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Great news but OMG how do I do it?

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plastic penguin's picture
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A short back story: I'm a long-term member of Brooklands Museum and I've helped occasionally doing voluntary work there.

Last month, while on a family visit, one of the management staff hoodwinked me to the office and asked to see one of my scripts. On Saturday I received an email asking whether they could see me today, and duly obliged.

Spent the whole of this morning running thru details. The upshot of all this nonsence is they want me to write an hour long documentary on the history of the museum (not the avaiation or motor racing) since the mid 80s. The script itself doesn't trouble me in the slightest. Deadline is beginning of May this year.

Here's where the aggro comes in: I need to spend three days a week (minimum) researching, interviewing past and present staff on-site; all the exhibits and where they were obtained, and how it's grown from a grassy wasteland into one of the best, working museums.

With my current working and home commitments, at this moment, can't see how this can be achieved. It's a fabulous opportunity to wedge the foot in the door of professional screenwriting, but OMG where will I find the hours in the day?

HELP!! ADVICE!! please.

  

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True Blue's picture
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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

great news PP.  You WILL find time because its a passion.  Write whilst listening to music, whilst commuting etc etc a little bit every day (includinbg cough cough weekends) will go a long way.  If you really "cant" fit it in then another opportunity will present itself to you.  If its meant to be it will happen.  Good luck

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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

Or go sick for a week self certified lol (joking!!!)

 

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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

True Blue wrote:
Or go sick for a week self certified lol (joking!!!)

I think PP works for himself, however I got the impression it wasn't just 3 days but 3 days a week for a number of weeks? And he has commitments at home, I believe.

PP did you explain any of this at the time? There's no close friend or family that might be able to stand in for you at home?

Must admit I'm a little surprised a documentary needs much of a script up front, I'd have thought going to interview the relevant people on camera would provide a lot of the footage (and would therefore require the director's input) and then the script would be a skeleton around that footage? Mind you, what do I know about making documentaries?

chebby's picture
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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

plastic penguin wrote:
I need to spend three days a week (minimum) researching, interviewing past and present staff on-site; all the exhibits and where they were obtained, and how it's grown from a grassy wasteland into one of the best, working museums.

With my current working and home commitments, at this moment, can't see how this can be achieved. It's a fabulous opportunity to wedge the foot in the door of professional screenwriting, but OMG where will I find the hours in the day?

HELP!! ADVICE!! please.

Professional (working) journalists would be invaluable for advice on writing a documentary piece like this.

Now, where on Earth would one find a bunch of professional journalists?

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plastic penguin's picture
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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

The_Lhc wrote:

True Blue wrote:
Or go sick for a week self certified lol (joking!!!)

I think PP works for himself, however I got the impression it wasn't just 3 days but 3 days a week for a number of weeks? And he has commitments at home, I believe.

PP did you explain any of this at the time? There's no close friend or family that might be able to stand in for you at home?

Must admit I'm a little surprised a documentary needs much of a script up front, I'd have thought going to interview the relevant people on camera would provide a lot of the footage (and would therefore require the director's input) and then the script would be a skeleton around that footage? Mind you, what do I know about making documentaries?

True, but they are looking at a narrator, which needs to be scripted. I've worked out with a 60 minute programme probably only 30 minutes or so needs a script. Allow approx ten minutes for interviews (done by the TV company) and depending which TV company offers the best deal, say for instance, a commercial station then I'll have to allocate (or edit) 15 minutes for adverts.

I need to make it quirky enough to make it watchable. No problem. After all I'm as mad as a box of frogs.

I am a natural born worrier. Anyway, I'll need to run through it with Mrs. P tonight. I'm off to take a painkiller and a mug of tea.

BTW, yes self-employed. My business makes it worthwhile... just. However, I'll need a family meeting to gauge their opinions too. (And yes, 3 days a week at the museum until I'm satisfied).

Cheers, guys. 

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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

chebby wrote:

Now, where on Earth would one find a bunch of professional journalists?

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The_Lhc's picture
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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

plastic penguin wrote:

The_Lhc wrote:

True Blue wrote:
Or go sick for a week self certified lol (joking!!!)

I think PP works for himself, however I got the impression it wasn't just 3 days but 3 days a week for a number of weeks? And he has commitments at home, I believe.

PP did you explain any of this at the time? There's no close friend or family that might be able to stand in for you at home?

Must admit I'm a little surprised a documentary needs much of a script up front, I'd have thought going to interview the relevant people on camera would provide a lot of the footage (and would therefore require the director's input) and then the script would be a skeleton around that footage? Mind you, what do I know about making documentaries?

True, but they are looking at a narrator, which needs to be scripted. I've worked out with a 60 minute programme probably only 30 minutes or so needs a script.

Well, again, repeating that I know nothing about the subject, I wouldn't have though that was up to you to work out, surely the director/producer should be making the decisions regarding how much time is allocated to the different parts of the programme or at least it should be a collaboration, possibly with you tagging along to take notes whilst they film the interviews with the interesting people?

plastic penguin's picture
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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

The_Lhc wrote:

plastic penguin wrote:

The_Lhc wrote:

True Blue wrote:
Or go sick for a week self certified lol (joking!!!)

I think PP works for himself, however I got the impression it wasn't just 3 days but 3 days a week for a number of weeks? And he has commitments at home, I believe.

PP did you explain any of this at the time? There's no close friend or family that might be able to stand in for you at home?

Must admit I'm a little surprised a documentary needs much of a script up front, I'd have thought going to interview the relevant people on camera would provide a lot of the footage (and would therefore require the director's input) and then the script would be a skeleton around that footage? Mind you, what do I know about making documentaries?

True, but they are looking at a narrator, which needs to be scripted. I've worked out with a 60 minute programme probably only 30 minutes or so needs a script.

Well, again, repeating that I know nothing about the subject, I wouldn't have though that was up to you to work out, surely the director/producer should be making the decisions regarding how much time is allocated to the different parts of the programme or at least it should be a collaboration, possibly with you tagging along to take notes whilst they film the interviews with the interesting people?

That's true to a point. Nevertheless, writing is such a subjective issue, little like taste in music, and each TV production company has differing expectations. So, generally speaking, it's down to the scriptwriter, unless you've worked with that production co before, is to try and second guess what they're looking for in terms of a finished screenplay. It is such a fickle industry that these opportunities don't come along very often, and with family backing I want to give it the best... without having a breakdown ;) 

They did say my writing style would fit into the museum's traits of how a documentary should be, and they weren't looking for a world famous writer.

Basically, it's mine to mess up. 

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The_Lhc's picture
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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

plastic penguin wrote:
Basically, it's mine to mess up. 

Then you've certainly come to the right place...

plastic penguin's picture
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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

The_Lhc wrote:

plastic penguin wrote:
Basically, it's mine to mess up. 

Then you've certainly come to the right place...

Haha... exactly.

Another thing is the museum is owned by Mercedes-Benz World, just across the river from Brooklands, and I'll have to incorporate them into the whole 60 minutes. No pressure...puzzled

Going back to my original dilemma is cramming it all into the busy lifestyle. May have to bite the bullet and just go for it - hate to look back in 20 years time with regret.

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True Blue's picture
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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

seriously though PP if you cant do it now for whatever reason, say no.  Another opportunity may present itself in the future when you have more time to devote to it.

 

If you really want to do it you will find the time.

 

Best regards

 

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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

Perhaps this forum is better suited to audio-visual recommendations to help you decide.

How about "Yes Man" with Jim Carrey?

Or Starsky and Hutch remake ("Do It....Do it!") ?  party time!

 

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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

Mr Writer by the Stereophonics...

 

chebby's picture
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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

Always best to stick with a subject you know expertly/intimately that is from your own life.

I would suggest "The Cable" ...

... a five part, first-hand account of the bad streets of the Guildford area and the local specialist hi-fi cable trade from the perspectives of...

(a) the street, the dealers, their ruthlessness and sales methods.

(b) the users customers and their endless, sometimes futile, life-consuming struggle to find the ultimate cables.

(c) the [online] community and their 'turf wars' over cable hegemony, the directions they are running in, the ways they are all woven together but yet isolated and insulated.

(d) the Coppers. The pure and the 'tainted' and how they are gauged. The OFC and the AWG. The cheap ones and the valued ones and the ones that are free.

(e) the 'educators'. Those who try - in vain - to tell us the whole enterprise is just a matter of chasing a lie and that we should educate ourselves against the possibilities of being preyed upon, bankruptcy, familial scorn and even, possibly, madness.

It could be an Epic.     

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RE: Great news but OMG how do I do it?

chebby wrote:

It could be an Epic.     

 

Or an Odyssey.

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