Simon’s Story For Change
For my Stories for Change project, I teamed up with The Riding for the Disabled centre in Chiverton.
They provide a much needed service to clients with a range of disabilities that want to learn to ride horses – but it’s so much more than that. It’s a community; a place for fun and physiotherapy; and a place where everyone is treated equally as riders, parents, carers and volunteers.
RDA Chiverton is predominately run by volunteers and really needed something to get what they do out there to the wider community; firstly to attract new volunteers and secondly to help tell their story to help with funding of the service they provide.
This seemed a perfect fit for Idenna’s Stories for Change initiative and my passion for documentary film making.
After a few meetings with Diane and Jane (my mum), they were keen for me to do the project. This then lead to several eye opening meetings where I was properly introduced to the world of the RDA and just how much they did.
The next stage was for me to come up with a concept for the documentary. I had done research of previous films about the same subject matter and found they were very wishy washy and twee.
I wanted to make something that not only told their story but also had a purpose, that felt like a proper documentary that you might see on Netflix (lofty ambitions, I know).
With the help of Diane, we arranged a day and half of interviews with volunteers, parents/carers and riders. This was such an amazing part of the process and everyone was fantastic in telling their stories and answering some difficult questions.
Next was filming for two days to get the cutaways. Again, this was an eye opening experience for me as I got to experience what these amazing people did first hand and be part of their world for a couple of days. Some of my main take aways were just how much work the volunteers do and how many volunteers are needed to run these sessions (you will see in the documentary!) as well as just how truly nice everyone was. Everyone was so welcoming to me and were so selfless – and the riders were just absolute legends!
Once all the filming was done it was onto the edit. I had a lot of footage and a lot of interviews to go through, but luckily I had set out with a plan of how I thought the doc would run, so this helped in the edit. However, there were things that just cropped up in interviews and whilst shooting that made the edit evolve.
It was really nice to edit something that wasn’t commercial and was a long form of videography. I think it allows the viewer to really focus on the stories and to let the edit breathe.
With the final edit completed and signed off by Diane and Jane, it was time to get it out there! With the help of Natalie (our Copy Editor at Idenna), we put together a premiere and PR’d the film to local newspapers.
We premiered the documentary at Penmorva Manor Hotel to over one hundred people. The response was amazing! I felt very nervous as a lot of the people in the crowed were those in the doc and it was a sensitive subject matter, but once it was over and we were all enjoying cream teas people kept coming up to me saying how much they enjoyed the film, and that they were excited to show it to their friends and family.
The documentary is now being used to help promote RDA Chiverton and is often used in fundraising meetings. It also helped to raise the profile of the organisation and their work in the wider community.
So fingers crossed, it will continue to make a real difference.
Overall, I think having the opportunity to work for a company that allows its staff to pursue their passions and give back is incredibly important. For me it’s important because we do a lot of advertising work and, as much as I love this, I do need to be able to create work that isn’t corporate. I started my career as filmmaker because I love telling stories and being an artist. It’s important to never forget this.
If you’re reading this and can think of a story that should be told, please feel free to contact me as I’m on the hunt for my next Stories for Change project!