film & video

production training

media training

The first demand in every production is planning, and one example illustrates this well: it took me more than three years to make

A Debt of Honour, a one-hour documentary about the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and a requiem for the dead of the two World Wars. It was a project which involved travelling all over the world, with a variety of crewing requirements and logistical challenges. Initial strategic planning was carried out in a forum which included representatives of all the Commonwealth countries, with expert input from senior members of the Commission.

The detailed production process then began with the outline of the film's content, which dictated the proposed locations (more than

150 of them), many of which were difficult to reach (very difficult in some instances); the locations and the filming requirements in turn dictated the crewing and equipment levels; once the material had been acquired, the editing process demanded just as much

planning, as 38 hours of footage were distilled to the original creative vision; and finally the launch and delivery of the film to all the Commonwealth broadcasters. It came in on time and in budget.

There are three things you need as a programme-maker: FLEXIBILITY (so that your plans are not scuppered by events), DISCIPLINE (without which the production will never fulfil its potential) and CREATIVITY (yes, that's vital, but not at the expense of the other two).

Exposing the production to the light of day and the reaction of the audience brings the single most significant judgement on the quality of what you've done as a programme-maker: the answer to "What did the audience think?" is the most important feedback I get. And it's not just whether the information went across effectively, but since it's a creative medium, whether the film got the right human and emotional reactions.