How I Premiered My Documentary to a Sold Out Venue

To celebrate the release of Digging Crates, a documentary directed by SAE Film Degree Alumni Samuel Mansell – we sat down with him to talk about his filming process, future projects and time at SAE. Premiered to a sold out venue, Digging Crates brings hip hop and African sounds to decolonise the Pitt Rivers Museum’s instrument collection.

What was the inspiration behind Digging Crates?

The inspiration behind Digging Crates was from an idea the creator and long time mentor of mine, Oxford veteran youth worker and prolific MC and poet Rawz had. The focus of decolonisation in the museum space is a concept that seems to be widely discussed at the moment and I feel like he felt a special connection to it because of his ethnicity too.

What was the filming process like?

The filming process was amazing. Not only was I able to work with my friends in an exciting new space, I was able to really hone in on my directing skills and as DOP get some much needed practice with the new camera (which I had only purchased in the week prior). I’m sure I could have shot it better but I’m happy with my results nonetheless.

What were the biggest challenges you faced during the production of Digging Crates?

The biggest challenges we faced during Digging Crates were audio based. As I had not spent much time with the camera, I had not adjusted the audio settings adequately to pick up on conversations on segments where we weren’t recording with the boom mic. This meant that the sound designer and music producer on the project King Boyden from In-Spire Sounds had a massive task trying to mix and master some of the super quiet audio recordings. Safe to say his talents and stringent attention to detail meant we got the audio sounding as good as possible despite my mistakes!
Luke Draper

Do you have any plans for future projects?

I’ve been fortunate to have so many exciting projects I’ve been involved with in the last year and it looks like 2022 is going to follow suit. I’m currently working on trying to get a children’s picture book published, looking to release a spoken word piece commissioned by BBC Arts and I have a few exciting documentaries on the go at the moment too. My business ‘DAW Media’ is soon to become ‘Drop All Words’ under a rebrand and so that’s another big thing for me that I’m eager to see finished off.

What made you choose SAE?

I chose SAE because of the focus on technical knowledge and the practicality of studying a filmmaking course in my hometown. I wanted to devote my time to learning real world skills in my field as far as possible and the two-year degree in film and TV production was ideal!

How did your time at SAE prepare you for making films?

My time at SAE on my film studies prepared me especially well with the understanding of all the moving parts of the film industry. Knowing about the hierarchical structure of a crew helped me to direct Digging Crates while maintaining personal relationships.
Luke Draper

What do you enjoy most about your degree and time at SAE?

Something I enjoyed the most about SAE would be my time working with the facilities and using the equipment. I’m lucky enough to still be able to borrow some of the lenses and facilities now!

What would you say to someone considering applying to SAE?

I would say, if you’re considering studying film production at SAE to go for it! I’ve heard cracking reports about all of the different campuses so whether you plan to move away or you have one locally to you, I’d definitely recommend checking them out if you’re thinking about a creative degree!

Thank you to Samuel Mansell for taking time out of his very busy schedule to talk to us and congratulations on the success of Digging Crates!

If you would like to find out more about our Videography and Film Production Degree you can find out more here.

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