While I am spending the day doing Maps (with that terrific Curious World Map software that I FINALLY understand) and have a bit of free time as I render them, I would like to talk a bit about the current project I am working on. I haven’t had much opportunity to do that of late as I have been working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week and offtime is devoted to sleep, eating, and making sure my family recognizes me.
Before I get into workflow, I would like to talk about “journalistic integrity.” Making sure that what you put up on the screen is a true representation of what you are discussing at that particular time. Often times one might tend to ignore this a little as you just need footage that LOOKS like what you are talking about. For example, you might have narration that says “General Kearny approached several indian tribes in New Mexico and California in hopes of reaching a peaceful resolution.” Now, some might just throw up pics of Indians without realizing nor caring that the pictures they showed were Plains Indians, not Indians of the Southwest. Or, to get even pickier, they might be pictures of Hopi Indians, but Kearny never talked to them, he dealt with the Navajo and several California tribes. Even pickier still, yes those are pictures of the correct tribes, but not of indians Kearny dealt with. One might just use those photos to relate the “idea” that Kearny talked to the Indians of the area, and that might be good enough. I am guilty of not getting specific with the actual people who met, because you might EASILY not have a picture of the people involved, but getting the tribes right is very important.
In my current show, BLOOD DIAMONDS, we have several militant groups that are fighting, and we have to be sure that we show the right people. This is tough when not all the government soldiers wear uniforms, and the some of the rebels are wearing the uniforms of the soldiers they kill, and ANOTHER group of goverment soldiers from another country join the fray and then a warrior tribe not associated with the rebels fight as well. It is knowing who is who, and this is when you have to rely on the documentation that is supplied with your stock footage.
We are being EXTRA careful (not that we aren’t careful enough anyway) because this show will garner a lot of attention. Not only from Amnesty International, but from several news organizations as well…CNN, NY Times, Time Magazine. A lot of people from these and other organizations, or people from the area who watch it will know if we show something that isn’t right, and we don’t want that. Not only is it distracting, but, well, it is not accurate. We want accuracy because, well, I for one am all for truthful documentary storytelling…but also so that the show doesn’t get picked apart by people because of these inaccuracies. This is a powerful topic, and one that needs more attention paid to it, so the less distractions the better.
This really is an important documentary…an important topic to know about. The trade of diamonds from several countries in Africa led to civil war, human rights attrocities, millions of deaths, and poverty like you wouldn’t believe. How can countries so rich in diamonds leave it’s citizens so poor? Gotta watch.
OK…Tomorrow if I find myself rendering more I will get into some technical issues we are dealing with.