BBC Documentary info request

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nige7whit

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Feb 10, 2009
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Surely the kind of people who have rejected 'consumer culture' would be averse to contributing to the consumer driven media?

Excuse me if I'm wrong, but it's a little TV snippet to show 'different' ways of life, become involved at your peril....
 

fisheyelens

Member
Feb 12, 2010
41
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Cumbria
ObDoc is where a camera team follows real events and tells a story using a combination of peoples stories, live events..
for example - Lost land of the Tiger...is an OBdoc, great telly, good story following scientists and filmmakers looking for tigers in a new area. in the buisness Obdoc is a career path, it has kudos as its a hard job, winging it, you spend your life jumping in and out of jeeps and trying to show an audience your version of "reality" while being careful of being editorially objective and representing the contributors fairly.

Reality TV is chewing gum for the mind. exploiting people who do look for attention, "fame" and money. Its cheap, nasty, doesn't really tell a story other than the events contrived by the production team and the reactions of the contributor. They look for manipulatable people and choose how they want them to be portrayed on screen, usually creating an unfair representation, that sells to the heat magazine masses.

The research request from the BBC chap as far as I can tell seems like a genuine obdoc to me. I am part of various forums, Diving, science, broadcast etc and you usually get a couple requests a year from people like myself asking for story leads. looking for charismatic people who are interested in telling their story and appearing in a doc, might only be for a 2 min piece to get across one part of a story. A lot of forum people seem to take great offence to the requests, I can understand that it feels like a breach of group privacy but if your not interested you don't have to be. We all love the things we do, some people want to keep it to themselves, others are happy to tell the world about it. Whichever shoe fits.
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
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I suspect that many people see the outcomes of these types of shows and feel annoyed that someone wants to do that to them. Its extremely difficult to kmow if the invite is for a serious piece or something that will be used to show the participants in the worst possible light via selective editing etc.

I'm sorry to say that the mistrust of journalists is due to the behaviour of journalists. I suspect thats why a lot of people are offended it comes across as an insult to our intelligence to be honest.

On the three occasions I've been asked to participate in such things the two questions I have asked are "What do you pay and what editorial control do I retain?"

On all three occasions the answers have been "nothing and none". Which feels to me like exploitation. I'm sure others may feel differently.

Red
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,900
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Maybe it's the five minutes of fame thing :dunno:
I know it holds absolutely no appeal for me. I don't watch tv, well, that's not quite true, maybe in total about three or four hours a year.
Maybe that says it all :D
I don't think I'd like such intrusiveness into my life, especially from people I don't know as friends.

atb,
M

p.s. Craeg, just saw your post, I think BR broke through it first, Shewie's through it too, I'm sure there are a few others too.
I asked the Boss if he could freeze mine :eek: He said no, but we reckon it's just 'cos I touch type and nip in and out through the day when I'm home and passing the computer, this post has taken me seconds.
M
 

fisheyelens

Member
Feb 12, 2010
41
0
Cumbria
I totally agree Red, the only way you can find out what kind of programme its going to be is to ask, and not just listen to what the researcher/producer is saying, ask if it is in development or if it has been green lit, if its been green lit you can ask for the programme pitch and treatment used to get the funding, that way you will see what exactly has been promised to the broadcaster.

The big program we have as serious doc makers, is that when everything went digital, and more channels popped up, it didn't mean more programming with traditional money. It meant the pie was sliced thinner and thinner. Now we do at least three peoples jobs, working 12 plus hours a day fighting to make good television.

The people who make edited for language tv, reality stuff, that its cheap, easy and theres always a que of edited for language ready to ruin themselves and an army of media graduates to exploit who have no idea how to make real broadcasting, they just get stuck in the world of "entertainment" or "infotainment" whatever edited for language tagline is made up by the PR company.

I work in mostly science, nature, humanitarian films, but on the times when moneys is hard, and I have ventured to the dark side, the hardest thing is to get people who have been burned by TV companys before. Be it messy locations, overrunning and refusing to pay the extra, swanning about like they own the place. It gives us all a bad name, devalues our careers and forces us to do three jobs...so I get it.

Getting paid as a contributor is hard these days, unless its a big money doc, not many of them around. Most of the people I interview are scientists who do it for the spread of knowledge, and were all reading from the same sheet.

Editorial control is never given, you cant afford it, with time constraints and budget, if someone turns around and blocks your piece you would usually lose the whole film as you wouldn't get it done to schedule. We just try, and hope that we represent each individual properly.
 
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British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
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I totally agree Red, the only way you can find out what kind of programme its going to be is to ask, and not just listen to what the researcher/producer is saying
Sad though that we have to distrust someone from the outset

Getting paid as a contributor is hard these days, unless its a big money doc, not many of them around. ...<snip>

Editorial control is never given, you cant afford it, with time constraints and budget, if someone turns around and blocks your piece you would usually lose the whole film as you wouldn't get it done to schedule. We just try, and hope that we represent each individual properly.
So, to recap, if asked to appear...don't trust the producer, there is nothing in it for you, if they misrepresent you, you cannot stop them?

I hope it makes it understandable why people are offended by the requests?

There are great documentaries out there - but personally it strikes me as all risk and no reward

Red
 

fisheyelens

Member
Feb 12, 2010
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Cumbria
I dont think its a case of distrusting someone, you wouldn't buy a car without reading up on it...or take a job without understanding what you are doing, its just the foresight of understanding what you are letting yourself in for, making an informed choice?


Please dont "Recap" and change the meaning of my post, that is not what I wrote. The number of untrustworthy producers is small and usually in the commercial sector, I generally trust BBC content and producers, they are open and honest and if you understand what is being asked of you, then you are in a position to choose.

I think blanket "offence" to requests is just another form of ignorance.
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
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438
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For me the difference is with a job I am making an investment, with a job I am earning a reward. With a documentary, I have to invest my time to investigate (in my own time, at my own expense) someone who may (or may not) be doing a hatchet job, but either way is doing it for money. Best case I use time that could be spent on my work or hobbies. Worst case I am made to look a fool.

On forums, people share their knowledge free. Some also make a living running course, writing books etc. Journalists want to take this, make money from it and not share that with the people concerned.

I take offense at your comment that people distrust journalists through "ignorance". I distrust them (as a group, rather than individuals) because they have been shown time and again to be untrustworthy - its really that simple.

As for the proposition that
I generally trust BBC content and producers, they are open and honest and if you understand what is being asked of you, then you are in a position to choose
might I remind you of the following?

BBC1 controller Peter Fincham resigned in disgrace over A Year With The Queen trailer blunder
The head of BBC1 resigned in disgrace yesterday over a trailer for a documentary which misrepresented the Queen.
Peter Fincham wrongly claimed that the show, A Year With The Queen, would show the monarch storming out of a tetchy photoshoot with the renowned American photographer Annie Leibovitz.
In fact the footage was of the Queen arriving for the sitting and the ensuing row, dubbed Crowngate, saw accusations fly between Buckingham Palace and the BBC and claims that the monarch had been turned into a laughing stock.
Yesterday a scathing independent inquiry into the affair found that Mr Fincham, the £250,000-a-year controller of BBC1, had allowed the media - including the corporation - to misreport the story.
Now the queen has a professional press office - and even then events and facts were twisted and misrepresented. I venture to suggest that a lower profile figure could never have exposed such twisting or obtained redress.

In my view at least, that is a perfectly good reason to want nothing to do with process, rather than "ignorance"

I'm sure your work is fine, and indeed many others. But if the queen with her press office can't prevent twisting for sensationalist purposes, I can't see how the average citizen is expected to.

Red
 
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John Fenna

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Oct 7, 2006
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I am a journo - more than half my income derives from writing about the Great Outdoors etc for magazines and I have apeared on BBC radio - and even I do not trust journos!
I was interviewed (as a "Survival Expert" ) by a journo from the Sunday Times Colour Supplement (a steady, honest rag you would think) in 1999 about what I thought would be happening at 12.01 am, 1/1/ 2000 and the tthreats to humanity, global warming etc.
I gave very conservative answers - the biggest threat to humanity on the 1/1/2000 was drunk drivers, global warming could cause sea levels to rise, but slowly, etc - but the scumbag printed that I would be spending the dawn of the new millenium (which was not until 2001 actually!) on top of a mountain waiting for the global floods!
Some are lying scum, others are hardworking seekers of truth....all are out to make a living!
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
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Aaah - but you are our one token journo on the private forum John - we reckon that given you haven't done a hatchet job in the twenty years we have been reading you there's a fair chance you have proper integrity.

Red
 

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
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Aaah - but you are our one token journo on the private forum John - we reckon that given you haven't done a hatchet job in the twenty years we have been reading you there's a fair chance you have proper integrity.

Red
But do distrust the others...until you are sure that they too have integrity!
 

fisheyelens

Member
Feb 12, 2010
41
0
Cumbria
Red you seem to be picking and choosing parts of my posts and putting them together however you wish and ranting about it, I never said you take offence through ignorance, I suggested that taking "blanket offence" to a request...was ignorant.

Especially as on a forum, you choose to read a request...only to take "Blanket offence"
 
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treadlightly

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Jan 29, 2007
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Its becoming too much of a complacent, knee-jerk reaction to bash the media. It isn't by any means the only profession with dodgy characters.