Research and Evaluation- Sound

Our task was to create a 5 minute documentary sound feature on a certain topic. The initial ideas that Ammie, Shane, Lauren & I came up with included the topics of gay rights and how homosexuals are portrayed in the media, marriage equality, the legalisation of marijuana, and cheese (we thought it would make for an interesting conversation).

These ideas were put into a mind map and expanded these ideas, but decided to focus on the weed/marijuana topic as this is a big debate and discussion at the present moment in today’s society. The people we wanted to be part of our documentary interviews were university students ranging in age and gender.

Firstly we researched the topic and gathered facts and figures from the United States as this is where, in some states, weed has been legalised. Afterwards we wrote a script for our “radio show”- it included an introduction and questions that the two hosts would ask the interviewees of the topic (the university students who were willing to participate in the question and answer style. The group and I felt that not scripting the answers of the interviewees was the best way to go about recording the sound bites. This made the responses more real and showed the actual views of the participants rather than them going by a script and their words being faked. The debate included impromptu answers which I think makes the show better and created a better flow.

Researching the facts and figures:

At least 200,000 students in the US have been denied financial aid for college simply because of drug convictions on their records.j
Marijuana is the most common illegal drug used in the United States with roughly 100 million Americans admitting to trying marijuana at least once. j
11.5% of Americans (more than 25 million) have smoked marijuana in the last year.f
An individual would need to smoke 800 joints to die, according to one report. The cause of death would be poisoning from carbon monoxide.b
Around 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning, and more than 400,000 people die each year from causes related attributed to tobacco smoking.i
According to the prestigious European medical journal, The Lancet, “The smoking of cannabis, even long-term, is not harmful to health. … It would be reasonable to judge cannabis as less of a threat … than alcohol or tobacco.”i
Every day roughly 6,000 Americans use marijuana for the first time, according to one national survey. f
22.6% of high school seniors in the US used marijuana in the past 30 days compared with 18.7% who smoked cigarette, according to 2011 data.l
Cannabis plants can grow in nearly any ecosystem and average one to two inches of growth per day, and can grow up to 18 feet.a

a – Abel, Ernest L. 1980. Marijuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years. New York, NY: Plenum Press.
b – Booth, Martin. 2003. Cannabis: A History. London, England: Doubleday.
f – U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Marijuana Facts & Figures.” Accessed: February 10, 2009.
i – National Organization for Marijuana Reform. “About Marijuana”. Accessed: May 12, 2012
j – Students for a Sensible Drug Policy. “Facts and Stats.” Accessed: May 12, 2012
l – DrugAbuse.Gov. “Marijuana”. Retrieved May 13, 2012
BACKSLASH. (2012). Marijuana Facts And Statistics. Available: Last accessed 30th Apr 2013.