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Archive for February, 2009

Where to Pitch Your Idea (and Avoid the Commissioners)

Pitching is a bitch. Especially when you are just starting out. There seem to be so many different channels, all of them with closed doors.

But do you actually need to pitch your idea to a TV channel? No. It depends on your motives for pitching. You might think that the only reason to pitch your ideas is to sell them, but depending where you are in your career, there may be different reasons for pitching, and cleverer ways of pitching. (Photo by heiwa4126)

Books That Make You Dumb

Books That Make You Dumb is a chart that uses information collected about the SAT scores, (designed to measure critical thinking abilities), of US college students and superimposed the favourite books of the students at various universities. Colleges with a lower average SAT scores  correlated with students who had Fahrenheit 451 and The Color Purple […]

The Future Lab

Mindfood has an interesting article about Martin Raymond and Chris Sanderson who run brand agency The Future Laboratory. They have 40 journalists reporting back on their observations on cultural developments from around the world. Once they’ve sent in their reports, The Future Lab gathers a multi-disciplinary team of experts – such as anthropologists, scientists, retailers […]


TwitPic allows Twitter users to upload photos from their phones. During the Oscars, stars such as Ashton Kutcher sent behind-the-scenes pictures and comments directly to their fans, as they happened. Visit Twitpic to see photos pop up in real time on a Google map of the world.  There must be loads of ways we could […]

Greenlit: Great and Telling Tales with Timothy Dickinson, History.com

An original, animated web series presented by historian Timothy Dickinson, “a plump man in his mid-60s with tousled hair, wearing a rumpled Spencer-coat, torn striped trousers and a white blossom in his lapel, with a rosewood cane clutched at his side”. (Photo by myyorgda)

Remembering Bogle Chandler

“New Year’s Day on a lonely stretch of riverbank, an man and a woman’s body. Who killed them and why? To this day, no-one knows. All we know is this… their hearts stopped beating, they stopped breathing.”

At the start of 1963, two scientists, a man and a woman were found dead on the banks of the Lane Cove River, Sydney, Australia. The circumstances surrounding their deaths was mysterious; the case became became famous but remains unsolved.

Now an award-winning hypermedia website gives you a chance to piece together the events of the previous day; events that include personal vendetta, secret government experiments, LSD, and sex.

Remembering Bogle Chandler was developed by Rebecca Young as a PhD project. It is a “narrative in five acts”, that is open-ended and immersive. You can roam around in the mystery, collecting conflicting media and personal accounts, deflecting red herrings and resisting the paranoia inherent in a Cold War story. Make you your mind and then see what other people think happened.

(Spoiler alert: there is an account of the case on Wikipedia.)

Greenlit: Japan Season, BBC4

Japan Season – A month-long season of programming about Japan, including documentaries, dramas and animation. The season includes 30 second language lessons, a glimpse into the life of the salary man, and an exploration of Japan’s fascination with fish. Fish! A Japanese Obsession (Keo Films) Japan: In Search Of Wabi Sabi With Marcel Theroux (Keo […]

Greenlit: Country Tracks, BBC1

Country Tracks – Ben Fogle uses classic Countryfile archive footage from the last 20 years to guide him on a trip around Britain to tell the story of rural Britain past and present. Each week he will travel using a different form of transport – climbing, hiking, white water rafting and camel trekking. Channel: BBC […]

Greenlit: The Birth of British Music, BBC2

The Birth of British Music (4×60′) – Conductor Charles Hazlewood charts the influence on British of Purcell, Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn. It tells the story of music between 1650 and 1850 through the music, life and times of the composers, meeting biographers, historians and archivists. Read full press release. Channel: BBC2 Producer: BBC TX: May […]

Greenlit: Crash Course, ABC

Crash Course (pilot) – competition show in which couples have to plan their strategy before attempting to drive along roads that have been booby-trapped with fallen trees and rockfalls. Channel: ABC Producer: A. Smith & Co TX: Summer 09 (alongside Wipeout) Source: C21

Development Insider: Rejection, Rejection, Rejection

This is the first of a new series from a development insider: it’s the the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the dirty truth about TV development. Written by someone (who must remain anonymous), who knows, from painful experience, what really goes on behind the commissioners’ doors. Read, enjoy and join the debate.

(photo by das.viereck)

How Benjamin Button Got His Face

Here’s a video that explains how Ed Ulbrich, from Digital Domain worked out how to age Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button – they started with and then soon rejected normal motion capture technology. They then captured a 3-D database of Brad’s face and used data analysis to transpose different ages onto Brad’s face to create a ‘digital puppet’ that could do anything Brad’s face could do. Obviously, it’s much more complicated than that – it took 155 people over two years to make it work. You’ll just have to watch the video:

James Brown Museum

James Brown, who died in 2006, always harboured an ambition to open a museum to show that poor that it is possible to come from nothing and make it big. Before he died, he set up a trust for poor children but the trust and his lawyers are arguing over how to divide his estate, which is delaying plans for the museum he wanted. Some of his family want to turn his home into a Graceland style museum with mausoleum.While the wrangling continues South Carolina State University is holding an exhibition of some of his possessions, including crystal-studded suits, and a bathrobe torn when the police arrested him on charges of criminal violence in 2004.Read more.

Ruby Wax does Psychology

Ruby Wax gave a talk yesterday at an event management conference about the psychology of empathy and leadership. Turns out she’s been doing an MA in psychotherapy, and she threw some neuroscience into her talk for good measure. To prove her point about empathy, she invited an unsuspecting woman onto the stage to be interviewed […]

Ask a Urinal

If you are troubled by questions no-one in your close circle of friends can seem to answer, try asking a urinal. For sage advice, visit Ask A Urinal, or just scroll through other people’s questions and the photographic answers. Questions  include: I’m an artistic Indie type but I can’t afford to keep my wardrobe current. […]

Greenlit: Tough Love, VH1

Tough Love (8×60′) – Brutally honest matchmaker Steven Ward helps women overcome their bad dating habits to help them learn the basics of successful relationships, while giving them a peek into the male psyche. His no nonsense approach means he tells the women what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear. […]

Greenlit: The Real Cost of Living, Sundance

Eco Trip: The Real Cost of Living (8×30′) – David de Rothschild tracks the life cycle of various everyday items, such as salmon, bottled water and cotton shirts, from production to disposal, looking at the social, environmental and ecological effects of that item. Channel: Sundance Producer: Peacock Productions (NBC) TX: 21 April 2009 Source: Reality […]

Greenlit: Swimsuit Minisodes, Crackle.com

Swimsuit Minisodes (26×5′) – minisodes featuring girls in bikinis from Sports Illustrated. Channel: Crackle.com TX: Will roll out on YouTube, Hulu and TV.com on 16 March Source: Cynopsis

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is 26 September – 3 October 2009 in the USA. The American Library Association has published a list of the most banned or challenged books: And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell –  Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier – Reasons: […]

UKTV History Becomes Yesterday

On 2nd March, UKTV History rebrands as Yesterday. They are looking for ‘living memory’ history programming, from WWII to present, in an attempt to bring in a broad audience. Emphasis on historical drama, archive programmes and popular culture in a historical context. Read an interview with  Richad Kingsbury in Realscreen magazine.

TX: Search for the Perfect Girlfriend, Playboy TV

Search for the Perfect Girlfriend – Comedian Rick Kunkler teams up with Playboy TV to find out who has got the hottest girlfriend. Guys have been nominating their girlfriends, and women have been nominating themselves to be considered for the title of perfect girlfriend. Channel: Playboy TV Producer: Popular Arts Entertainment TX: 27 February 2009 […]

Greenlit: Harlem Heights, BET

Harlem Heights – Glamorous reality series that follows eight college graduates as they try to make it in NYC. They include the ex-girlfriend of an international music superstar, a ‘spoilt rich kid’ trying to get a new image, a budding lawyer and a man with a chequered past, who is trying to do good in […]

In Development: Commercial Break, TBC

Commercial Break – Reality competition series in which ten people take part in weekly challenges to make commercials for product brands. As the series progresses, they get more hands-on experience with the clients. The winner gets a contract with Soft Citizen, which makes commercials (and is one of the co-pro production partners). It will be […]

Greenlit: I, Darwin, Nova

I, Darwin – (1×110′) – fully scripted drama doc about the life of Charles Darwin. Channel: Nova Producer: National Geographic Television Source: C21

A Blueprint for a Safer Planet: How to Manage Climate Change and Create a New Era of Progress and Prosperity

A Blueprint for a Safer Planet: How to Manage Climate Change and Create a New Era of Progress and Prosperity by Nicholas Stern suggests how the world will need to adapt in order to survive unavoidable global warming. He argues that it will take international cooperation on a scale never seen before – he looks […]

Khubilai Kan’s Lost Fleet

Khubilai Khan’s Lost Fleet by James Delgado is the true story of the destruction of Khubilai Khan’s (Ghengis’s grandson) huge navy after he tried to attack Japan with his inherited fleet. The outnumbered Japanese prayed, and the next day Khan’s nave was destroyed by a divine wind – the kamikaze. A second, bigger attack was […]

Hitler’s Private Library

Hitler’s Private Library by Timothy Ryback explores the vast collection of 16,000 books that Hitler collected and loved to read, giving an original perspective on the emotional and intellectual life of a dictator. This extraordinary book provides us with remarkable insight into Hitler’s private world. Hitler was a passionate reader and had a vast collection […]

I Saw You…

There seems to be a lot of romance in the air at the  moment….I was tipped off about I Saw You, which is a collection of graphic-art ‘missed you’ cartoons based on the sweet, weird and downright delusional ‘missed connections’ ads on Craigslist. The cartoonists range from Jesse Reklaw to Peter Bagge and Ken Dahl. […]

Greenlit: Killer Couples, Crime and Investigation Network

Killer Couples (6x) Channel: Crime and Investigation Network Producer: True North Source: C21

Greenlit: Killer in the Family, Crime and Investigation Network

Killer in the Family (6x) Channel: Crime and Investigation Network Producer: True North Source: C21

Greenlit: The Man Who Shared His Liver, Five

Extraordinary People: The Man Who Shared His Liver (1×60′) – follows the story of a man who risks his own life to donate part of his liver to his dying brother. Channel: Five Producer: True North Source: C21

Greenlit: Cutting Edge – Addicted to Surrogacy, C4

Cutting Edge: Addicted to Surrogacy (1×60) – a documentary about four women who have become addicted to having babies for other women. Around 50% of the 1000 babies born over the last twenty years were born to women who had been surrogate mothers more than once. Some women have gone through surrogate pregnancies between seven […]

Bill Gates on Malaria and Mosquitoes

Bill Gates gave a talk about malaria at the 2009 TED conference – it was the one where he released a mosquito into the audience, saying ‘not only poor people should experience this’. TED have now published the transcript of the talk. If you prefer, you can watch the video:

Google Ocean Video

Explore Google Ocean with this trailer, presented by oceanographer Sylvia Earle:

Great Depression Cooking with Clara

Clara Cannucciari, 93, has an online cooking show that harks back to The Depression. As she cooks she recounts stories from her childhood. Watch her cook a Poorman’s meal, or visit her blog. If that whetted your appetite, you can watch the whole series here. If this inspired you, sign up for the TV Mole […]

Girl of My Dreams

21-yr-old Patrick Moberg set up girlofmydreams, after failing to make an introduction to a girl he liked on a subway train. Just as he plucked up courage to make his move, she got off. Patrick couldn’t forget her so he posted a flier online, and one of her friends saw it and put them in […]

Brave Daisy

Brave Daisy is a new online site that will make that first, potentially awkward, move on the object of your desire.  If you fancy someone, you let Brave Daisy know and your crush gets an email asking if they ‘need a relationship’ (personally I would stay clear of anyone who needs a relationship). If they’re […]

Greenlit: Dream Diaries, Film 4

Dream Diaries (w/t) 90-min feature dream-documentary for worldwide theatrical release from Man on Wire team. The script is based on the dreams of a Canadian man whose sequences were  archived at the University of California. His dreams are described as: “an unusual and surreal chronicle of a real life love affair, beginning with infatuation and […]

Here’s a Quick Way to Have 20,000 TV Programme Ideas

TV is a visual medium, so sometimes it’s easier to have ideas for new programmes with a bit visual stimulation, and watching old archive can be a great way to spark ideas for history or science documentaries, or even list shows. Once upon a time, if you wanted to find rare footage you needed to hire an experienced archive researcher. Nowadays, you can find – and sometimes view – all kinds of fascinating archive material online. Here are some excellent resources, which contain more than 20,000 films, to get you started. (Photo by Joshua Davis under Attribution-Share Alike CC)

Folkstreams American Music Archive

Folkstreams is an US national archive of rare films that document American folk or roots cultures, and allows you to stream the films online.

The films date from the 1960s and focus on the arts and culture of underrepresented American people. Transcripts are also available. Films are catalogued into subjects such as: Aging, Children, Dance. Narrative & Verbal Arts, Sports/Hunting, Urban Life and Women.

Watch clips from:

Afro-American Work Songs in ta Texas Prison (1966) – surviving life in Huntsville prison, Texas

Jazz Parades: Feet Don’t Fail Me Now (1990) – about Sunday parades of New Orleans.

Fishing All My Days: Florida Shrimping Traditions (1986) – Florida fishing traditions and superstitions.

Medicine Fiddle (1991) – a musical tradition passed down from the first American settlers, “learned from the woods, from the trees”.

Steppin’ (1992) – about a black fraternity and sorority dance style.

Online mind mapping

Bubbl.us is an interactive online mind-mapping tool that you can use to create mind maps, collaborate with other people in your team, save as an image and email and print.
It’s really easy to get started, but you need to create an account if you want to save or share your work.

Landscapes From a Truck

Shaun Irving built a camera out of a submarine periscope lens, a piece of scrap paper, a cardboard box and a truck bought off eBay. He develops his photographs using a length of hose, a sponge and a couple of buckets, producing images 3,000 times bigger than normal 35mm prints. Watch the video to see […]

The Secret of Finding Fabulous Free Photos For Your Television Proposal

A well-chosen image makes your proposal stand out. It helps communicate the tone of the show and allows the commissioner to visualize how the programme might look stylistically. The finished show won’t look anything like your photograph, but at this stage you are in the business of seduction – and you wouldn’t put a ropey photo on your online dating profile. Would you..? (Photo by anarchosyn under Attribution-Share Alike CC)

In: Stuart Murphy – Director of Programmes, Sky1, Sky2, Sky3

Stuart Murphy will replace Richard Woolfe, as director of programmes at Sky 1, Sky2 and Sky 3 in May. He will be responsible for commissions, acquisitions and strategy. Source: Broadcast

Greenlit: Trawlers, Rigs & Rescue, Virgin 1

Trawlers, Rigs & Rescue – “Action-based reality” series following the work of the RNLI, RAF Search & Rescue and Dutch Air Sea Rescue teams. Channel: Virgin 1 Producer: Original Productions UK Entertainment TX: March 2009 Source: C21

Greenlit: The Fashion Show, Bravo

The Fashion Show – a new competition reality series featuring professional fashion designers, whose work will be judged by a panel of experts including Isaac Mizrahi, Fern Mallis (creator of NY Fashion Week) and Kelly Rowland. Channel: Bravo Producer: 3 Ball Productions TX: 2009 Source: Cynopsis

Eva Vertes – 21, and Looking for a Cure For Cancer

Eva Vertes, is a ‘microbiology prodigy’. She gave a talk in 2006 when she was 19 about her passion for medicine and what led her to make, at the age of 17, the discovery of a compound that stops the cell death in the brain of a fruit-fly, which was considered to be the first […]

Greenlit: Convoy, History Canada, Ch4, Nat Geo, Smithsonian

Convoy (4×60′) – Archive, interviews and reconstructions tell the story of the largest WWII naval campaign.

Channel: History Canada, Channel 4, Nat Geo International, Smithsonian US and the Canadian Navy. (Sounds like the co-pro from hell.)

Producer: Darlow Smithson/Cream Productions

Source: Realscreen

Photo by Stephen Witherden

Greenlit: Put Your Menu Where Your Mouth Is, BBC2

Put Your Menu Where Your Mouth Is (23×45′) – TV chefs are challenged to make as much money as they can by cooking a three-course meal. Each episode is filmed in a different restaurant and the chefs have to spend their own money on ingredients. The winner is decided on the amount of profit rather […]

Greenlit: Sentinel Animals, ARTE

Sentinel Animals (5×60′) – HD series exploring how researchers are trying to work out animals’ warning systems work: can help us avoid the devastation of natural disasters? It looks at strange animal behaviour in before the tsunami in 2004, and how catfish can help predict seismic tremors in Japan. Channel: ARTE (France) Producer: Marathon / […]

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