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Research resources

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Three Ways to Develop Programme Ideas Using Twitter

When labouring at the coalface of a development slate, you need as many tools as you can get your hands on to excavate those elusive gems that are eye-catching enough to catch the eye of a commissioning editor. During a Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014 session Dan Biddle (@DanBiddle), Twitter UK’s Head of Broadcast Partnerships, explained how producers can mine Twitter for breaking news stories, research, audience collaboration and marketing.

As you might expect of a digital platform, Twitter is all about the metrics, and has a host of audience user data that reveals information about Twitter users’ lives. For example, mentions of shopping indicate that Sunday is the biggest day for heading to the shops in the UK and more people go for (or talk about going for) a run on a Monday and Tuesday than they do at the end of the week, when the pub beckons.

But how does this help us in development? (Photo (C) TVMole)

Stanley Kubrick’s Chicago and Other Archive Images

In 1949 a 21-year-old Stanley Kubrick was sent on a photojournalism assignment to Chicago. The resulting photos are now in the Library of Congress, but you can see some of them on Chris Wild’s excellent website How to Be a Retronaut. As well as the Kubrick photos, the site is a veritable treasure trove of […]

Critical Past Archive

Critical Past is a new history-focused online photo and video archive that has 57,000 royalty-free clips and  7,000,000 still photos collected from U.S. government agency sources.  Footage and images are available for immediate download after payment of a license fee (by credit card or PayPal).  Explore here. Hat tip to: documentarytelevision.com

Greenlit: Developing Factual/Reality TV Ideas From Concept to Pitch by Nicola Lees

There are some simple principles to successfully developing and pitching your ideas, whether you are working for a global ‘super-indie’ production company, or are a documentary filmmaker pitching a passion project. The extraordinary thing is that no one will tell you what they are! Greenlit is the first book to reveal, step-by-step, how to originate, develop and pitch your factual/non-scripted TV ideas in a global market.

Get insider tips from: * 10 TV development producers – who have a combined 50+ years experience of developing and pitching ideas at all levels; * 20 senior executives who have sold some of the world’s most successful shows, to: * 16 channel executives, who between them have worked at: * 18 TV channels in: * 7 countries across 4 continents.

Greenlit is available now from Amazon and all good bookstores.

Expert Witness

Expert Witness professes to “provide open and easy access for the Legal and Media professions to Experts in all of the disciplines for which they may need expert advice or guidance”. The have an online database of 3,000 experts in 3,400 disciplines. Access to the database is by subscription, and if you can’t find the […]

Discovery Science News Website

If you need a science fix try Discovery’s online science and technology news site. It’s got Earth, Space, Sport, Dinosaurs, Human, Tech and History sections to explore.

The Demographics of England and Wales

The UK Office for National Statistics has published demographic data for the 54million people in England and Wales, broken down in to age, sex and ethnicity. Read (a little) more in The Guardian.

Tips for Producing Archive Programmes (and Developing New Ones)

UK-based indie Testimony Films specializes in making documentaries about “people’s life stories”. They often do this by using rare archive film. Earlier this year, at the Broadcast Factual TV Forum, Steve Humphries, executive producer at Testimony Films outlined how he uses archive to such good effect in his documentaries. Click through to read his top tips and other ways to help you develop your factual programme ideas. (Photo by Atomicjeep CC BY 2.0)

Top Ten of (Almost) Everything

If you like lists you’ll love listverse where you can find top ten lists of everything from “10 Notable Apologies from the Last Decade” to “10 Stories Behind Beatles Songs”, “Top Ten Very Unfortunate X-Rays” and “10 Notorious Cases of the Bystander Effect”.

Paper Round

Mediaweek has a handy daily round up of what’s in the  news along with the front pages from the UK’s newspapers, including The Sun, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Mirror, The Independent, City AM, Daily Express and Daily Star. Read all about it in Monday 8th February 2010 newspapers.