Evaluation and Reflection on Initial Research

I want to make a documentary about British squirrels, because they are my favourite form of wildlife, I find them fascinating. Moreover I enjoy documentary making (learned from unit 5 of my current course) and would like to utilise the codes and conventions of wildlife documentaries I studied earlier on in the year.  I have completed research all about squirrels in Britain. I have covered a wide range of area’s of interest, such as the biology, the habitats and the rise and decline of squirrels.
I have focused my research on the reasons for the rise of grey squirrel populations and the apparent decline of red squirrel populations. The reasons for this are; the decline of red squirrels, or the novelty of feeding the boisterous greys, seem to be the common public interests in squirrels. A focus on this area will allow me to target my documentary to a large range of people, and my documentary is more likely to be appealing to people, or grab their interest.  One of the large factors in the rise and decline of squirrels is habitat, meaning I will be able to make use of beautiful, cinematic, locations close to my home.
My research has proven that I will be able to contact a huge range of ‘professional’ contributors in order to lend credibility to my information, and strengthen the narrative.
I have also been looking at a large amount of widely differing existing products of a similar nature. I have looked at wildlife documentaries, particularly those concerning squirrels. This has helped me to form a direction for my narrative, as a lot of the documentaries are expository, led by a voice-over, and use high quality and often dramatised wildlife shots, to illustrate the information.  I would like to replicate this, using a variety of contributor interviews to lend credibility to my facts, and also to present a balanced viewpoint on the reasons behind grey squirrel over taking the reds. The carefully gathered facts, and meticulously filmed and selected cutaways to illustrate will make my documentary entertaining and informative.
The research and recces for the locations I have chosen proved very useful as I was able to secure contributors early on, and then base the rest of my research and narrative development around the different information each contributor would bring. It also helped me to work out the logistics of filming, and start to visualise how my documentary will look.
All of the research i have undertaken has been utilised in forming a purpose, narrative, and style for my wildlife documentary.


Case Study Research

I have been researching different location that are known for large populations, or great conservation efforts of squirrels. Here I will gain wonderful shots and interesting, credible interviewees.

Below is a file of my research. This is  working document and will be updated as necessary.

Case Studies

Below is an updated version of my research file for case studies.

Case Studies 24 April

Research All About Squirrels

Below is a research file containing all of my research  have completed online. I will re-post each version as it is updated.

All about squirrels    13/04/17

I also have a few pamphlets from the wildlife trust nature reserve, and books from the library.

Below is an updated copy of my research files.

All about squirrels  20/04/17

I have learned a lot about squirrels, including about their biology, lifespan and habitat.

Pine Tree’s in Formby Nature Reserve

The hardest part of the process has been deciding on area’s to focus my research on. I have decided to focus on a question, Why are British red squirrel populations falling, whilst the immigrant grey populations rise? My documentary will have balanced contributions from both sides of the argument.




Loation Recce – Formby Squirrel Walk 12/10/2017

On the 12th April I went on a location recce to Formby, a nature reserve local to Merseyside, of where I have completed a case study related to their population and conservation of Red Squirrels.101_0255

I completed the walk with my three year old daughter, and my partner and his mum, so we were not the most savvy of squirrels spotters. None the less we saw six red squirrels, and captured all of them on camera, gaining footage of one, who ran close to me looking for food. If I would have had a high quality camera and tripod the shots would have been brilliant.

I also spoke with a member of Wildlife trust staff, who took down my details, and details of my film and the shoot. She promised to put me in touch with their resident ‘squirrel expert’, who will hopefully be happy to complete an interview with me, lending her expertise to my documentary.

First red squirrel spotted!

I am confident Formby nature reserve will be a perfect location for shoot.

It is worth noting that car parking costs 6 pounds, and the train station is around 20 minutes walk from the main reception desks and the squirrel walk. I will consider travel in my production budget.


The walk itself is only 1/2 miles, meaning with enough time located to shoot I am confident we will be able to get the required shots.