The next steps for iAmerica / by Heather Taylor

So now that the tapes have all been digitized the next stages of work on iAmerica can finally begin. Though we filmed the documentary nearly 5 months ago, I’m happy to have had a bit of time to sit back and look at the footage with fresh eyes. What is the real story in there and what am I really trying to say.

I’m glad that it isn’t far from what I wanted it to be, it’s just that I may tell it in a different way. So instead of showing the journey that we did with tuttle2texas as a backbone and driving force of the story, I think the interviews we did tell the story I want to tell. And it was only by watching the 3 days worth of footage, that I realized the strength of that.

Unfortunately, the real story didn’t come before we pitched to Channel 4 – but either we can approach them again or if we get accepted, pitch to hundreds of possible distributors and broadcasters at the Sheffield Documentary Festival.

So that leads onto the next step. Applying for the Sheffield Meetmarket. Anyone can apply for £10 and a pitch package including a 100 word pitch, a 500 word one, a summery of the people working on the project, a budget and a one minute trailer.  

I’ve been working on the trailer for the past week and just finished it on Friday as you can see here:

One minute is not a lot of time to say what an entire documentary is about, so it’s a challenge to tease out the right quotes. Trolling through 30 plus hours of footage to find quotes can be quite daunting but luckily as we digitized we also pulled out quotes we thought may be useful. As inspiration, we watched documentary trailers and loved the drama of “Man on Wire” and thought we’d play with mocking the form of it.

I’ve drafted out the 2 pitches with the hopes that it will explain the essence of what we want to do. It’s now with a few people for a sense check and then one more look through from me and it will be done.

Luckily for me, the budget will be done by the lovely Katie Kinnard of Free at Last TV.  She has been helping us along the way since we pitched her a documentary about the only UK cowboy and she seems to continue to like the ideas we’re bringing her so I’m happy to have her on board. I also hate doing budgets so this means I can concentrate on the things I do like doing – writing and filmmaking.

All of this goes in on 1 September and then we wait. The festival is at the start of November so my hopes is that we can get in.  I’ll keep working on the next stages (transcription and scripting) but really, until we get some funding, we can’t complete this documentary. As much as I don’t mind not getting paid, I do hate asking anyone else to work for free. And my DOP Michelle Tsen, who is also my editor, already shot the whole thing for free so I can’t really ask her to continue doing so.