Research For Spirituality

sun in hands

We asked a range of students what spirituality meant to them. The most popular responses included these phrases: 

  • Rest for your mind
  • Time to think things through.
  • Values and morals.
  • Inner self
  • Mind and soul
  • Sense of freedom and expression.
  • Religious beliefs and having faith in something
  • Ghosts
  • Afterlife

We are going to represent 4 types of characters to incorporate everyone’s different opinions on what spirituality is. The 4 types of character we wish to use are:

  • Religious Spiritual
  • New-Era Spiritual
  • Non Spiritual
  • Supernatural Spiritual

We are going to incorporate spirituality into our documentary in the way of free expression as well as methods with religious and supernatural connotations. Also, we look to include a character that leads a lifestyle that includes no set spiritual beliefs or values. By using characters that are so different in terms of spiritual beliefs and lifestyle there is an opportunity for character development and creating driven narrative that has drama. It also helps in highlighting the attributes of each individual character due to their differences in their general domineer, the conflict it creates between them and the dissimilarities of their decisions.

New-Era Spiritualty

One character we look to create is one that finds spirituality through free expression rather than other methods. Also, we have found that religious and spiritual aspects aren’t always interesting to a student audience from our survey. Also, we don’t generally find religious or spiritual discussions in shows such as TOWIE and Made in Chelsea that target this audience. We can show this view due to the broadened definition of the term spirituality in the modern western world where religion doesn’t go hand in hand with it. This method of showing spirituality is referred to as post-traditional spirituality. Phillip Sheldrake said that Modern spirituality is centred on the deepest values and meanings by which people live. It embraces the idea of an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality. By taking this idea it creates a documentary that is intriguing as it is a binary opposite to the materialistic views of TOWIE and Made in Chelsea. By creating this character that holds these core values of finding inner peace and satisfaction through freedom of expression and immaterial lifestyle it gives many routes for possible narrative structures.

Religious Spirituality

Another character we look to include is a religious one. We aim to show the religious aspects of spirituality through the means of this character. There are many angles that can be taken on this, but we have chosen to focus on the Christian lifestyle. We feel that this will be the easiest to convey and understand due to the fact that the majority of people in Coventry are of Christian faith  (53.7%) 2011 Briefing – Religion.pdf (2011 consensus). By applying core values and beliefs of Christian spirituality we will develop the character and a narrative about how they react to outside stimulus. This reaction will also contribute to how we create generic conventions of the Structured reality genre. This is due to the fact that these types of documentaries are structured around drama and conflict. These conflicts will exist between the outside stimulus, other’s values and this character’s values.

No Set Spirituality

This character will exist for a few reasons. Firstly, he exists to create conflict. This is done through discussions with people with beliefs. These discussions also exist to show other character’s beliefs through due to the additional character’s dictations towards him/her. Also, he exists to represent a large view in Coventry, as the second largest religious view in the consensus is no religious belief. Furthermore, in the consensus states that people of the student age in Coventry are more likely to have no religious beliefs than the average person so it is even more important to represent this group.


72 Hour Documentary Beginning

documentary-genreToday we were given our 72 hour documentary project. Whilst we feel it will be difficult to create a text of a high standard in such a small time frame, we look to relish the challenge and create something that both fits the brief and exceeds our expectations of what we can create as media producers. After our success in winning best Baby documentary in our home group, we have confidence that we can function well in our group, have good ideas and produce a documentary to a good quality. With more time and better equipment, we feel that we can only improve.

For our project we received the theme of spirituality, the target audience of students, the location of Hillfields and the documentary type of structured reality. This is not an ideal situation and it will be difficult to piece these items together to make a coherent and entertaining documentary. However, since we are targeting a structured reality at a student audience, we feel this can  be done as we understand the student audience and structured realities well.

We think that spirituality is a very difficult theme to tackle. In modern media, spirituality and religion is often not discussed or portrayed due to the fact that it is difficult to without causing offence. So, we look to portray characters with different spiritual beliefs in an attempt to show all the different sides of the spectrum. With the use of outside stimulus, we can show others spiritual views whilst still adhering to the structured reality documentary type.

Types of Documentary

Documentary’s represented reality at the start of film making in the late 1800’s. Actuality was used to describe these types of films. But, documentary is a contested term. It is not easy to define. Even these early films were constructed. All details in these films were made upon decisions; nothing is neutral, no matter how natural it looks. This is very interesting to look at things in this manner. No matter how natural something looked, you have to look deeper into the reasoning why they chose to film that instead of something else and what this means.


Nanook of the North in the 1920’s showed things, which weren’t factually correct. He used equipment and clothes, which weren’t generally used by the protagonists (intuits) in the documentary. He made his own interpretation and staged the actions to make a point of the changing culture. This shows how documentaries are not impartial and can differ due to a variety of factors. When analysing documentaries we should watch them with this in mind. We have to think what interpretations the creator had and how they are being shown to us.

John Griesrson is a key theorist and documentary maker. He defined a documentary as “the creative treatment of actuality”. This shows us that he viewed it as not a journalistic approach and more of a narrative approach. It is more of a narrative due to the fact that they are only showing certain views of reality rather than all of it and voicing opinion on it.

John Corner characters the relationship between TV and film documentary.

  • Evidential Mode 1: Reactive Observationalism 
  • Evidential Mode 2: Proactive Observationalism
  • Evidential Mode 3: Illustrative
  • Associative Mode

Modes of Speech:

  • Overheard Exchange
  • Testimony
  • Expositional Mode

Bill Nichols identified there was 6 types of documentaries including genres and sub genres:

  • Poetic –(dreamy, lacks structure, inner truth)
  • Expository –(informative, factual, assumes a right and proper answer, objective)
  • Participative –(filmmaker is part of the documentary)
  • Observational –(a witness of events, attempt to capture reality without intervention)
  • Reflexive -(acknowledges the constructive nature of the documentary and flaunts it, not the truth but a truth.)
  • Performative -(emphasises the subjective nature of the documentary maker)

We could argue there is another type of documentary: Staged reality. Fly on the wall perspective.

Coventry City Documentary

Our documentary focuses on diversity in Coventry city centre, we also decided to film and edit our documentary in a poetic style, this is made clear to the viewer through certain generic conventions, which we have used.

Firstly, camera movement; We used point of view shots to give a first person view of Coventry, this helped give the illusion that the viewer was walking through the city centre, it also allowed us to focus completely on shops and stalls when needed in a fashion that appeared as it would if someone was actually in the city.

We decided that we wanted the audience to make their own opinion of Coventry, to do this we had no clear narrative, which fits into the poetic documentary style. As well as not having a clear narrative we also had very simple opening titles are also very simplistic, only giving the information which was vital, again allowing the audience to draw their own meaning from it.

The iconography featured in our documentary is similar to that in any documentary; we filmed real people and real places, therefore documenting reality. There is also iconography which makes the documentary identifiable as a poetic documentary, for example, we only used images, no dialogue (so the audience do not have their opinions influenced too much) , this had a very stylised and unusual effect, this not only suggested it was a poetic style documentary but also shows that images are more powerful than words. Finally a lot of footage was used and condensed into a small amount of footage, this also suggests the documentary was poetic.

The music used was a simple, calm acoustic song, it gives off a positive vibe which backs up the positive representation we were trying to give. We wanted the documentary to look as natural and realistic as possible therefore we used natural lighting, real people, no costumes and few special effects, the only effects used was to speed the footage up to symbolise how you can rush through life but you should take the time to notice the things around you.

Representation of Gypsies

Representation is a critical concept: “The use of language to say something meaningful or to represent the world meaningfully to other people.” Stuart Hall came up with the circuit of representation through five areas: identity, production, consumption, regulation and representation. The media uses this to get the messages across to their target audience.

Sometimes the media can be misleading, making the viewer think that what they hear and being told are all true. When you hear the word “Gypsy” what’s the first thing that comes into your mind?  Travellers?  Thieves? Do you know who they are exactly? Where they come from or what they do?

In this session we looked at how gypsies are represented, for example in the TV show called “My big fat gypsy wedding” the characters in this show aren’t “Gypsies” they’re actually Irish travellers and unless if you know enough about gypsies you wouldn’t know that what you been told isn’t true.

Stereotypes have leaded us to see gypsies in this way:

The name came from a group of travellers from India who came to Europe, mainly Spain and this is where the “Flamenco” music came from.  During the war, Hitler persecuted many of them so there isn’t many gypsies left hanging around.

We looked at a famous artist called “Camaron” who can sing and play guitar. A religious gypsy who managed to get into the industry and make himself seen in the light by a lot of fans, he was seen as a hero. As a gypsy he was well represented, with his admirers carrying him on his coffin with the gypsy flag.

Narrative: The Hero’s Journey

Joseph Campbell (1907-1987) was an American mythologist whose core belief he stated as:

All cultures have grown out of myths. They are founded on myths. What these myths have given has been inspiration for aspiration. The economic interpretation of history is for the birds. Economics is itself a function of aspiration. It’s what people aspire to that creates the field in which economics works

Campbell believed that the hero’s journey was always the same no matter what the story was. He also believed that there was only one ‘myth’, which he called a monomyth, and all heroes followed this template.

The 17 stages of “The heroes Journey” are:

  1. The call to adventure – The point in a person’s life where something important happens, sending the person in a new direction.
  2. Refusal of the call – The individual may refuse to follow their call to adventure, they may feel afraid, not be able to leave responsibilities, or they may not feel strong enough to begin the adventure.
  3. Supernatural act – Once the person starts their adventure, a magical helper or guide to provide the person with help. (The helper does not have to be human)
  4. Crossing of the first Threshold – This is the point when the individual begins their adventure properly, the hero leaves their familiar surroundings and their normal life and heads into unknown and possibly dangerous places where the rules are not known.
  5. Belly of the whale – At this stage the individual is between worlds, for many heroes at this point they may feel very frightened and alone as they become aware of the challenges ahead of them and the responsibility they have.


6.   Road of trials – the hero endures a series of tests, tasks or ordeals that the person must undergo to become a ‘hero’.
7.   Meeting the mentor – After surviving the road of tasks and trials, the hero may experience feeling of love, this can be romantic love or love for friends and family, this helps the hero gain strength and wonderful feelings of well being from the experience.
8.   Temptation – The hero will become tempted to quit the journey and go home.
9.   Atonement – This is the main point of the journey, all previous steps have be leading towards this, all events to follow will come from this moment.
11.  Apotheosis – After surviving the pervious event the hero may have an experience of the oneness and beauty of the universe, this is a period  of rest and reflection.
12.  The ultimate boon – The achievement of the goal of the quest.


12. Refusal of the return – When the adventure has been a glorious/satisfying one the hero may refuse to come back to normal life, the hero may not want to return because they fear their message will not be heard.
13.  The magical flight – the hero must steal the boon (something helpful/beneficial) and make a daring escape, this may be as adventurous as beginning the adventure.
14.  Rescue from without – The hero may need a magical guide or helper to return from the adventure.
15. Crossing of the return threshold – The hero crosses a threshold to return to normal life, the hero must remember what was learnt during the adventure and use it to make life better for themselves and others.
16. Master of the two worlds – The hero has learned how to be comfortable with the world, they are ready to be a guide for someone else.
17. Freedom to live – Once a person has survived a great adventure, they learn to accept him/herself and become free from the fear of death.

The heroes journey can be applied to the majority of stories, “Harry Potter” can be used as an example:

  1. The call to adventure – Harry receives his Hogwarts letter
  2. Refusal of the call – Harry’s uncle does not let him open his letters and does not wish for him to go to Hogwarts
  3. Supernatural act – Hagrid visits Harry to personally deliver the letter and the help Harry escape his uncle and Aunt and go to Hogwarts
  4. Crossing the threshold – Harry visit diagonally with Hagrid and begins to learn more about the wizard world
  5. Belly of the whale – Harry learns about who he really is, why he has a scar on his forehead and who voldermort is
  6. Road of trials –Harry faces many trials during his time at Hogwarts, for example in “Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone” Harry faces a series of challenges when trying to fine the philosopher’s stone
  7. Meeting the mentor – Harry feels a love for his friends and some of his teachers and Hagrid because of all the help they have given him along his journey
  8. Temptation – Harry is usually agar to take on challenges however he often tries to prevent his friends from joining him worrying that the tasks he will face are too dangerous.
  9. Atonement – each book/film has a series of tasks that must be completed to achieve a certain goal
  10. Apotheosis – this occurs at the end of each film
  11. The ultimate boon – For example in the first film Harry retrieves the philosopher’s stone.
  12. Refusal of the return – Harry prefers to be at Hogwarts than living with his uncle and aunt
  13. The magical flight – the return home is usually magical but not always dangerous
  14. Rescue from without – The magical Hogwarts train returns Harry home
  15. Crossing of the return threshold – Harry must learn to not use magic while he is not at Hogwarts
  16. Master of two worlds – Harry becomes comfortable being a wizard living in the muggle world
  17. Freedom to live – After his first year at Hogwarts, Harry’s life becomes more comfortable as he learns to stand up to his uncle and aunt and moves out of the cupboard under the stairs.



We are going to be creating what we believe represents the ideal man or woman, when doing this we must look at the contexts surrounding our chosen gender’s sexuality.  We had to construct an image which we think fits the image of the person that we are trying to represent

In our blog, we had placed images of female celebrities that we think are good looking and it would be parts of each of these pictures that would create our ideal woman. I believe that we have made our person in this way because this is what the media represents as what a good women look like. They do this through the use of different media techniques. We are shown these women that are good looking and are shown that this is the way that women should look like. They are represented like this across the world and due to this and we as media users also believe that this is how women should look like. So, our ideal women must also be represented in the same light.

When thinking about our person, I feel that we have looked at it with a male point of view when getting these images. We didn’t think about their lifestyle or what they would act like, we mainly focused on their looks. This shows the way that many media makes males sexualise their ideal woman as we have focused on physical features.


We have used very stereotypical images of what women should look like due media represent celebrities. Media has also created the stereotype that all these women are flawless. When looking at the images that we have gotten, it is hard to argue with that statement because of the fact that the women in our pictures do look fla

wless due to editing of the images. But, the issue that comes with this is that these aren’t fair representations of what real life is like. Not every women looks like this, and the fact that the media use representations like this, we start to truly believe that this is what beauty is. You can tell that by the way we have represented our ideal female, we have followed the way that the media constructs what a good looking woman is.