trip to Tecoma

My first experience of getting into the action of documentary making didn’t go exactly according to plan.

I decided to venture down to Tecoma to hopefully get some vox pop footage, interviews and photos of the town etc. As I approached the town I wasn’t sure what to expect, while the issue had been in the media a lot and it was clear the town’s people were not going to give up on the cause, I didn’t expect people to be out protesting everyday so I wasn’t sure what kind of material I was going to be able to obtain. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of approaching people who were just going about their everyday business and shoving my phone in their face to record a conversation with them.

Luckily for me when I arrived there were some people at the protest site waving signs and getting attention from passing cars. I was relieved to see this as it made my job a little easier, I preferred to idea of talking to people who are invested in the cause and want to spread their message and garner support, rather then attempting to pester people just going about their everyday life. I went into Tecoma with the intention of recording some audio interviews on my phone, simply getting some material to start the documentary off with. When I spotted the protestors at the building sight I thought I had it made easy, I assumed they would be more then willing to talk to me considering how much the media have covered the entire issue.

After walking around for a bit and getting a sense of the beautiful atmosphere in Tecoma, a beautiful view of the mountains, I finally psyched myself up and approached the protestors who were waving signs at the motorists passing by, some beeped their horns in support of the protest. I approached the three ladies holding up their signs and introduced myself; I asked them if I could ask them some questions, they seemed a little reluctant but agreed never the less. I was a little thrown off by this as I was expecting that they would be eager to talk to any interested parties to gather support for their cause. However I pressed on, but when I asked If I was able to record the Q and A the ladies expressed discomfort and ultimately refused. I understood their position, however my confidence was a little shaken at this as I had really thought people would be more then happy to talk to me about the issue. I honored the ladies wishes and didn’t record our conversation, we spoke candidly for a few minutes about what was happening in the town, why they felt so strongly against McDonald’s presence in Tecoma, how the campaign was going and what kind of support they were getting etc. It was a good chat and even though they had declined to be recorded the ladies were extremely friendly and helpful.

I thanked them for their time and proceeded to explore the protest site area, I didn’t get very far doing this as the security had most of it roped off. Not long after that I went home and reflected on the experience. I found that it had been interesting for me, as I had gone in very sure of myself yet encountered some troubles which momentarily shook me, but I was still happy with the experience overall. Even though I didn’t obtain any recorded material I found it gave me good practice in building the confidence to approach interview subjects and think on my feet about what questions to ask them.

POV Fictionalised Account of Event

Mainly I spoke with one woman when I went down to the protest site on that trip, as she preferred to have her name withheld I will refer to her as Jane.

I feel Jane may have felt unsure and anxious about me approaching her to get an interview about the issue. McDonald’s have sued some members of the town for obstructing the construction site and it seemed like some of the town residents may be on edge as a result of this. She expressed that she was sorry but she was just not comfortable being recorded. I feel like the legal battle with the other town residents was weighing heavily on her mind and that she was scared if she spoke out against McDonald’s she would wind up in a similar position. There is also the issue she doesn’t know who I am, I introduced myself as an RMIT University student but that still doesn’t provide full proof of my character and where I may distribute the material to. I think after I had asked her a few questions and chatted with her about the cause she warmed up to me a little and she did apologise again at the end of our chat for not letting me record the conversation.  It seems the legal battles are weighing heavily on all the town members who are involved in the protest.

I understood her predicament and felt obliged to respect her privacy.