Dogs, Dogs Dogs- A Couple of Doggy Interviews

Over the past week whilst I have been at home in Preston I have filmed a couple more interviews for my documentary about the issue of dog abandonment in Preston. I think it’s important for me to look at other areas of Britain when I am talking about how the recession is having an impact on pets as it is a national issue and I feel that simply focusing upon South Wales would be a little bit restrictive.

Preston City CentreThe first interview I conducted was on Monday with Andy Howard who works in the Environmental Health Department at the Preston City Council headquarters. I originally contacted him about the possibility of filming alongside one of the dog wardens and he seemed very interested in being a part of my documentary. I am glad about this as he gave me the facts and figures I needed. For example, according to the Stray Dogs Survey commissioned by the UK’s largest dog welfare charity Dogs Trust has shown a distinct dip in the number of stray dogs collected in Preston compared to the rest of the UK. During the interview Andy talked a lot about this and about the microchipping events the council runs which he thinks is  a key contributor to this doggy decline. As far as I am aware this interview went incredibly well and I got a lot of information from a different  perspective and I know that this will help with giving my documentary more depth.

My only concern with it is that we were filming in an office which was not the most interesting of locations and the way he was positioned meant that the light was shining onto his glasses. Although this was the only quite place in the building we could film and him being seated in that position was the only way that  I could position the camera and frame him well, I am disappointed and would have liked it to have been better quality. Nevertheless, I do not think that it is so bad that it will have ruined my documentary and the quality of what he is saying is good anyway.

My second doggy interview was on Friday with a dog warden, Sonya Wheeler, and after having some difficulty managing to locate her due to various council building being closed down I feel that it went really well. Unfortunately, the office we had to film in was a little bit small which meant I couldn’t really position her differently but by physically bending down to interview her on the chair meant that she was well framed anyway. I would have thought that as a dog warden you would want to highlight the problems with stray dogs however after it taking months to find one to talk to I knew that this wasn’t the case and in this interview, although I tried my hardest, I did get some rather short answers. Despite this, I also got a couple of good answers about the specific breeds they see more commonly than others and why she thinks this is so, which I think will be a good direction to take in my documentary.

In terms of the cutaway shots I got, due to the building being relatively tiny and plain there wasn’t that much of a range and I tended just to get a variety of shots of the same things. I am pleased with my set-up shot of Sonya though as she is walking to the dog warden van and getting in it which I feel is a good introduction to what she does. I would have liked to have got some footage of her collecting a dog on the streets as gaining this actuality element would have really brought something to my documentary however with the numbers of stray dogs going down in Preston, Sonya informed me that it is quite rare to collect one nowadays and with the limited amount of time I had, it would have been too difficult to wait around. I do think that what I do have, however, is ideal for this section of the programme.

Overall these two interviews have been a success and I feel that by getting a different angle on dog abandonments and looking at one area where the figures are going against the national norm is going to really broaden and deepen my documentary.


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