Thursday, 7 May 2009

Burlesque Revealed - The Final Piece


"Eh hem" (clears throat)....In conlusion, to this project I shall now sum up a few things I have to say!

Firstly.........what i learnt & what worked well.

  • I got some fabulous responses from the people of Leicester on my Vox Pops shoot. Without them, this documentary would have been utterly pointless. They gave me proof that people needed a little lesson about burlesque. And although they wern't "as stupid as i thought", they were still lacking in a few areas.
  • I learnt that it was alot easier to persuade people to be interviewed, to let me use thier venues or to let me film them stripping..than i initialy predicted.
  • I also learnt that I probably couldn't have made this without my entourage of camera & sound guys.....who willingly stepped in when i was rushing around trying to interview people. They listened very well to everything I said and cooperated wonderfully when taking instructions from me about angles, zooming, panning, where to shoot from etc.
  • I learnt about the importance of good sound recording. Which, I may not have achieved at all times but am getting better at (i think?).

What didn't work and what else I woul have done:

  • The main issue i found which meant this piece wasn't quite as good or as long as i'd have liked it to be, was the timescale. Ok, probably my fault....not that i didnt work on it enough or stick to my schedule... but that I set myself waaaaaay too much stuff. I originally was looking at creating a 20 min piece! In the end I just plain ran out of time to interview everybody and film all the little extra bits I wanted :(
  • This leads me onto my future plans.... I don't think I want to just leave it at this point.....I'd love to carry on and possibly use this as a starting point for next year's work. I wish i'd have had time to expand on it more and there were so many other things I wanted to include; nipple tassel making, interviews with Jeannie Finlay & Jo LaVey, also interviews with Betsy Von Blush, Treacle Tart and a few of the other girls from the society.
  • I did film short interviews with other girls from the society on the night of thier show, however it turned out to be too dark and too noisy for the footage to be usable.
  • This was a technical problem I came across....I spent a whole night filming & interviewing and the only footage that I was able to use was from the performances.

So....there is probably a hell of alot more stuff I could ramble on about but for the time being my brain feels slightly frazzled (and I'm sure yours does too after reading all this crap).

I hope you all like it, and watch this space.........there is more to come!

(At some point)

Emma :)

Monday, 4 May 2009

Been a while...

Yes, it's been a while since i've updated you all on the progress of my documentary, sorry :(

There is good news and bad news:

Firstly, the good news is that I've done a nice little interview with Amy aka Amber Voltage, dicussing the likes of confidence boosting, routine planning, props, stockings and the opinions of her peers.

The bad news is that I have been unable to interview La Vey (corset maker), due to miss-communication and timing issues.

There are also others i'd have liked to have been able to interview such as Sammy aka Betsy Von Blush (about hair and make-up) and also Jeannie Finlay, director of Goth Cruise.

Something i have become aware of is quite how big this project could be, in terms of expantion, areas to explore, more visual material etc. I wish the timescale for this could have been longer as there is so much more i would do. Maybe this will be open for continuation as a final year project?

Editing is underway now and I will keep you posted on any problems that arise.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Geisha dance - Portishead

Excuse the was shot on widescreen.

Rule Brittania Show

The hangover was bad, but we got some good stuff!
I have now captured all 3 tapes, including that of a performance I did last night at the contour fashion show (@ the Terrace bar), which i am sorely tempted to include in my doc..even though originally I was not going to put myself performing in it.
See pics below of Rule Brittania show and my Geisha performance at Terrace.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Footage from Moulin Rouge
Trip to Paris
2nd-5th March

Finally I shall get round to telling you about my trip to Paris last week.

Considering that my only previous experiece of Paris was one day of rain 8 years ago, with my parents and then being denied the opportunity to go up the Eiffel Tower...also then being denied a trip to the Dali Museum that I so wanted to go to, last weeks trip was a vast improvement!

I did make it to the Dali museum which was pretty ace, I sat and drank tea in THE cafe that Amelie "worked" in, I walked down Avenue Montagne and happened to accidentally end up in THE Dior shop (breathtaking!), drank alot of red wine and most importantly went and visited THE Moulin Rouge!

Ok so I didn't make it up the Eiffel tower, but i did stand underneath it and probably wasted a whole roll of film on it too.

But the Moulin Rouge did give me the opportunity to have a good starting point for my documentary. I can't say i was blown over by the experience and by far it wasn't the most thrilling part of my stay in Paris. The weather was overcast , it was rather windy and as you would expect there were alot of tourists....myself included. The Moulin Rouge itself has an entrance area open to the public, which has a display of lenticular images showing off various dancers and cabaret shows. This is accompanied by a year by year history of the moulin rouge, which if you have the time and will walk round and read. Me...I had a video camera and took the lazy approach of filming the info boards with a view to reading them when I offload my footage.

Having had a gander at all i could (without paying a fortune to see a show), I went and stood outside the Moulin Rouge across the street to get some stills and some footage. Following the success of "Fit Nosh" and my first attempt at presenting...I decided to take on my presenter roll once again. I thrust the camera into poor Andy (significant other)'s hands and stood in the middle of the street talking crap at the camera. This is when it dawned on me that I actually hadn't planned what i was going to say, and having only just visited the place briefly, I didn't really know that much about it.

So after a few takes of me muttering on about the "home of burlesque", we packed up the camera and headed to the gift shop so I could buy a nice little book that would help me out.

Whether or not the footage I got will make it into the final documentary, i do not know. Unfortunately i was not really in a position to go back and re shoot as we were staying with friends who were very kindly trying to show us around the city. There really was alot to fit into 4 days.

Despite all this I am very glad i went and if anything i guess this can count as research.

Since going to the Moulin Rouge I have done alot of thinking and have realised that my goals and focus for this documentary may have altered slightly and that i should be putting my all into the areas closer to home. The Moulin Rouge will deffinaely get a mention in my Doc, but for now my focus is with the society and the upcomming show "Rule Brittania". I think originally I may have been aiming to pack a little bit too much into something which will only be about 10-15 mins in length.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Paris - Moulin Rouge

Here are a few images from my trip to paris and my visit to the Moulin Rouge (a key-stone in the history of Burlesque).

For other details of my trip to Paris check out my Paris Blog!

Images from a book I bought about the Moulin Rouge (from the gift shop...also a flyer for the Moulin Rouge including prices for performances. EXPENSIVE!!

Research & Development

My research will comprise of the following:

  • Knowledge already gained from being a member of the Burlesque Society
  • First hand experiece (as a Burlesquer
  • Interviews with other members of the society
  • Library research
  • Internet research
  • Interviews with people who work alongside the burlesque industry, hopefully Jo La Vey, a local corset maker. (
  • Possible interview with Jeannie Finlay, director of "Goth Cruise".
  • The ultimate bible of burlesque: "The Art of Teese/The Art of Fettish" by Dita Von Teese

I am also taking a trip to Paris next week and then in April I will be going to a 3 day burlesque convention in London....a great opportunity for both research and footage for the project.

As i said earlier, this is a topic which I have strong access to and have pleanty of contacts and opportunities to make use of during the project.

Possible risks/problems:
Filming permission in Paris & London (at events)
Timescale, London event being in April
Gaining backstage access to shows.

Time Plan

Week 23: Paris trip. Visit Moulin Rouge...also any other prime burlesque spots...maybe try and get to a real french burlesque show.

Week 23: Film at auditions for Demon Belles "Rule Britannia" show. Collect Vox Pops on the topic of "Burlesque" out and about in Leicester.

Week 24: Interviews; Luci King (Cindy Minx) founder of Burlesque Society, Shannon (Treacle Tart) , Emma Jennings (India Starr), Sammy Brennan (Betsy Von Blush) friends and fellow burlesquers, Jo La Vey, local corset maker. Possibly Jeannie Finlay, director of "Goth Cruise".

Week 25: Continuation of interviews. Film at weekly Burlesque Soc meeting, in the lead up to the show.

Week 26: Demon Belles "Rule Britannia" show, backstage and general event footage. After show Vox Pops from audience.

Week 27 part 1: Catch up on creative side of burlesque, nipple tassle making, feather fan making, hair piece making. Interview Darkteaser Burlequer: local proffesional burlesquer and dance teacher.

Week 27 part 2: Chaz Royales Annual London Burlesque Festival.

Week 28: Logging rushes, begin editing

Week29 & 30: On holiday

Week 31: Finish editing

Phew...alot to get my head round but really excited about this project now.

Emma aka Scarlett Soutine

Demon Belles facebook page

La Vey myspace page

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Uncovering Burlesque - An insight

When faced with this project I found myself thinking desperately for something which maybe I had shoved to the back of my mind, an idea which at the time hadn't seemed feasable. Then after some time I realised that no such idea existed, my bank of ideas had run out and my eyes had washed over, probably being distracted by something else, completely irrelevant to the course.

Then out of the mist (in my's very misty) came something which grabbed me. I wanted to make a documentary piece shedding light on an issue which many people are miss-informed about. A subject which I have always had an interest in...and more recently gained inside access and first hand experience....

For five months now I have been a member of the university's Burlesque Society, The Demon Belles. During my time so far I have learned so much more than i could ever have anticipated and have really grown quite passionate about it. I now feel that I want to publicise the topic and get people interested and ready to learn what it's really about.

People hear "burlesque" and think of strippers, sleazy night clubs and sleazy women. People who think this are WRONG!

Yes there is sleaze out there, but there is a whole lot more to burlesque. This is why I would like to create a documentary piece investigating burlesque and shedding light on it for people who may not know what it's about or that it even exists.

Being a bit of a documentary junkie I realise the ammount of research involved in producing such a piece of work. I feel that I am in a very good posotion for getting interviews, event shoots, and general inside information. I have a list of people who I can speak to/interview and get contacts from.

I am a big fan of documentaries which perhaps explore the stranger things, things which aren't commonly covered and are possibly contravercial. My main man is broadcaster Mark Dolan who makes wonderful documentaries on the weirdest of topics. His "The World's....and Me" series grabs me. Although some may see his work as exploitative, he does it in an endearing way which never leaves you feeling completly biased. I like his documentary style and would deffinately call upon his work as inspiration.


Mark Dolan - "The World's Tallest Woman and Me"