Interviews accompanied by short film (Assignment 1, 151MC)

Seeing as I am looking to try to show hearing voices in a normal and informative way rather than continuing the stigma I decided to take a look at what stigma means and then at a number of books that discuss stigma in detail. I want to look at the subject of voices in a factual and matter of fact way and bridge the gap between voices hears and non-voice hearers.


I read the book, Telling Stories? : Attachment Based Approach to the Treatment of Psychosis, and found some interesting quotes from a section called, In bits: hearing the fragmented narratives of people who experience psychosis by Mark Linington. These were some quotes from the stories that I found interesting:

“his “internalised catastrophe” had now become externally apparent.”

This interested me because it sums up how psychosis appears. People just see how people with psychosis appear on the outside and perhaps don’t stop to think what they must be experiencing on the inside. People see strange behaviour and judge it before understanding the person inside and what fear they must be experiencing.

A man had heard a voice telling him to jump off a building

This shows that voices can be very powerful and can have a strong hold and ownership over people. It is really difficult for people to ignore when a voice is talking to you most of the time.



Health and illness in a changing society by Michael Bury

Stigma is not useful, in fact it alienates people who really don’t deserve to be. This statement is back up in this book when it says that, ‘social factors have a profound effect on both the experience and occurrence of illness.’ as well as, ‘The ‘sick role’ provided a means..through which the individual could temporarily ‘deviate’ and enter a dependent state.’

These quotes are suggesting that stigma and how society treats ill individuals actually effects how well they are and how the illness affects them emotionally and physically. In other words the implication is that, ‘the debilitating effect of stigma has to be managed alongside the effects of symptoms themselves.’

The End of Stigma? by Gill Green

I read the book, The End of Stigma?, by Gill Green. This opening quote really sums up how to move forward with stigma: “I am a sculptor, living with cancer. Note that I do not say, ‘I am a cancer patient’. I am living, and I just happen to have some cancer.” It just depends how you look at your situation, changing the outlook can change a lot. It shows how you can speak openly and publicly about your long term condition without having your identity defined by the condition.


Interview 1 was with a lady who hears voices most of the time. I asked her questions and wrote down the answers. She was very helpful and gave me enough time to write down although this was quite stressful. I think next time, I will ask the person if I can record them as I think this will be more personal and easier to get down all the information. One advantage of writing down what she said was that I expect she felt more comfortable just talking to me in an informal setting rather than formally being recorded where most people that you don’t know well will just freeze up when being recorded.

She shared a lot of information after the interview as well so I will just add these to the interview as a paragraph at the end.


O: When did you last hear voices?

S: Right now

O:When did they start?

S:2 years ago. One of the voices is from childhood though.

O:Who’s voices do you hear?

S: I dont know them.

O: Have you named them? And why?

S:One is called Rachel and another is called Leo. I know this because they said to me.

O: How do your voices affect your daily life?

S:They are annoying a lot so i cant do anything properly. They ask me to do what they want to do. If they dont want to speak to you then I am not allowed to speak to you. They like you though Olivia so it is ok.

O:What have your voices stopped you doing?

S: Housework, going out, talking with friends or anybody else.

O: How do you communicate with your voices?

S:Through talking and seeing them.

O: Are they here with us now?

S:Yes, one is standing right behind you.

O:What makes your voices worse?

S: If i don’t listen to them then it makes them worse. Also if other people comment about my voices.

O:What reduces your voices?

S: Nothing. Even when they are kind they are still helping out with what I am doing at the time like my Art.

O:Do you own your voices or do they own you?

S:They own me. I don’t know why. They are more powerful than me.

O:What do your voices say?

S:They talk about some other people if I want to talk with them. They talk about me alot, what to wear and what I want to do. If they say no cooking then I wont cook. Whether people are good or bad. If you say good things about them then they are nice if you say bad things then they say bad things about you.

O:What good things have happened because of your voices?

S:Urmm, i got some new friends although I lost alot of friends because of them. And I started to do more housework when they made me. They also help out with my art therapy.

O:Do you think your voices are part of you or part of something else?

S:Something else because they are normal people with different opinions, thoughts and personalities. They think for themselves without asking me.


Interview 2 was with a guy who used to hear voices all the time but has somehow managed to reduce their frequency. I wrote out set questions to ask before meeting up with him. I started the questions like this INSERT SCAN OF FIRST PAGE before realising that I should research how to conduct an interview and techniques that work. The main point that stood out to me after researching was that it is important to start with easy questions and lead up to the harder and more detailed ones. This helps to get the subject into the flow of things and in the end, means they will give more information and anecdotes in the interview. So I then restructured my interview questions into this, INSERT SCAN HERE.

The interview went smoothly and he was keen and happy to contribute towards my project. I found what he said very interesting and further expanded my knowledge when he told me that he has ownership over his voices. I have never spoken to anyone before who has that control over their voices. This shows that it is possible!

I decided that for my next interview, I am going to be a lot more involved and talk as though it is more of a conversation rather than a one sided encounter. I hope this will help me get more information and make the other person a lot more comfortable.


Here is my first interview recording:

Take a look at my INTERVIEW WITH INTERVIEWEE NUMBER 2 – Password is ‘151MC’


This was another interview with a different older guy. He spoke a lot more that the man in my first interview and had a lot more anecdotes and stories to tell. I think this is because I have spent more time talking to and getting to know him compared to the first interview, so he felt comfortable around me. He also felt that he was helping me and teaching me about how to cope with voices, so I think this inspired him to share as much as he could.


With my interviews, I have decided to make a short film to accompany them, an artsy type. I did think of doing a documentary style film but I asked the people I interviewed and they would rather stay anonymous. So, I have decided to relate it to the person being interviewed in some way.

Before I even start, I should consider the question: Which software will I need to successfully edit and prepare my footage?

I had a search on the internet and found a video version of the sound editing software I have been using called, VideoPad. It includes editing, pasting and special effects etc. Everything I need to successfully edit and prepare my footage for viewing plus it was free so leaves me with a bigger budget for the rest of my project.

I also read the book, On Film-Making by Alexander Mackendrick. There was a chapter named, A Technique for Having Ideas:

“1. Collecting Data
2. Organising the Data
3. Incubating the Material
4. Preserving the Spark”

Collecting the Data: “Assembling the mass of raw material that is more or less relevant to the subject about which you are expected to be creative.”

I took particular interest in Proxemics Theory, which was made by a psychologist named Edward T Hall, a study of how peoples behaviour and attitudes are affected by the physical differences between them. Remote Distance shows that the person is not identified as a particular person, Personal Distance is used for acquaintances, where a stranger who invades this personal space may be seen as an intruder and Intimate Distance which is family or romantic involvement. These are just a few of the distances listed. (page 223)

There are a number of different shots that can be used when making a film. It is pointed out that when a close up shot of a person is followed by a medium shot of another person then the feelings of empathy and closeness will lie with the person of the closer shot. This is a useful technique to consider.

Exposition is giving the audience clues throughout the film about the back story and what is going on in the story. Most exposition is given through speech and action,however, some can be through scenery (page 22).

It explains how it is important to set the stage so that the audience is drawn to where you want them to be and so that their eyes and ears focus on the aspect that you choose for them.

So, using this knowledge I have now learnt, I must consider certain aspects when producing my own filming. It is important to work out what I want the audience to focus on and then use techniques to successfully achieve this.

On Film-Making by Alexander Mackendrick.


Interviewee number 3 likes to smoke cigarettes, so, first of all, I made a short film of a cigarette burning and slowed the footage down in VideoPad.The smoke looks mesmerizing and the footage is almost a still image with one bit of movement in it, like a moving photo.

Take a look at my first FILM WITH ANDY – Password is ‘151MC’

I spoke to my lecturer and showed him the film with the interview audio layer on top. He liked it and suggested that I make a few more short footages and switch between them whilst the interview is playing. Perhaps every minute?

I made a number of clips to accompany the cigarette clip. I went to Interviewee number 2’s house and spent some time with him. I filmed his room with his TV where he was constantly changing the channel looking for something worth watching. I then filmed his washing machine after he put a load on.

Take a look at my second improved FILM WITH ANDY – Password is ‘151MC’

As I have spent a lot of time with him, I have learnt that he likes green spaces and grass as it gives him a sense of freedom but Coventry doesn’t offer too much green space. So I went to the countryside and filmed a ribbon blowing in the wind with a background of green.

In his clip, he speak a lot about a fear of going outside, i wanted to slowly transition to outside through the use of clips. So, i also filmed the shadow of rain falling on a window as a transition to being inside to outside.


My second Interviewee really wanted to redo his interview as he felt he didn’t express himself quite how he wanted to. So, I booked out an Edirol recorder to try a new technique. I think the audio quality on the Edirol is really great and really enhances my recording.



I watched the TED talk by Eleanor Longden titled: The voices in my head, which was a really interesting video to watch and listen to. She explained her experience of hearing voices and how they affected her life. I liked how she spoke really honestly and without fear of being judged, I think this is how mental health should ideally be portrayed – in an honest and matter of fact way.

“It can snow as late as may but summer always comes eventually”, this was Eleanor talking about recovery from Schizophrenia, she had a positive outlook that no matter how bad it is, recovery is still possible and perhaps even ‘inevitable’.

She finishes the talk by showing how she conqured her voices and went on to work in psychiatry and mental health sevices, she says “its not about what’s wrong with you but what’s happened to you” to cause the voices. She seemed alot more interested in helping the reason rather than just looking at voice hearing as a symptom.


I then did another interview with a girl speaking as I thought this would add to the final compilation by having a female voice too. This is to ensure as wider a scope as possible into the world of voice hearing. I edited it down to a few minutes which you can hear on the link below.

Take a look at INTERVIEW WITH INTERVIEWEE NUMBER 4 – Password is ‘151MC’